FanPost

Why Stoa should start the season on the 4th line and not on the Monsters

I want to start out by saying that I am a completely biased fan of Ryan Stoa.  During the 2008 - 2009 season his play on the Gophers was really the salvation of my hockey watching season since the Avs were just painful to watch that year.  I'd watch his play and remind myself that the Avs still had some talent on the way. 

With my stated biases, I was obviously disappointed in his not making the team out of camp last year, but that disappointment was pretty quickly dropped with the way the team played last year.

This year I'm reading posts  on MHH and other blogs/boards saying that they think that Stoa should start the season on the 1st line for the Monsters and wait for the inevitable call up.  The reasoning tends to be that he is better suited to a top 2 line role and just doesn't fit in on either of the top 2 lines for the Avs at this point, and should therefore go keep his ice time up in Cleveland. 

I don't disagree with the idea that he is not ready to take a spot from the top 6 forwards (or really from the top 9).  The thing is that what I think he needs at this point in his career is to get used to the speed that the NHL game is played more than keeping up his playing time.  And beyond just the speed of the game itself, he needs to get comfortable playing at this level in general to the point where he isn't thinking "Wow, I'm in the NHL, I really hope I don't screw up"  and starts just playing he game.  If he starts the season on the 4th line, he will get  the chance to get used to the league while playing against a higher caliber of competition than he would down in the AHL.   I'd give him 10 -20 games to let him get comfortable and see if things start clicking.  He could even see some spot duty with one of the top 3 lines if one of the players is either banged up or serving a major penalty.  Additionally, having somebody around who is pushing for top line ice time would seem to be a good motivator for some of the 2nd and 3rd year players to not take any shifts or games off.

The final reason that I'd do this, and I hate to really think about this, is that based on past seasons we have to assume that at least one of the top line guys is going to get hurt at least enough to be out for 4-5 games.  I'd argue that even 5 - 10 minutes a game in the NHL would be better preparation to fill in for whoever that player is than playing 20 minutes a game in the AHL.

If after 10 -20 games things still aren't clicking, or even if they are but there aren't any injuries, then send him down to Lake Erie and let him work out any issues that are better addressed there.

One final thing I should say is that none of this is based on my observations of him so far this year, as I haven't been able to watch any of the scrimmages.

MileHighHockey.com is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of MileHighHockey.com.

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