Hoping a 2012-2013 season occurs, the departure of PA Parenteau puts a big hole on the 1st wing. We already have multiple options to fill out the spot. But the couple players contending for that spot each would contribute in different ways.
Kyle Okposo, 24g, 21a, 45 pts
Kyle Okposo already has an injury history. As he missed 2010-2011 with a torn labrum. His strength may be an issue, but can contribute physicality and forechecking to the 1st line. Some might cite that he hasn't had a breakout season, which is why playing him on the first line would make sense. On the first line, KO provides intangibles no other candidate does, with solid scoring.
Pros: Forechecking, Physical play, Development
Cons: Less straight up offensive talent, Injury history,
Brad Boyes, 8g, 15a, 23pts,
Brad Boyes is fickle. He is a season detached from a 41 point season where he nabbed 12 goals and 29 assists. His production may be reliant on whether or not he can get confidence early. That's is in part why he is recommended to play on the first line. Worth mentioning is that Boyes had a 43 goal 08'-09' season for the Blues. While the fanbase should not expect that kind of production, a form of cautious optimism could be placed on Boyes if he plays on the first line. But that kind of performance will not happen if he loses his confidence.
Pros:Skies are the limit with a solid past that could be revived playing with John Tavares, Best shot of the bunch, non-restrictive contract where he won't be playing on a line simply because of his contract,
Cons: Could fail to gain confidence and not produce,
(Note: I doubt that the following will spend a lengthy time at this spot, but I can envision them playing a few games in this spot, whether it be due to injury, solid play, or call up)
Josh Bailey, 13g, 19g, 32pts,
Josh Bailey is frustrating and enigmatic to watch. He has sequences where he makes a beautiful play, whether it be seeing a seam, or dancing his way through the defense. But he also makes boneheaded plays at critical moments in the game, like the soul crushing loss to the Capitals that is seared into the minds of most of us when we recall last season. He could get a sniff at the spot if he beats out Boyes for the second line and impresses on the second line. Albeit a long shot, we may see the Bailey we got flashes of in seasons past, and in turn see him with JT.
Pros: Potential breakout season, strong start to the season could lead to high confidence, in turn a better season playing lower lines, Needs breakout season to stay in the NHL
Cons: Could simply under perform, not generate points, Is Josh Bailey,
Ryan Strome*, reg season 46gp, 30g, 38a, 68pts, Playoffs 20gp, 7g, 16a, 23pts
*Abridged, minors numbers
Strome probably won't be in the NHL this year, he needs a year of physical development until he moves to the AHL. But he earned the 9 game stint he recieved. Playing with JT for the 9 games would give a nice taste of playing with his future center if he moves to the wing.
Pros: playing with potential future center,
Cons: Could cost the season's long-term fixture playing time with JT, less chemistry
Nino Niederrieter 55gp, 1g, 0a,
Nino's last season was terrible, he played all year on the right wing with Brian Rolston and Marty Reasoner. To make things worse, he rarely, if ever, received PP time. Last years failures should not kill Nino's NHL chances though. If Nino does well in the AHL, (He should, as he had solid numbers in a short stint in the AHL he made while rehabbing from a preseason groin injury) he could end up playing the 1st line for the sake of his confidence.
Pros: Extra power forward if KO gets injured, Confidence,
Cons: None really, Nino can be brought up at any time, and gain NHL experience alongside a fantastic center
So, it looks like there are plenty of different options and roles to accompany JT and MM. None will likely fill the Parenteau-sized hole in our roster, but it seems to be that we have a few good options to go with.