It was a momentary lapse on Brandon McMillan's part that sacrificed the Ducks' attempt at a late comeback tonight, but he and the rest of the Ducks' kid line have looked exceptional of late. They're consistently creating chances, the speed of McMillan and Sexton is a problem for defenses and the playmaking of Bonino is creating shots.
That being said, they're also failing to convert most of the chances they create, and not yet playing as a cohesive trio. Arthur, do you think The Kid Line has done enough to keep Randy Carlyle's depth chart pencil at bay?
Well, I have no idea what it takes to keep Randy Carlyle's depth chart pencil at bay, but I think even he can see that he has to give this line a chance. They're still figuring out how to work as a unit. McMillan is maybe not taking his time with the puck, Sexton is maybe shooting on the rush without letting anything develop and Bonino isn't using the space created by his linemates' speed as effectively as he could.
But they're creating chances, even while being slightly disjointed, so you have to have some faith in what they'll be able to do with a little time to gel. There's a lot of speed and playmaking on that line that really makes it more of a legitimate third scoring line than any of the previous iterations Carlyle has put together.
Obviously, if they never convert, if they don't look better from game to game, then I won't be surprised if Carlyle puts the shuffle on them. But for now, I think they're doing enough to earn a little latitude.
I think it's important to be honest about this. The Kids aren't keeping the pencil at bay, Selanne's groin is. When Selanne returns, this line will be no more.
Still, it's impossible to deny how valuable this line has been, both in terms of entertainment and effectiveness. They're fast and hungry, two things Carlyle has to love. But the chances are starting to be too good to go unfinished. Sexton's starting to look like Jason Blake out there; he's hitting the goalie with shots instead of finding holes. McMillan's error probably cost the Ducks at least a point, and Bonino is looking like Kyle Chipchura.
It's a frustrating exercise. They make chances, but don't produce much else. They drew a couple of penalties, but the purpose of scoring depth is to actually score. The minor contributions can only carry you for so long.
McMillan is probably going to draw 4th line duty when Selanne comes back. I'm a little tempted to say that Selanne should play with Bonino and Sexton to help them get on the score sheet, even though Ryan has earned the right to be demoted to the third line. As long as the Kids can avoid doing damage to the team, then they'll be in the line up. When Selanne comes back, there's no telling who will find their name under Carlyle's pencil shavings.