Anaheim calling to the hockey world...
Joffrey Lupul had less than ten minutes of ice time (including overtime shifts) tonight, but he found some momentary chemistry with former linemate Todd Marchant, looked great at the end of the game and scored his first goal of the season.
Daniel, naturally, with the dials of the Joffrey Lupul Goal Counter finally spinning, even 31 games into Anaheim's season, I have to ask, do you think Loops can make it to 35? Will we see Jen eating her words in a bikini this offseason?
It depends on how she's willing to interpret those 35 goals. Apparently she's drawn a line in the sand on shootout goals. I don't understand that, because they are still technically goals that help the team. [Editor's Note: . . . hahahahaha . . .]
Even without that, Lupul might be able to swing a 35 goal pace out of his performance. A player who scores every other game is going to pot 41 goals in a full season. If Lupul managed that kind of pace, we'd be looking at around a 26 goal campaign. That's a great season for a guy who hasn't seen an NHL game in a year. If Jen does the right thing here and maybe considers Lupul's scoring rate as opposed to the simple statistical category, Anaheim fans will be seeing some fancy pictures this summer.
Of course, if Carlyle decides to get adventurous and Lupul play 15 minutes a night with the twins, Lupul might actually pot 35 this year. This guy is a scorer who likes to shoot the puck. It's exactly what the top line needs, a guy who can troll around in the trenches with Perry and Getzlaf, then let them feed him the puck all day. Please, PLEase, PLEASE, Carlyle, notice before it's too late, and we keep losing our extra point in the last minute.
I think the last thing you noted, a possible Lupul promotion, is the key here. He seemed to earn it tonight. He blocked a couple of shots, was valuable taking the body and playing defense in overtime and, of course, he shot 50% on his two swipes at the net in 9:21 of even strength time.
There's still some rust there, and to get to 35, Lupul will probably need to be a viable option on one of the two power play units. However, as far as Lupul maybe taking more ice time at even strength, Carlyle is going to have to be honest with himself that his top line, which he gives a far longer leash than he offers so many other players in his care, isn't getting it done and sometimes looks god awful working together and working to attack the opposing net. Lupul offers a different look, and with how good Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan are, you have to assume that's all they need.
His only hope of getting to 35 may be through that top line. When you look at Anaheim's efforts to re-sign Beleskey early in anticipation of placing him on the top line this season, you get some idea of what it means for a player statistically to play with Perry and Getzlaf. If Lupul can be that player, Jen's gonna have to be GTL from here on out.