While Bobby Ryan may have gotten the wrong idea about my recent tweets that Joffrey Lupul should get more ice time, the statistics do point to the fact that Joffrey Lupul has played well in limited minutes with a revolving door of linemates. Were he a rookie, we'd be talking promotion.
He's not in the press box or anything, and for now, he's finding a way to contribute without being featured in any significant way in Randy Carlyle's offense. Still, a veteran forward making 4.25M is rarely buried in a lineup. So the question stands. Daniel, should Joffrey Lupul get more ice time?
I don't understand why Randy Carlyle hates Joffrey Lupul all of a sudden. Lupul is a genuine scorer. He plays tough along the boards and doesn't shy away from hitting. Yet he can't get more than 13 minutes a game. Getzlaf is the Ducks' second leading scorer and he won't be back for 4-6 weeks. Yet, one of our better scoring assets spends most of the game on the bench. Lupul is making too much money and is too talented to be given so little rope to perform.
There are those who would argue that Lupul hasn't been earning his time. However, Lupul was very effective on the top line until he was injured. Moreover, he has a long history of being a productive player in the offensive zone. Based on his contract and past, he should be given the benefit of the doubt, not required to prove himself all over again. Carlyle has been treating Lupul like a rookie who needs to crack the lineup instead of a veteran who has to play his way out of ice time.
Given the loss of Ryan Getzlaf, this plan can't stay successful. It's not enough to spread the offense over the lines, if the time isn't also spread. Now is the time to let Lupul demonstrate his skills and help carry the offensive load. Lupul hasn't done anything to deserve to be relegated to such a limited role. Keeping him off the ice is going to cost the Ducks goals in the long run.
I agree. I think Lupul needs to be out there more. Will he be some legendary offensive force with a few more minutes under his belt? Probably not, but with Getzlaf out, the offensive production on this team isn't really in a place where you can say, 'no, thank you,' to an able-body.
And this just doesn't jibe with Carlyle's general ethos of success always being one shuffle away. Since when does he bury a well-paid player showing the ability to do more? That's not to say Lupul's skills weren't overestimated on his current contract or that some trepidation didn't go hand in hand with bringing him back from his long injury, but the guy IS performing in limited time. In Carlyle's 'what have you done for me lately' system, I thought that was all that mattered.
Don't get me wrong. I know I'm operating on a general excitement I had for Joffrey Lupul's performance last season, blocking shots with his face, elbowing people and really pushing his speed and shot. He's not that guy right now. Not yet. But I've been pleasantly surprised with his ability to produce without being given the time to be the guy he was. He's actually still putting points on the board without being forcefully insinuated into the lineup. He's finding a way, and he's doing it without the benefit of consistent linemates.
Is Jason Blake playing well, forcing the issue, etc.? Sure. But Carlyle didn't force him to produce points from the fourth line before welcoming him back to the second. When exactly is it a bad idea for Carlyle to let Joffrey Lupul fester in the bottom six? And when, exactly, might leaving him there begin to affect his game and the production he's found a way to MacGyver together?