Player Discussion: Luke Witkowski

Discussion in 'Tampa Bay Lightning' started by The Green Unit, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. Loki Dekker

    Loki Dekker Lost Cosmonaut

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    Playoffs coming aside, I'll take all these injuries on D as a blessing in disguise. Getting so much experience for the kids is priceless, and most of'em are a pleasant surprise.

    In a fair world Witkowski/Nesterov deserve a chance to take the last spot on the healthy defense over Sustr/Barbs. I hope Cooper is not of that stubborn type of coaches. Witko lacks some offensive instinct but he is currently playing a mistake free defense, I personally love it. Luke looks like a better version of Gudas. Well done SFY.
     
    Last edited by moderator LightningStrikes: Apr 5, 2015
  2. RetiredSquid

    RetiredSquid Registered User

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    Seeing him come into his own as a player and a leader over the past 2+ seasons has been nice. He wont put up epic offensive numbers, but will be the stay at home partner to the dman who will put up the numbers. The mean streak is just a bonus. I feel he is more valuable to the team at this point than Barbs or Sustr becasue of the defensive play and his edge. While I hope he returns to Syracuse for the post season, I fully expect him to remain in Tampa as the Bolts should use one of the remaining callups once the injury bug has passed. It has been a pleasure watching Like, and his future can only get brighter for the organization and himself as a player from here.
     
  3. zeykshade

    zeykshade Registered User

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    Luke Witkowski was drafted almost 7 years ago. SFY and crew had nothing to do with him being drafted. He developed at Western Michigan U. with Danny DeKeyser on his left. He's only been actually in the organization since 2012-13 with SYR for a few games. He's basically in his 2nd year pro. Zettler and crew in SYR deserve the credit for his development.
     
  4. Loki Dekker

    Loki Dekker Lost Cosmonaut

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    I was only talking about SFY trading Gudas at the right time.
     
  5. zeykshade

    zeykshade Registered User

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    Gotcha.
     
  6. Cigar City

    Cigar City Registered User

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    Certainly has passed the eye test these past few games.
     
  7. ultra63

    ultra63 Registered User

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    Is Barbara Underhill still working with the Lightning? His skating could be improved
     
  8. Vasilevskiy

    Vasilevskiy I've many surnames

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    I'm not a big fan of his to be honest.
    Doubt he's more than a #7... hope he proves me wrong
     
  9. Maelmoor

    Maelmoor HFBoards Sponsor Sponsor

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    No way he is better than Barbs..
     
  10. Hoek

    Hoek ❤ KyoAni

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    He's looked better next to Barbs than Sustr has. Not saying he's better than Sustr, but his style helps Barberio more.
     
  11. bov

    bov Registered User

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    I'll say he's better than Sustr. Upside is another story. I would love to see Witkowski earn the #6 spot eventually.
     
  12. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    I think he's a better fit for the moment, because solid, predictable RHDs are just what the doctor ordered for us right now. I thought he made a pretty good partner for Hedman. Better option than Sustr.
     
  13. MattM92

    MattM92 Registered User

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    I don't see the potential in Sustr that some of y'all do, so I'm gonna say I'll take Witkowski over Sustr. Now and going forward.
     
  14. bov

    bov Registered User

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    The organization is trying to be patient with Sustr. He has nowhere near grown into his frame, and he's still relatively new to the pro game. I was really hoping for more coming into this season, but I think it's fair to give him a bit more time. I just wonder if management is willing to wait the few more years it may take for Sustr to reach his potential. Trust me, I'd be quite happy to see Witkowski as a regular even if it's at the expense of Sustr.
     
  15. chasespace

    chasespace Registered User

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    The potential with Sustr is you hope he puts on another 20-40lbs and learns to take the body while keeping his skating ability and stickhandling ability.
     
  16. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    That's a long shot hope. He would have to revamp his game in his late twenties almost completely. People like to talk about how Chara didn't become CHARA until he was almost 30, but you could always see the raw skills that eventually turned into the beast he became (and he was a tough SOB from the get-go). Even if there was a period where it seemed unlikely he would capitalize on it. Sort of like Brett Connolly. The raw talent is unquestionable, but there are big questions on whether or not he'll ever put it together.

    I don't see anything above average in Sustr, including skating and puck handling. His skating, not to be confused with speed, when you consider the awkward moments he tends to have, is below average. His speed is okay. Puck handling... meh.

    He looks like a guy who, once he works out the flaws in his game, will be a solid bottom pairing guy. Maybe a smarter, less physical version of Keith Aulie with better hands. I just think top-4 expectations at this point is incredibly lofty. He doesn't have the raw skills.
     
  17. Coopers Gum

    Coopers Gum Extend Andrej Sustr

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    Sustr is pretty scrawny. I feel if he packs on some muscle, and actually uses it, and not get bodied out of every puck, he'd be alright.

    That said, I'd probably take Witko over him at this particular point in time.
     
  18. MattM92

    MattM92 Registered User

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    His skating? He gait looks strikingly similar to that of a newborn giraffe. His skating is definitely one of his weaknesses. His only notable strength is his reach. Not very encouraging. Also, Sustr is no newer to the pro game than Witko is. Both did the college route too. You can see Witko's strengths...can't see Sustr's.
     
  19. 42

    42 Registered User

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    Do you guys see Witkowki make the team next year?
     
  20. Werewolf

    Werewolf Registered User

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    Yes, I think so. We need to make room in Syracuse with DeAngelo coming onboard and Syracuse playing Blujus and Dotchin on the right side. I'm of the opinion both Sustr and Witkowski come back to the Lightning and will battle for the #6 spot in the lineup and the other will be the healthy scratch. Both Sustr & Witkowski are RFAs so they'll come back on the cheap and hopefully their battle takes their games to new heights. I was very impressed with Witkowski's game against the Bruins. He was exactly what was needed to even up the physicality factor. Went head to head against Lucic physically - didn't back down and stepped up leading the team with 8 hits - some of them of the CRUSHING variety.

    I tend to lean towards Witkowski over Sustr in the short term. Witkowski is more effective physical presence. Better on the boards, better in front of the net, better at protecting his undersized teammates, and a better hitter. Mobility and reach might factor in favor of Sustr. Sustr of the two-way variety and Witkowski of the more defensive minded defensemen. However, it is still too early to give up on Sustr. He has 20 games of AHL experience and 1.5 seasons of NHL experience...and was thrust into the number #1D pairing several times looking completely average as he should with less than 100 games of experience under his belt. I don't see the organization giving up on Sustr with the limited experience he has had at the pro level. How many people gave up on Hedman as a bust...patience might just prove everyone wrong about Sustr. Especially if he can gain those aformentioned 15 to 20 lbs - he is 220 to 225 lbs now. If he can gain another 20 lbs or so and keep his mobility to improve his board and crease play - this might just be a great find on Tampa's blue line.

    Witkowski vs Sustr for the #6 RHD position with Carle as their likely pairing teammate is a good conversation to have. DeAngelo will be in Syracuse next year, I have no doubts about that. For playoff and physical hockey...no doubt I'd want Witkowski on my side if I have to go to war.
     
  21. The Macho Man

    The Macho Man Lusty Bodychecker

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    Looking completely average is a ... polite way of putting it.
     
  22. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    I don't see where Sustr is going to find skills to make him all that much better in the long run. He'll make better decisions, but his skillset is his skillset, and it's below average. I do agree that Witkowski and Sustr will battle for the #6 slot, but whether or not Witko sticks with the team depends on how many defensemen we carry, and what happens in the off-season.

    I think it's safe to say that most of us are assuming Barberio is gone after this year. If he's still with the team come September, that makes Witkowski's path to the NHL pretty tough, because Barbs and Nesterov are still ahead of him. If we move Barbs*, it comes down to whether or not Coop wants to carry 7 D or 8 D, because you have to think Nesterov will be winning the #7 role.

    But I guess the X-factor in all this is Matt Carle. It's not even an argument that he's overpaid in his newly reduced role, even if he is pretty effective in it most of the time. But do we want a guy like Nesterov behind him on the left side, getting very little playing time? Especially when you consider how close to NHL-ready Koekkoek appears, and how capable he is of providing left side depth.

    If we move both Carle and Barbs, then the picture gets pretty clear, and a lot more ideal (IMO):

    1L: Hedman 1R: Stralman
    2L: Garrison 2R: Coburn
    3L: Nesterov 3R: Sustr (...ugh)
    #7: Witkowski

    L Call-up: Koekkoek
    R Call-up: DeAngelo, Blujus, Dotchin

    If we wanted to carry eight D, it might be better to keep Barbs around than Carle, or sign a cheap vet. I just don't have much issue with giving Nesterov a regular slot next year.

    EDIT: *Accidentally said Nesterov initially when I meant Barbs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  23. Yzerplan89

    Yzerplan89 Registered User

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    Best D lines ive seen all season im my opinion are:

    1L: Hedman 1R: Stralman
    2L: Garrison 2R: Coburn
    3L: Nesterov* 3R: Witkowski
    #7 Sustr/Carle*

    L-Call-up KoekKoek
    R- Call-up DeAngelo (Not likely, would love to see this happen though)
     
  24. DFC

    DFC Registered User

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    I hope we would give Carle away for nothing before we pay him $5.5m to be an extra D.
     
  25. chasespace

    chasespace Registered User

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    Carle is too good to be a #7, put him next to Nesterov so Nesterov can pinch up more and keep Witko as the #7.
     

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