I'm looking to protect our small skill guy's, with what amounts to 1 or 2 deterrents. I'm not looking for Slap Shot 😆. Just like how the Champions have been built in this area. All have had the size and the toughness along with the skill.The "size/grit/toughness" debate has been a pretty contentious one for awhiles amongst NHL fans.
The league has clearly gone more towards speed and skill, especially amongst fwd's, but there is still a need for grit and toughness.
IMO, instead of bringing in "toughness" you need your speed/skill guys to be bring that grit and toughness. That's pretty much what Palat is. I think it's what Nico is. Mercer, Zetterlund. All these guys bring it. I don't think Hughes and Bratt bring a ton of toughness, but they are going to play big minutes for us, so those guys learning to play their game when the going gets tough in the playoffs is what I am talking about.
The 4th line clearly bring it, yet they aren't old school goons. Ton of speed, and even a good bit of goal scoring, to go along with size and grit, on that 4th line.