Man, it's been a while since we've fired up the ol' Scott Palguta Depth Meter. Heck, the last time we did it, Palguta was still a member of the team! Since then, we've seen a number of releases and signings by the squad. It's clear that they aren't quite finished with their off-season signing glut quite yet, with the draft and potentially plenty more squad additions to go.
And of course, we've renamed it the 'Scott Palguta Memorial Depth Meter' in memoriam of Burgundy Wave's very favorite terrible back-up player. (RIP palgoota u wuz da bes)
For the uninitiated: The Palguta Meter measures the amount of depth available on the team before we start to see horribly below average replacement players like Scott Palguta making the team. A Palguta Level of 1 is ideal, while a level 4 means we've hit peak Palguta!
(And remember, this is about the depth of the team, not necessarily the quality of the team. As it stands, the team probably needs a couple more infusions of talent but at the very least, they're getting good depth players! The fact that there's Tyson Wahls, Tyrone Marshalls, Quincy Amarikwas or Palgutas anywhere on the roster anymore bodes well.)
Murky waters at forward, but mostly in the center forward spot. Adding Edson Buddle got the team a starter, but there's no proven names behind him that can play there. Andre Akpan is probably the most likely, but he's been up and down in his few opportunities to try. On the outside, the team is absolutely fine. Tony Cascio, Akpan, Eric Avila, Atiba Harris, Kamani Hill, Jamie Castrillon in a pinch... they really just need to find another center-man or two to sit behind (or stand in front of, ideally) Buddle and they'll be perfect.
PALGUTA LEVEL - 2
If there's one spot that the Rapids are perfectly fine, it's the midfield. There's questions about who might play center forward if Buddle is out and the defense still needs tweaking, but we are set in the midfield. Set enough where the team might be able to let Jamie Smith go without batting an eye. Adding Eric Avila and Nathan Sturgis to the mix helped the depth quite a bit, and they have five starting-capable defensive midfielders to play the anchor man spot right now. (After Pablo Mastroeni went down last year, we had one. Remember Ross LaBauex getting that ill-fated start there?)
PALGUTA LEVEL - 1
This one is going to depend on whether or not Diego Calderon is planning on playing center back or left back. If he's playing left back, it's probably a three, not a two. Center back is where we want him, because that will leave the Rapids a few players deep at almost every position. Marvell Wynne and Brian Mullan can form the tandem at right back, while Anthony Wallace and Chris Klute will have it at left back. Nathan Sturgis can also play in the defense, but I've got a feeling he was brought in to bolster the already solid midfield depth, not the defensive depth.
It doesn't help that there are so many unknown variables on the defense, as well. Anthony Wallace should come back strong, but what if the injuries hit him harder than we thought? Davy Armstrong is a right back, but can he finally scrape his way into the first team, even just once?
If Calderon plays left back, it's a bit more murky a picture, but everything still looks a lot more defensively locked down than it did last season with Hunter Freeman/Kosuke Kimura and Luis Zapata keyed in as everyday starters.
PALGUTA LEVEL - 2.5
To always keep abreast of the situation with the depth meter, it's always kept updated on the official SPMDM page here.