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Elite defenceman theory


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#1 mooremooremoore

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:26 AM

In my personal view the main reason we lost the Chicago series is because our defense not stacking up to Chicagos(OBVS, right?). This got me thinking. Have the Canucks ever had a real elite defenseman? The last few years it seemed as though we had a pretty strong defensive core. Especially this year. I really thought we were very strong at D, but after watching the Hawks and the Kings in the playoffs this year its been abundantly clear that we are completely out-classed when it comes to this position. Every one of the teams that are left have at least 1, of what I consider to be, elite defenseman.

Chicago - Keith, Seabrook, Campbell
San Jose - Boyle, Blake
Philly - Pronger, Timonen
Boston - Chara
Montreal - Markov(til he went down), Subban(arguable for sure)
And now the past few cup winners

Pittsburgh - Gonchar
Detroit - Lidstrom, Rafalski
Anaheim - Neidermayer, Pronger
Carolina - (Didn't have one)
Tampa Bay - Boyle
New Jersey - Neidermayer, Stevens
Detroit - Lidstrom, Chelios
Colorado - Bourque, Blake
New Jersey - Niedermayer, Stevens
Dallas - Zubov

The list goes on. Rangers had Leetch and Zubov in 94. Pittsburgh had Coffey. Edmonton Had Coffey. Calgary had Mackinnis. In fact the only team that has won it without one of these "elite" defenseman since Vancouver joined the league was Carolina in 06.

I started wondering. Have we ever had an elite defenseman? Heres our statistical leaders in that position:

Doug Lidster - 86/87, 63 points, -35
Dennis Kearns - 76/77, 60 points, -25
Rick Lanz - 83/84, 57 points, -3
Paul Reinhart - 89/90, 57 points, +2
Paul Reinhart - 88/89, 57 points, -4

Those guys were pretty good. Unfortunately I never got to see them play(born in 86). Out of the 4 of them I only really new of Lidster(who was also on the 94 Rangers BTW). The point I'm trying to make is that Vancouver has never really had one of those "elite" defenseman. One of those guys that puts up the points and still has a good +/-. The last time we had a guy who put up more than 50 points was Lumme in 96. The last guy to get close to 50 was Jovo in 03 with 46. I think it would be in this teams best interest to invest in an elite defenseman this off-season. To me its the last piece of the puzzle. We have elite scoring as well as scoring depth. We have decent goaltending. Our bottom 6 is above average. All we're missing is that one guy to shore up the defense. Whether through trade or FA signing this needs to be Gillis' number 1 priority this off-season. Personally I'd love to have Scott Niedermayer, but it'd be pretty hard to pry him away from Anaheim.

What do you guys think?
2012-13 Vancouver Canucks
Nichuskyin(0.875) H. Sedin(6.1) Kassian(0.870)
D. Sedin(6.1) Kesler(5) Burrows(4.5)
Higgins(2.5) Weiss(4) Hansen(1.350)
Sestito(0.750) Lapierre(1.5) Cooke(2)
Hamhuis(4.5) Bieksa(4.6)
Garrison(4.6) Gudbranson(0.9)
Ballard(4.2) Tanev(1.250)
Schneider(4) Lack(0.75)
Tot. cap hit: 59.845

#2 hockeyville88

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:34 AM

+1 (and i never give +1's to new posters ;) )

But yes IMO you are bang on about our D.

We have never had a norris calibre, all star D man. Jovo was for awhile but never Norris worthy and never mentioned in the same breath as the elite.

And as you said, even historically the Canucks' defence is pretty lacklustre in who we've had. i was born in 88 and don't know much about our teams of the 90's but I know that we haven't had decorated D very often. Salo, Mitchell, and Ohlund were/are good but not in a place where I would call them elite. Edler has the makings of a strong D man but has yet to reach his full potential IMO.

Sadly, I think Luc Bourdon was going to be that guy for us. The WJHC gold medalist, top 10 draft pick, the solid 2 way Dman we'd been looking for. Tragically and most unfortunately that didn't work out.

I think one of our MAJOR focuses this summer has to be on D. We have our goalie all set, our top 6 fwds are pretty set. We need D...badly...or else we will continue to lose in the playoffs as soon as we meet an elite team.

Hopefully it's something MG can address and fix this summer! I belive it's the last piece of the puzzle.
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#3 robbylu

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:37 AM

I'd say Carolina had an elite dman, Glen Weasley was the 3rd overall pick in his draft year I believe. Although he wasn't an offensive threat, he was a defensive beast and leader.

#4 tmoney44

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:39 AM

Big question is how are they going to get an elite D man
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#5 ahf149

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:39 AM

I hope we get Hamhuis hes an elite defensemen. Weber just overshadows him.
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#6 tmoney44

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:44 AM

I hope we get Hamhuis hes an elite defensemen. Weber just overshadows him.


Are you really comparing Hamhuis to the people the OP listed ? Hamhuis is a good D man but he's not an elite D man. Weber and Suter have made him look better than he is in Nashville. He's just being over hyped in this market because he's a B.C. boy.
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#7 MoneypuckOverlord

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:45 AM

I hope we get Hamhuis hes an elite defensemen. Weber just overshadows him.


We have at least 3 defencemens better then Hamhius, 4 if you include Mitchell. Hes far from Elite.

My idea is to sign Scott Neidermayer.

 

Well, I , I feel very good about this draft, but I, I think, potentially you know were gonna have 3 or 4 NHL players out of this group, ummmm, you know like we are not going to prejudice to were they are from.

 

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#8 wallstreetamigo

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:47 AM

I don't see a UFA defenseman that would be classified as elite, other than Neidermeyer. Hamhuis is very good, but not elite, imo. Probably the best of the bunch because of his age. Volchenkov? same thing. Does what he does well but not the guy to carry a team. Would love to see either on our team as they would undoubtedly make us better, but they will command big money and I'm not sure I want to see them here for as much as they will be able to command.

That leaves trading as the only viable option but who is even possible without giving up too much depth to get him?

It would help to have a workhorse type guy that can get in the mid 20's to 30 minutes a game, can quarterback the PP, play the PK, and is solid on both sides of the puck. I also believe this is a HUGE component to a long playoff.

Edited by wallstreetamigo, 14 May 2010 - 01:21 AM.


#9 tmoney44

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:50 AM

I don't see a UFA defenseman that would be classified as elite. Hamhuis is very good, but not elite, imo. Probably the best of the bunch because of his age. Volchenkov? same thing. Does what he does well but not the guy to carry a team. Would love to see either on our team as they would undoubtedly make us better, but they will command big money and I'm not sure I want to see them here for as much as they will be able to command.

That leaves trading as the only viable option but who is even possible without giving up too much depth to get him?

It would help to have a workhorse type guy that can get in the mid 20's to 30 minutes a game, can quarterback the PP, play the PK, and is solid on both sides of the puck. I also believe this is a HUGE component to a long playoff.


Don't forget about Z. Michelak from the Coyotes. He's not elite but he's a fairly young guy with a lot of upside. He played real good for the Coyotes this year to. He's more of a defensive D man than a offensive one. Good replacement for Willie

Edited by tmoney44, 14 May 2010 - 12:53 AM.

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#10 mooremooremoore

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:53 AM

Big question is how are they going to get an elite D man


Through trades or free agency, lol. Honestly though in this day and age of the NHL you have to give up to get. We would have to shed salary in order to sign someone and we'd have to give up a large amount in picks/prospects to get someone. It has to be done, though, in my opinion.
2012-13 Vancouver Canucks
Nichuskyin(0.875) H. Sedin(6.1) Kassian(0.870)
D. Sedin(6.1) Kesler(5) Burrows(4.5)
Higgins(2.5) Weiss(4) Hansen(1.350)
Sestito(0.750) Lapierre(1.5) Cooke(2)
Hamhuis(4.5) Bieksa(4.6)
Garrison(4.6) Gudbranson(0.9)
Ballard(4.2) Tanev(1.250)
Schneider(4) Lack(0.75)
Tot. cap hit: 59.845

#11 wallstreetamigo

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:55 AM

We have at least 3 defencemens better then Hamhius, 4 if you include Mitchell. Hes far from Elite.

My idea is to sign Scott Neidermayer.


On paper, Scott Neidermeyer would be the perfect fit if he was willing to take a bit of a pay cut to play for his home province's team and to be the leader that this team needs to bring Edler, O'Brien, and other young D-men to the next level. He would also have a huge impact on the attitude of this team, imo. He is a winner and a true leader in every sense.

He is probably the only player I can think of that I would give the C to immediately upon his arrival. Let him have it for a year and help to groom his replacement.

Unfortunately, I just don't see it happening or it likely would have happened by now. We need heart, leadership, and the undying confidence that we can win it all. Having a leader who has been there would be helpful.

I think development-wise for our players, a signing like that would be a huge step forward.

#12 tmoney44

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:55 AM

Through trades or free agency, lol. Honestly though in this day and age of the NHL you have to give up to get. We would have to shed salary in order to sign someone and we'd have to give up a large amount in picks/prospects to get someone. It has to be done, though, in my opinion.


I think their going to try to get a good young D man and hope he turns into an elite one down the road. Their looking to trade a young forward for a young D man from what I hear.
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#13 Cpt_Kesler17

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 12:56 AM

One of those guys that puts up the points and still has a good +/-.

Arguably Ehrhoff appeared short of Elite to me this year. He did put up some big numbers, and was huge defensively.
(Remember when everyone thought he would be terrible because of his -12 with the sharks the year before)
But getting 44 points (14g, 30a) and a freeking +36 is a pretty good defencemen if you're looking for 'once of those guys that put up the points and has a good +-)
I think Ehrhoff, with Hamphus could be one of the biggest defensive threats in the league, arguably the top 5 defensive pair in the league if we put them together.
But We needed A d-man to step in for Ohlund, and this guy did the job, he could be our go-to guy for the next couple of years. He loves the ice time, take's no crap from other players, is consistent in his play, racks up points, scores the big goals, had 3 GWG, i believe 2 in OT, had 7 points in the playoffs.
He and Edler could be our big point-men on the powerplay, as well as great guys for PK.

We also don't entirely need elite defensemen if we have an elite goalie. I think strong defensemen who play their roll, and don't make stupid mistakes, could lead us far.

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#14 BowTie

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:04 AM

If Nashville is having revenue difficulties, wants to revamp the team to have more scoring depth and/or is content with Suter as their #1 dman, we can try to throw a lot of players at them (pick from: Raymond, Bernier (I guess for potential), Shirokov, Hodgson, Bieksa, 1st rounder) to get Weber.

I agree with others however, that Hamhuis is just another good, but not great dman. Not the dominant elite dman we should be looking for. If MG knows Weber is not untouchable in Nashville, I really hope he discusses his options with Poile, and in depth. The only other franchise dman that we can acquire is probably Niedermayer, but that is not a long-term solution, nor is it certain that he won't retire and sign here.
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#15 tmoney44

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:07 AM

If Nashville is having revenue difficulties, wants to revamp the team to have more scoring depth and/or is content with Suter as their #1 dman, we can try to throw a lot of players at them (pick from: Raymond, Bernier (I guess for potential), Shirokov, Hodgson, Bieksa, 1st rounder) to get Weber.

I agree with others however, that Hamhuis is just another good, but not great dman. Not the dominant elite dman we should be looking for. If MG knows Weber is not untouchable in Nashville, I really hope he discusses his options with Poile, and in depth. The only other franchise dman that we can acquire is probably Niedermayer, but that is not a long-term solution, nor is it certain that he won't retire and sign here.



Weber ain't going anywhere don't get your hopes up. If he ever does get traded 28 teams would be interested and it would take way more than the names you put out there. They wanted Hodgson for Hamhuis at the deadline.
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#16 torrential

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:11 AM

I love the idea of Niedermayer coming here, but I find it quite unlikely. Afterall, the guy's almost 40 right?

#17 tmoney44

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:14 AM

I love the idea of Niedermayer coming here, but I find it quite unlikely. Afterall, the guy's almost 40 right?


They asked last year and his agent said no. But apparently Vancouver is his second choice after the Ducks. I still doubt he will come here either.
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#18 mooremooremoore

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:15 AM

Arguably Ehrhoff appeared short of Elite to me this year. He did put up some big numbers, and was huge defensively.
(Remember when everyone thought he would be terrible because of his -12 with the sharks the year before)
But getting 44 points (14g, 30a) and a freeking +36 is a pretty good defencemen if you're looking for 'once of those guys that put up the points and has a good +-)
I think Ehrhoff, with Hamphus could be one of the biggest defensive threats in the league, arguably the top 5 defensive pair in the league if we put them together.
But We needed A d-man to step in for Ohlund, and this guy did the job, he could be our go-to guy for the next couple of years. He loves the ice time, take's no crap from other players, is consistent in his play, racks up points, scores the big goals, had 3 GWG, i believe 2 in OT, had 7 points in the playoffs.
He and Edler could be our big point-men on the powerplay, as well as great guys for PK.

We also don't entirely need elite defensemen if we have an elite goalie. I think strong defensemen who play their roll, and don't make stupid mistakes, could lead us far.


Andrej Meszaros had 39 points(10 goals, 29 assists) and was a +34 for Ottawa in 06. Tom Preissing had 38 points and was a +40 for Ottawa in 07. Pretty similar stats to Erhoffs year this year. Are those guys elite? Depends what your definition of "elite" is. Not in my opinion. To me an elite defenseman is one of those guys whos name you always hear. Everyone knows who Chara, Lidstrom, Niedermayer, Pronger, etc. are.. Tom Preissing? Who's that? I'm not trying to discredit Erhoff. I think he's a fantastic D-man. Is he elite? Not in my opinion.
2012-13 Vancouver Canucks
Nichuskyin(0.875) H. Sedin(6.1) Kassian(0.870)
D. Sedin(6.1) Kesler(5) Burrows(4.5)
Higgins(2.5) Weiss(4) Hansen(1.350)
Sestito(0.750) Lapierre(1.5) Cooke(2)
Hamhuis(4.5) Bieksa(4.6)
Garrison(4.6) Gudbranson(0.9)
Ballard(4.2) Tanev(1.250)
Schneider(4) Lack(0.75)
Tot. cap hit: 59.845

#19 Hero#1

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:18 AM

I think Alex Edler could be that elite defenceman we're looking for. After all he is only 24. Wouldn't be surprised to see him get nominated for the Norris in a couple of years, since he definitely has the potential. At this point, we can only look from within our organization to produce that elite d-man, since a trade for one would cost way too much.

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#20 BowTie

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:18 AM

Weber ain't going anywhere don't get your hopes up. If he ever does get traded 28 teams would be interested and it would take way more than the names you put out there. They wanted Hodgson for Hamhuis at the deadline.


I'm not getting my hopes up. Like I said, if MG knows that there is a small chance that Weber is not untouchable, then he should pursue that option to the fullest to see what it does take. Not only to analyze whether he makes a trade or not, but to get a feel for what it takes to get a top/elite defenseman in the NHL. Personally, I don't believe that Hamhuis will fix our problems. Hamhuis is known not to be a physical defenseman. I think we do need a d core that would hit to keep speedy players like Kane or Toews from confidently trying to breakthrough our blueline every time. I remember seeing Daniel or Henrik try to break through, only to see Seabrook and subsequently dumps the puck before passing the faceoff dot when Seabrook finishes his check. Seabrook's physicality and (of course) skill defensively was one of the reasons we got shut down. I know skill plays a part in this, but I believe skill alone will not improve our chances from this year. Physicality on the back (and maybe even upfront) is one of the areas we should improve on.

Like any elite player, it is so tough to get one through the draft while maintaining a competitive team year after year. If we are to maintain the idea that we are only a few adjustments from being a cup contender, then it will take a hit to our farm system to get the elite dman we need to put us on par or maybe even above the likes of Chicago and San Jose.
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#21 mooremooremoore

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:18 AM

I love the idea of Niedermayer coming here, but I find it quite unlikely. Afterall, the guy's almost 40 right?


37 on August 31st.
2012-13 Vancouver Canucks
Nichuskyin(0.875) H. Sedin(6.1) Kassian(0.870)
D. Sedin(6.1) Kesler(5) Burrows(4.5)
Higgins(2.5) Weiss(4) Hansen(1.350)
Sestito(0.750) Lapierre(1.5) Cooke(2)
Hamhuis(4.5) Bieksa(4.6)
Garrison(4.6) Gudbranson(0.9)
Ballard(4.2) Tanev(1.250)
Schneider(4) Lack(0.75)
Tot. cap hit: 59.845

#22 mooremooremoore

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:28 AM

I think Alex Edler could be that elite defenceman we're looking for. After all he is only 24. Wouldn't be surprised to see him get nominated for the Norris in a couple of years, since he definitely has the potential. At this point, we can only look from within our organization to produce that elite d-man, since a trade for one would cost way too much.


I disagree. It would cost alot to get one, but when 39 of the last 40 teams to win the cup have had at least one on their team I think its imperative to get one. Even if it means giving up Hodgson. If you think about it we have about a 5 year window to win with the core guys we have now. At all costs we must get an elite defenseman. Edlers good, not elite. Not yet anyways. I don't want to wait around for guys like him to maybe become elite. If anything having an elite guy on our team might help our younger guys to develop even further.
2012-13 Vancouver Canucks
Nichuskyin(0.875) H. Sedin(6.1) Kassian(0.870)
D. Sedin(6.1) Kesler(5) Burrows(4.5)
Higgins(2.5) Weiss(4) Hansen(1.350)
Sestito(0.750) Lapierre(1.5) Cooke(2)
Hamhuis(4.5) Bieksa(4.6)
Garrison(4.6) Gudbranson(0.9)
Ballard(4.2) Tanev(1.250)
Schneider(4) Lack(0.75)
Tot. cap hit: 59.845

#23 wallstreetamigo

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:31 AM

If the Canucks are truly ready to make a push next year for the Stanley Cup as many think they are, then I think the option of considering an older cup experienced veteran on a 1 year deal at a decent cap hit makes some sense.

Let's face it. The Canucks lacked that steadying presence that comes with veteran players who have been through it before and know how to raise their game to a new level.

If the Canucks want Edler or even Erhoff and O'Brien to get to the next level, having a veteran cup winner would certainly help that development.

I'm all for getting younger guys with upside but to be honest I think next year should be the big push. They have the ingredients and some cap room to add a few things. I think it is the opportunity to make their run.

#24 Rhinogator

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 01:45 AM

If the Canucks are truly ready to make a push next year for the Stanley Cup as many think they are, then I think the option of considering an older cup experienced veteran on a 1 year deal at a decent cap hit makes some sense.

Let's face it. The Canucks lacked that steadying presence that comes with veteran players who have been through it before and know how to raise their game to a new level.


+1
agreed. imho, leadership from the back end, is what we really need to go far in the future :canucks::towel::towel:
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#25 wonderfulremark

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:01 AM

2 year, $20 Million offer to Scott Niedermayer..............

#26 holyBadger

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:04 AM

God forbid we look at our own young D men and notice their development Curve Erhoff is 26 years old Edler is only 23.

Hamhuis is only 28 just rounding into his professional game.

Carlo Colaiacovo 28 we've resurrected ex Leafs players careers before Wellwood and Raycroft... why not Carlo?

Kurtis Foster - Depth kind of guy we desperately need. He loves Vancouver too..
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#27 mooremooremoore

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:20 AM

God forbid we look at our own young D men and notice their development Curve Erhoff is 26 years old Edler is only 23.

Hamhuis is only 28 just rounding into his professional game.

Carlo Colaiacovo 28 we've resurrected ex Leafs players careers before Wellwood and Raycroft... why not Carlo?

Kurtis Foster - Depth kind of guy we desperately need. He loves Vancouver too..


Erhoff is 27(28 on July 6th) and Edler is 24.

All these guys you've mentioned are very good D men, but the point of this topic is to make you realize that the Canucks have never had someone better then good. Its time for that to change. "Elite" defensemen.. Not "good" defensemen.
2012-13 Vancouver Canucks
Nichuskyin(0.875) H. Sedin(6.1) Kassian(0.870)
D. Sedin(6.1) Kesler(5) Burrows(4.5)
Higgins(2.5) Weiss(4) Hansen(1.350)
Sestito(0.750) Lapierre(1.5) Cooke(2)
Hamhuis(4.5) Bieksa(4.6)
Garrison(4.6) Gudbranson(0.9)
Ballard(4.2) Tanev(1.250)
Schneider(4) Lack(0.75)
Tot. cap hit: 59.845

#28 The Situation

The Situation

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:24 AM

Campbell is not elite, salaries aside I would take someone like Ehrhoff over Campbell any day.
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#29 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:30 AM

It's not just elite defencemen, we need a good TEAM DEFENCE. Look at Montreal, sure they have Markov, but all their other defencemen are playing amazingly, and to defined roles as well. They have Markov as their puckmover, Bergeron as their PP QB, Spacek as a fast defenceman, Gill as their prime shutdown guy and now Subban too.

We had too many offensive defencemen who were less than average in their own zone - even Ehrhoff wasn't solid defensively despite being our best D man, and please don't talk of this teams depth. Alberts and Rome are AHLers on any other team.
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#30 mooremooremoore

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:34 AM

Campbell is not elite, salaries aside I would take someone like Ehrhoff over Campbell any day.


I was wrong to say Campbell was elite. I would, however, say that he is equal in value to Erhoff. Campbell gets a bad wrap cause he makes 7.14 million per year. Is that his fault or the GM that offered him such a ridiculous contract?
2012-13 Vancouver Canucks
Nichuskyin(0.875) H. Sedin(6.1) Kassian(0.870)
D. Sedin(6.1) Kesler(5) Burrows(4.5)
Higgins(2.5) Weiss(4) Hansen(1.350)
Sestito(0.750) Lapierre(1.5) Cooke(2)
Hamhuis(4.5) Bieksa(4.6)
Garrison(4.6) Gudbranson(0.9)
Ballard(4.2) Tanev(1.250)
Schneider(4) Lack(0.75)
Tot. cap hit: 59.845




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