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Depth at Defense more Crucial to Canucks than Centre


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#1 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:22 AM

With the loss of Kesler for majority of this shortened season, many Canucks fan panic at our lack of depth and inability to score, claiming the Canucks lack the scoring depth. Though the recent playoffs have swerved many to believe that our offensive depth is lacking for a championship caliber team, this is not the case.
The Canucks play a defensive first approach system, relying on quick transitions of the D carrying the puck up the ice and maintaining puck control. Without a core of defencemen who could strip the opposition of the puck and make that first transition pass to center ice, the system easily falters. Looking back at the 2011 playoffs, it is noticeable that we generate a lot of offence off our defense. Without a stable defense, our offense breaks down. For example: how would you expect the Sedins to produce if they were trapped inside our own end their entire shift? Likewise, our scoring ability disappeared the second we lost Hamhuis in the SCF.
Rather than trading Luongo, or whoever it may be for a temporary center, its more sensible to develop depth at D to better support AV's systematic approach of defencemens who can carry the puck up the ice or make that first pass. Beyond our top 4, which is already quite injury prone, there isn't the depth of defencemen that is dependable enough to fill the top 4 role.

Hamhuis / Bieksa
Elder / Garrison
Ballard / Tanev
Alberts

Neither Ballard, Tanev, nor Alberts has the ability to step up to a top 4 role, with Tanev being the most stable of the 3.
A stable defense is the formula for a steady offence. For these past two Playoffs, the Canucks have had a terrible defensive showing, resulting in the lack of goals scored. Rather than spending money on a temporary center, lets focus our efforts into the real issue: our D-depth.

Edited by Pyrene, 12 January 2013 - 03:26 PM.

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#2 canucklehead44

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:28 AM

Ballard can step in as a top 4 in a pinch, even Tanev can. Jim Vandermeer would be a nice addition.
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#3 Pears

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:28 AM

With the loss of Kesler for majority of this shortened season, many Canucks fan panic at our lack of depth and inability to score, claiming the Canucks lack the scoring depth. Though the recent playoffs have swerved many to believe that our depth is lacking for a championship caliber team, this is not the case.
The Canucks play a defensive first approach system, relying on quick transitions of the D carrying the puck up the ice and maintaining puck control. Without a core of defencemen who could strip the opposition of the puck and make that first transition pass to center ice, the system easily falters. Looking back at the 2011 playoffs, it is noticeable that we generate a lot of offence off our defense. Without a stable defense, our offense breaks down. For example: how would you expect the Sedins to produce if they were trapped inside our own end their entire shift? Likewise, our scoring ability disappeared the second we lost Hamhuis in the SCF.
Rather than trading Luongo, or whoever it may be for a temporary center, its more sensible to develop depth at D to better support AV's systematic approach of defencemens who can carry the puck up the ice or make that first pass. Beyond our top 4, which is already quite injury prone, there isn't the depth of defencemen that is dependable enough to fill the top 4 role.

Hamhuis / Bieksa
Elder / Garrison
Ballard / Tanev
Alberts

Neither Ballard, Tanev, nor Alberts has the ability to step up to a top 4 role, with Tanev being the most stable of the 3.
A stable defense is the formula for a steady offence. For these past two Playoffs, the Canucks have had a terrible defensive showing, resulting in the lack of goals scored. Rather than spending money on a temporary center, lets focus our efforts into the real issue: our D-depth.

You lost me at Ballard not being a capable top 4 D man. He is absolutely capable of being one and is on teams that don't have a good defense.
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In my eyes drouin is overrated he can score in the qmjhl but did nothing in last two gold medal games that canada lost. Fox will be better pro than him talk to me in five yrs

Gaudreau has one NHL goal whereas all your "prized" prospects have none.

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#4 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:30 AM

You lost me at Ballard not being a capable top 4 D man. He is absolutely capable of being one and is on teams that don't have a good defense.


I'd like to see Ballard step up to a top 4 role replacing either Garrison, Hamhuis, or Edler.

Edited by Pyrene, 12 January 2013 - 03:26 PM.

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#5 RAMBUTANS

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:31 AM

Ballard is not a top 4D, not with AV.
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#6 Rey

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:34 AM

This thread starts and ends with Keith Ballard. From the post above, it's absolutely arguable whether he can step in the top 4 or not, but the fact is that he is being paid as a top 4 defense man. You cannot do anything, until you either move this player or accept that he's not going anywhere.

If you want the Defense to be better, you have to start considering changing the top 4, because in the playoffs. It's mainly the top 4 that only matters, and that problem was addressed when Gillis replaced a injury prone Salo, with Garrison. Now, We'll just have to wait and see how Garrison does.

Nonetheless, Top 4 Defense mans don't grow on trees. Be patient, wait it out, and try to snag one a rental at the trade deadline if the current core isn't meeting expectations. Don't be foolish and do something stupid, because Edler is a UFA next season and It'll be impossible to replace him. You absolutely cannot tie yourself into anything long term.

Edited by Rey, 12 January 2013 - 01:39 AM.

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#7 Mad Cow Disease

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:37 AM

Ballard was arguably our best defenseman (along with Tanev) in the Quarter-finals last year. That isn't saying an entire lot as it was 5 games, but he has ability, he just needs an opportunity to play and the right amount of confidence. We could do with a #1 d-man, but we have all-around great depth when our defensemen are in form.

Edited by Mad Cow Disease, 12 January 2013 - 01:37 AM.

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#8 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:38 AM

This thread starts and ends with Keith Ballard. From the post above, it's absolutely arguable whether he can step in the top 4 or not, but the fact is that he is being paid as a top 4 defense man. You cannot do anything, until you either move this player or accept that he's not going anywhere.

If you want the Defense to be better, you have to start considering changing the top 4, because in the playoffs. It's mainly the top 4 that only matters, and that problem was addressed when Gillis replaced a injury prone Salo, with Garrison. Now, We'll just have to wait and see how Garrison does.

Nonetheless, Top 4 Defense mans don't grow on trees. Be patient, wait it out, and try to snag one a rental at the trade deadline if the current core isn't meeting expectations. Don't be foolish and do something stupid, because Edler is a UFA next season and It'll be impossible to replace him.


Good point. However, its been proven that Hamhuis and Bieksa primarily crack when given higher minutes. Even Salo played 22 minutes a game despite the management wanting to give him less. We just need that stable #5 D that can step into a top 4 role and log minutes without hesitation from the coach

edit. That's exactly what I'm saying though. The majority of the population is already in a quick haste to try to find a center to temporarily replace Kesler, when in truce, it will not benefit us come playoffs. It'd be more sensible to go after a D-man will have a spot on our team.

Edited by Pyrene, 12 January 2013 - 01:42 AM.

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#9 Rey

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:42 AM

Good point. However, its been proven that Hamhuis and Bieksa primarily crack when given higher minutes. Even Salo played 22 minutes a game despite the management wanting to give him less. We just need that stable #5 D that can step into a top 4 role and log minutes without hesitation from the coach


It's up to the players in that role to step up. Best bet will be the trade deadline to pick up a rental. I am actually comfortable with Tanev and Ballard because they have proven to be solid before, and they continue to get better on this team. Not a lot of teams have the luxury to have a consistent bottom pair. You play the big boys in the playoffs because they are getting the big boy money. Injuries happen to every team, hockey is a game of luck.

I've always said, that they key to success for a defense core is to sign defensive minded guys because they always step up in the playoffs just simply because they are better in match up games, and because they are defensive minded guys, they are much more affordable. Unfortunately, the puck movers have taken over. Why do you think a guy like Grossman is so highly regarded? There's really not a lot of those guys anymore. Should have kept Mitchell when they had a chance, but what can you do. 3.5M for him looks like an absolute steal right now compared to when he was signed.

On the bright side, with the new CBA, I'd imagine the prices will drop a bit.

Edited by Rey, 12 January 2013 - 01:51 AM.

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#10 kmotamed

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:00 AM

We have absolutely nothing to worry about on D, as long as we dont have 2-3 injuries there (knock on wood). What we NEED is a power forward who can put the puck in the net at will, crash the net, play nitty-gritty.
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#11 uber_pwnzor

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:12 AM

I like our D. Especially our top four is damn good.
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#12 playboi19

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:15 AM

A lot of people forget Ballard had a major concussion last season. He returned in the playoffs and was our best defensman.
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#13 Danthecanucksfan

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:23 AM

I'd like to see Ballard step up to a top 4 role replacing either Garrison, Salo, or Edler.


Salo plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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#14 Ossi Vaananen

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:18 AM

Rather than trading Luongo, or whoever it may be for a temporary center, its more sensible to develop depth at D to better support AV's systematic approach of defencemens who can carry the puck up the ice or make that first pass. Beyond our top 4, which is already quite injury prone, there isn't the depth of defencemen that is dependable enough to fill the top 4 role.


I was with you until the bolded part, you can't just erase 4/6 d-man to make the argument that we don't have depth. If anything 25 teams covet what we have on the back end. As per your argument about transition and first pass d-men, we have that in Tanev as well. He makes a great first pass, though he's not the puck carrier just yet.

I'm curious as to who you think we could acquire that would be that transitional d-man willing to slot in a 5/6 spot? I'm also curious as to who you think can carry the puck on the rush from the back end?
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#15 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:20 AM

Salo plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning.


My bad. I meant hamhuis. I really liked @Rey's point about Grossmann. However, having hamhuis and garrison does solidify our D compared to last year.
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#16 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:25 AM

I was with you until the bolded part, you can't just erase 4/6 d-man to make the argument that we don't have depth. If anything 25 teams covet what we have on the back end. As per your argument about transition and first pass d-men, we have that in Tanev as well. He makes a great first pass, though he's not the puck carrier just yet.

I'm curious as to who you think we could acquire that would be that transitional d-man willing to slot in a 5/6 spot? I'm also curious as to who you think can carry the puck on the rush from the back end?


Someone that can purely outmuscle the opposition team off the puck. Can do well with the 4th line sortve banging defencemen. With our 5/6dman, neither are really capable of doing that, thought tanev has a nice first pass and ballard and carry the puck thru the middle well. It just not as settling knowing if the other team is working the boards, tanev and ballard dont have the strength to knock them off the puck
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#17 Ossi Vaananen

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:28 AM

Someone that can purely outmuscle the opposition team off the puck. Can do well with the 4th line sortve banging defencemen. With our 5/6dman, neither are really capable of doing that, thought tanev has a nice first pass and ballard and carry the puck thru the middle well. It just not as settling knowing if the other team is working the boards, tanev and ballard dont have the strength to knock them off the puck


How I read your post, is that for AV's system, we need someone who can be a transitional, first pass defenseman who can also carry the puck. If you're creating a separate argument that we need defensive defensemen, who are big and play the boards, well that runs contrary to your initial post. So which is it, transitional d-man that can carry the puck, or a big guy that can hit?
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#18 Mr.DirtyDangles

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:33 AM

Our D was limping through the playoffs the last 2 years. If they were healthy we might just have a cup banner in the rafters. D is crucial, but scoring 8 goals in the finals is what lost us the cup. We need a Bertuzzi 2.0 that scores at least 40 every year plain and simple.
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#19 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:44 AM

How I read your post, is that for AV's system, we need someone who can be a transitional, first pass defenseman who can also carry the puck. If you're creating a separate argument that we need defensive defensemen, who are big and play the boards, well that runs contrary to your initial post. So which is it, transitional d-man that can carry the puck, or a big guy that can hit?

My initial post describes how our offence runs; it never stated what we wanted out of a dman. Also, in AV's system, its usually a pairing of one ajd the other. With Luongo's trade value, i dont see how ee cannot fetch an all around D. You need both elements for the defense to suceed, and right now yhe 3rd pairing only has end of it. However, to answer your question, we need a strong dman that can retrieve the puck, as both tanev and ballard are exceptional at transitioning it.
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#20 smithers joe

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:26 AM

a lot of people made fun of rome, but he like mitchell played a safe, simple game. ballard has great wheels but like edler, does not play well on the right side...AV said he liked him paired with tanev, because tanev could cover for kb4's defensive gaff's..
it will be interesting to see how well garrison handles playing his off side....salo was a very dependable defensive defenseman...if garrison can fill his shoes, we will be fine. as you mention, injuries to our back end have killed us in the past two playoffs..
we also need to find more secondary scoring...is kesler going to be kesler when he returns or will we ever see him again?
i like booth's game, but he needs to start burying pucks...
there are rumors that gillis is thinking of bringing in arnott as temporary centerman for kes...i'm not sure he has anything left in the tank, but is that big bruising center, he seems to be looking for.
next year will be interesting....can they afford both edler and ballard?
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#21 nuck nit

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:50 AM

AV said yesterday that they are looking for a puck moving d man.

I read that as offensive d man.

As long as there is no highly capable offensive d man with Hamhuis and Edler in the apparent lurch,Vigneault may be expressing the organisations immediate need.

Kesler is a long ways off so another top 2 NHL center is also needed.
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#22 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:44 AM

Our top-4 is one of the best in the league, but our center position is currently not good enough to win a Cup. Our defence needs one more big, physical veteran guy who can play 20 minutes to play on our 3rd pairing, however we need one 40-point scorer at the center position to be viable for a Cup. Looking at Cup winners down the list, they all have more than 4 NHL centers who can play on the wing. I believe Boston had something like 7 against us, and even L.A was stacked with centers.

Ideally we need players who can step up in case of injury. That 40-point center would be able to replace Kesler, and a veteran defenceman can jump up in case of inevidible injury to our top-4 defence who all have injury history.

We missed our chance at Hecht but Arnott as a 30 point guy wouldn't be too bad. Pavel Kubina would be perfect for our bottom pairing too. These are easy signings that give us this much more playoff-ready, physical lineup:

Sedin - Sedin - Burrows
Higgins - Kesler - Booth
Hansen - Arnott - Raymond
Kassian - Malhotra - Lapierre

Edler - Garrison
Bieksa - Hamhuis
Kubina - Ballard
Tanev
Alberts

This suddenly gives us a much bigger, more physical lineup. Now, no matter what combination or permutation of lines and pairings, we always have one or two physical giants on the ice to protect our skilled guys. That's how you win Cups nowadays - the perfect mix of skill and physicality on the ice at the same time. L.A did it with guys like Williams/Kopitar/Doughty/Mitchell, Boston did it with Krejci/Lucic/Chara, Chicago did it with Kane/Toews/Seabrook/Keith. These are high-end skilled players playing with high-end tough guys who ensure the stars survive the grind of the playoffs. We definately didn't have this in 2011, where there'd be the Sedins and Burrows on the ice with our offensive defencemen Ehrhoff and Edler who aren't tough enough to protect the twins. Now, with either Bieksa, Garrison or Kubina on the ice at the same time, no one would get into a scrum with the twins.
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#23 Boudrias

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

It's up to the players in that role to step up. Best bet will be the trade deadline to pick up a rental. I am actually comfortable with Tanev and Ballard because they have proven to be solid before, and they continue to get better on this team. Not a lot of teams have the luxury to have a consistent bottom pair. You play the big boys in the playoffs because they are getting the big boy money. Injuries happen to every team, hockey is a game of luck.

I've always said, that they key to success for a defense core is to sign defensive minded guys because they always step up in the playoffs just simply because they are better in match up games, and because they are defensive minded guys, they are much more affordable. Unfortunately, the puck movers have taken over. Why do you think a guy like Grossman is so highly regarded? There's really not a lot of those guys anymore. Should have kept Mitchell when they had a chance, but what can you do. 3.5M for him looks like an absolute steal right now compared to when he was signed.

On the bright side, with the new CBA, I'd imagine the prices will drop a bit.

Ballard could really surprise this year as his game has got stronger. Tanev has 30 games in already. Canuck priority in a Lu deal has to be up front unless they steal a primo defensman prospect.
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#24 Derp...

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:52 AM

We have a lot of guys who can play solid D, but not all of them fit into AV's system. Problem is we don't know if they will or not before we get them, unless they are young guys who we can bring along understanding what they will need to be good at to fit into our NHL club. That's where the Ballard issue starts and could be the same for garrison, but thankfully he can still contribute on the PP and he has had some time before the season to practice with some of the guys. Ballard is a tremendous hockey player and would be an asset on many teams, but our team plays a style that doesn't suit his game and the side of the ice he is on either.

We do need another top 4 D man in our line up in case of injury and that could be Tanev and Ballard could figure it out his year, the trick is waiting it out and seeing how it goes or bring in someone new and try with them. We know that we can win two presidents trophies with essentially this Defence, but is it good enough for the playoffs or if we have an injury? If we can pick up another smart puck moving Dman who's a good passer with a decent shot and who is young we will be in good shape on D.

Gardiner and Bozak and a pick for Lu would be awesome.
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#25 lowest common denominator

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:54 AM

Our D is middleweight at best. We will get thumped out in the playoffs again without some kind of heavyweight reinforcement.

Side note: How is it that Kesler is still injured after 8+months??? I am really concerned about the canucks doctors. Hodgson, Willie Mitchell now Kesler. Who knows what other blunders they have made?
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#26 knucklebones

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

Playing without quality centers, no back checking or winning any faceoffs. The defencemen will tire themselves
chasing the other teams quality centers around for the puck. It will be difficult to maintain a fast transition game without
a center controlling the neutral zone.

Relax canuck nation there might be a solution, so long as Gillis doesn't panic and pull the trigger early.

Why not play both top notch goalies on a tight leash. The
goalie wins he is in, two bad goals and yank him.
Trade one of them when they are more valuable later. Aquire a top
notch center and a rugged
defenceman, control the middle of the ice and win a stanley cup.
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#27 MoneypuckOverlord

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:00 PM

What the heck, Ballard totally has the skill set of a top 4 defencemen. Easily. He's also proven to play in the top pairing role in Florida despite his crappy team, he was still a plus 14. A.V just needs to give him more confidence.
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Players Nikolaj Ehlers have been compared too by the fan base of the Vancouver Canucks.

 

1 Pavel Bure

2 Markus Naslund

3 Nathan Mackkinon

4 Jonathan Drouin.

5 Jonathan Tavares

 

http://bleacherrepor...d-top-prospects

combine results.  Ehlers 5'11 162 lbs of solid rock.  


#28 -Vintage Canuck-

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:08 PM

If we can get a replacement for Rome a guy who is reliable when there is an injury on the blueline then we'll be fine.
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#29 #17forlife

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

*sighs... yet another topic about the Canucks " lack of defensive depth ".

We have great depth. Which has been proven over and over again. Especially in that season couple years back where we used something like 12 different defencemen in a year. With the absence of Salo, we probably won't need to test the depth to much.

With regulars like Edler, Hamhuis, Bieksa, Ballard, Garrison, Alberts, maybe Joslin

and guys in the minors: Tanev, Sauve, Connauton etc.. we do have good depth. However the strength of the top six can be questioned.
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#30 #17forlife

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:49 PM

We have a lot of guys who can play solid D, but not all of them fit into AV's system. Problem is we don't know if they will or not before we get them, unless they are young guys who we can bring along understanding what they will need to be good at to fit into our NHL club. That's where the Ballard issue starts and could be the same for garrison, but thankfully he can still contribute on the PP and he has had some time before the season to practice with some of the guys. Ballard is a tremendous hockey player and would be an asset on many teams, but our team plays a style that doesn't suit his game and the side of the ice he is on either.

We do need another top 4 D man in our line up in case of injury and that could be Tanev and Ballard could figure it out his year, the trick is waiting it out and seeing how it goes or bring in someone new and try with them. We know that we can win two presidents trophies with essentially this Defence, but is it good enough for the playoffs or if we have an injury? If we can pick up another smart puck moving Dman who's a good passer with a decent shot and who is young we will be in good shape on D.

Gardiner and Bozak and a pick for Lu would be awesome.


Tyler Bozak and Morgan Rielly would be awesome.
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