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Depth at Defense more Crucial to Canucks than Centre


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#31 Canuck Surfer

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:40 PM

Ballard is a top 4 guys on many or most teams; just not the loaded Canucks. And we are LOADED on D, not the opposite with Ballard actually being a great depth asset in case Hamhuis or Edler gets hurt (or Edler walks in free agency next summer).

I would like to see a puck rushing D added to our repertoire? I would not be sad to see him traded if we could add that skill set. Or convert him into play making or size shortcomings up front. But depth on D hardly looks like our biggest concern.

Sammy Salo is, however, a right D. Teams would probably all pick Ballard if their need was a left D, Salo on his natural side. It's not as simple as Sammy is plain better. And I do not believe Garrison comparisons even come up for the same reason; he was recruited to play the right side on our PP and move bodies in front of the net.


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


Edited by Canuck Surfer, 12 January 2013 - 02:49 PM.

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#32 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

Most people are starting to understand; Though Ballard / Tanev / Alberts would be great 5/6 defensemens, they don't nessesarily fit into AV's system. AV's system is structured around a guy that can retrieve the puck in our end, and a guy that can transition it into the other end. Sometimes they can be the same guy (Hamhuis). However, point being is that Neither Ballard / Tanev / Alberts play too solidly on our own end, which leads to our top 4 being played more in defensive zone faceoffs, as the coach is less willing to put 5/6 defencemen on the ice. More minutes = playing more fatigued = poorer play / injury.
I really do think we have the depth at offence to play well. JS can slot in for Kesler while he's injured. Its just that we are often times hemmed in our own zone because the Sedins may end up playing with the 3rd pairing as the top 4 are too relied upon to play with the other lines. Just my 2cents.
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#33 Tortorella's Rant

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

Ballard is not a top 4D, not with AV.



Smartest thing I've seen you say, ever.

That may very well be the case. How does one account for a player completely disappearing from his game? Ballard went from a top two guy on many teams to sitting in the press box in Vancouver.
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#34 Ugli Fruit

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:39 PM

I keep thinking of Ehrhoff and how valuable he would have been in the the LA series. He was our best puck-moving D-man and I'd argue he still is if he was on our team.
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#35 thehamburglar

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:59 PM

Ballard can and I bet will. Garrison and Ballard will probably play together sometimes, and they will have chemistry I bet. I hope he can move to the right side for Edler, and Ballard.
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#36 DCR

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:04 PM

I would argue the issue is not defensive depth, but defensive balance. We have four top-4 left-side D: Hamhuis, Edler, Garrison, and Ballard. Unfortunately, we only have one top-4 right-side D: Bieksa. Chris Tanev isn't ready for top-4 duties and he's the only other native right-side D in the lineup. Even Alberts is a left-side D.

I personally think that with Ebbett and Shroeder available, the need for a 2C is secondary to the need for another right-side D.
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#37 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

I would argue the issue is not defensive depth, but defensive balance. We have four top-4 left-side D: Hamhuis, Edler, Garrison, and Ballard. Unfortunately, we only have one top-4 right-side D: Bieksa. Chris Tanev isn't ready for top-4 duties and he's the only other native right-side D in the lineup. Even Alberts is a left-side D.

I personally think that with Ebbett and Shroeder available, the need for a 2C is secondary to the need for another right-side D.


Completely agreed.
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#38 Moonshinefe

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

I keep thinking of Ehrhoff and how valuable he would have been in the the LA series. He was our best puck-moving D-man and I'd argue he still is if he was on our team.


Ehrhoff was terrible in his last playoffs with us, I definitely do NOT miss him. He got bullied physically and turned the puck over a ton. Plus he left an elite team in the Canucks to go get a bigger pay day on a bubble team. That says a lot about his character and will to win it all.
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#39 Gage

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:10 PM

Canucks should get ehrhoff back

Kassian with the twins gives us an amazing top three lines, fill in with whats left on the 4th line

Daniel Sedin / Henrik Sedin / Zack Kassian
David Booth / Ryan Kesler / Alexandre Burrows
Chris Higgins /Maxim Lapierre / Jannik Hansen
Mason Raymond /Manny Malhotra / Weise Dale


Kevin Bieksa / Dan Hamhuis
Jason Garrison / Alexander Edler
Keith Ballard / Chris Tanev


Roberto Luongo
Cory Schneider
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#40 Dogbyte

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:11 PM

Your logic makes sense in that we could get by without a center if Kesler comes back for the playoffs. Even if we are kind of weak at in the 3/4 center postion. However, you've missed the fact that when healthy we need a second line right winger far more than we need a 5/6 defenceman that can fill if injuries occur.
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#41 thema

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:29 PM

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?


Blunders? Willie Mitchell? What blunders did the Canucks doctors perform with him? The blunder was letting him walk. Not the doctor's department.
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#42 VicNuckleHead09

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:37 PM

IMO, it isn't depth that we lack... It is the absence of that one big "f-off" defense man or defensive forward that can stop a cycle counter-attack.

When the puck is in the offensive end for 3/4 of a period, and then collapses back towards our net the guy that stands in front of the net needs to be large and be able to stop that "crash the net" play we saw all too often with Lou in net.

I hope this is the type of guy that an already consummated trade will bring our way :frantic:

Go Canucks :canucks:
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#43 Pyrene

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:49 PM

Your logic makes sense in that we could get by without a center if Kesler comes back for the playoffs. Even if we are kind of weak at in the 3/4 center postion. However, you've missed the fact that when healthy we need a second line right winger far more than we need a 5/6 defenceman that can fill if injuries occur.


When are we ever healthy? lol. We have Booth, Higgins, Raymond, Hasen, and Kassian that can all play on the second line, though it is preferable Booth and Higgins are a lock on it. I think a lot of people underestimate Booth and Higgins.
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#44 Watermelons

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:11 PM

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


Please explain to me why Ballard needs to play in a top 4 role when Garrison, Hamhuis, Edler and Bieksa are healthy? Your first post was talking about our injury prone defence and no one being able to step up (which I completely disagree with because Ballard is more than capable of puck-handling and bringing the puck up the ice).

Your argument is inconsistent, first you talk about no one being able to replace our top 4 defencemen but now you are challenging Ballard to replace one of them?

I'm sure Ballard will get back to his old form if he is given a chance to play more minutes
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#45 honey badger36

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:19 PM

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.


switch Hansen and Raymond as ray shoots left and Hansen right. I'm also not so keen on Arnott. Kubina at the right price could be a fit but I highly doubt it that would be short term fix.

I hate to say it but a trade with chi town might be the best fit if we are unable to pry prospects from TO(ideally no salary coming back in a Luo deal for prospects would be perfect). That said Bolland + would be a great fit on our third C and would allow Shredder to fill in on 2nd c in kes's absence. Because Bolland and Max lap and Moho would be more than able of handling defensive duties in Kes's absence and as we Know Shredder only performs with talent on his line. when Kes comes back boom your looking at a very frustrating team to play against 234lines will be very hard nosed.

I would like to see this. (to start the season)
Sedin Sedin Kass
Burr Shredder Booth
higg Bolland Raymond
Hansen Moho Maxlap

Playoffs
Sedin Sedin Burr
Booth Kes kass
Higg Bolland Raymond
Hansen Moho Max Lap

I personally love our defence wouldn't change a thing Can't wait to see Garri out there great pickup to fill in Salo's shoes he has the shot and so much more not to mention much younger. No slight to Salo he will always be a palo.
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#46 Ugli Fruit

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:32 PM

Ehrhoff was terrible in his last playoffs with us, I definitely do NOT miss him. He got bullied physically and turned the puck over a ton. Plus he left an elite team in the Canucks to go get a bigger pay day on a bubble team. That says a lot about his character and will to win it all.


I'd argue that.

Not suggesting Ehrhoff is the strongest D-man we had, but he was one of the few D-men who could actively score and deal with the Hawks, even in previous years. He was a big reason we beat the Hawks. He played pretty average against the Preds, but nobody played very well except Kesler. Everyone else was okay at best.

He was injured vs the Sharks. The injury carried over into the SCF. I don't think his performance really reflected how he is in the playoffs.
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#47 Mr.DirtyDangles

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:14 AM

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.



seriously :picard: i suppose you want AV to score all the goals and make the saves too ?

Edited by vanfan73, 13 January 2013 - 04:14 AM.

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#48 Moonshinefe

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:35 AM

I'd argue that.

Not suggesting Ehrhoff is the strongest D-man we had, but he was one of the few D-men who could actively score and deal with the Hawks, even in previous years. He was a big reason we beat the Hawks. He played pretty average against the Preds, but nobody played very well except Kesler. Everyone else was okay at best.

He was injured vs the Sharks. The injury carried over into the SCF. I don't think his performance really reflected how he is in the playoffs.


I guess don't get me wrong.. Ehrhoff is a quality offensive D-man, I think the Canucks were better with him than without him. I just didn't like his attitude and his playoff performance when we needed him the most was pretty disappointing.
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#49 Systemaddict

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:37 AM

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


If Ballard ever gets back to where he was he's more than capable of top 4 play. If he keeps away from injury and gets his confidence and head back in the game, he'd be capable of 15-20 points this year. That's a mighty big IF - but what the hell, it's early and I'm trying to be positive. He hasn't been trending in the right direction that past couple years, but the Canucks are due a little luck from one of their under-performing players. Why not hope it's Ballard?
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#50 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:49 AM

Ballard might be able to step into our top-4 if one of our big guys go down, sure. Obviously he wouldn't be as good, but what happens after that? In the 2011 playoffs we had Hamhuis, Ehrhoff and Edler all nursing injuries.

Say we sustain 2 injuries to our top-4. For example, Hamhuis re-aggravates his injury and Edler has back spasms. Here's our new defence.

Bieksa - Garrison
Ballard - Tanev
Alberts - Joslin

Any team should be able to deal with 1 injury at a time, rarely do we have a fully healthy defence. However, the real test is during the playoffs when teams sustain 2 or 3 injuries at a time. That's when this depth counts, which is why we need far more depth. I'm comfortable with Alberts playing 12-15 minutes a game, but I don't want to see Joslin carry that load. Obviously Bieksa and Garrison can play 25 minutes if they have to, Ballard-Tanev can play 20 and our bottom pairing with 15 but not for very long which is why we need an extra guy like Vandemeer or Kubina who can eat up those minutes.

Hypothetically, say we sign Kubina to a 1 year deal and during the playoffs, Edler gets a bad injury, Hamhuis gets hit in the head again and Ballard gets knocked out for a bit. Those are 3 devastating injuries normally, but here's our patchwork pairings:

Bieksa - Garrison
Kubina - Tanev
Joslin - Alberts

That is still a very good defence which maintains a good amount of physicality and offence. When everyone's healthy here's how it looks:

Edler - Garrison
Bieksa - Hamhuis
Kubina - Ballard
Tanev
Alberts
Joslin

Deep defences win championships because in times of injury they are still good enough to get the job done.
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#51 wai_lai416

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:55 AM

Scoring depth is more important than defensive depth you cant win if u cant score regardless how good ur defense is
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#52 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:09 AM

I think we have 6 guys capable of playing in the top 4, Ballard and Tanev will probably be the best 3rd pair we have had in years, possibly the best in the league, if not the best one of them.

Adding Barker as a depth option is great IMO, then we will see how the Luongo situation, and possible other situations/trades turn out, I wouldn't mind getting Franson from TO seeing as he doesn't really want to be there, but now that he signed their isn't much weight with that from a negotiation perspective, he did struggle last year so his value is lower than ever though.

if we don't get Bozak or someone else the guy I would want in free agency is Daymond Langkow, I think he would be a great addition for the playoffs. Better than Arnott IMO, is solid in all areas, brings grit, skating ability, some skill, is a warrior, will do whatever it takes, also brings veteran presence and was great for Phoenix last year during their run.

I think getting say. Kadri, Bozak, Franson, 2nd. Isn't a reach of a deal, it offers us depth at every area we need, aswell as some pieces for the future, for Toronto they don't give up any major pieces and add a major piece, Franson didn't play a big role for them last year anyways, they just signed Mottau, they also have Holzer and Rielly who might make the team, aswell as Komisarek who can peharps regain an important role under Carlyle's system so Franson isn't much of a loss, They have some center's that can play top 9 roles (Connolly, Lombardi, Grabovski, McClement, maybe even JVR) Then they also keep there 1st so it's not a ton from their side.

If we can get these moves I think our D will be among the deepest in the league and we will also have a solid center ice position with Henrik, Kes, Bozak, Lappy, Manny, Ebbett, Kadri, Schroeder.

Edited by Smashian Kassian, 13 January 2013 - 05:11 AM.

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#53 DownUndaCanuck

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:15 AM

Scoring depth is more important than defensive depth you cant win if u cant score regardless how good ur defense is


That's true, but at the end of the day it's all about the best combination and the best matchup. Your offence has to be deeper than their defence and better than their goalie, but your goalie and defence have to be able to match their offence.

Look at the Boston-Vancouver series. Our offence was quite deep, but their defence was deeper and goalie was far better. On the flip-side, their offence was average at best but our defence was in tatters by the end of it.
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#54 Pears

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:16 AM

switch Hansen and Raymond as ray shoots left and Hansen right. I'm also not so keen on Arnott. Kubina at the right price could be a fit but I highly doubt it that would be short term fix.

I hate to say it but a trade with chi town might be the best fit if we are unable to pry prospects from TO(ideally no salary coming back in a Luo deal for prospects would be perfect). That said Bolland + would be a great fit on our third C and would allow Shredder to fill in on 2nd c in kes's absence. Because Bolland and Max lap and Moho would be more than able of handling defensive duties in Kes's absence and as we Know Shredder only performs with talent on his line. when Kes comes back boom your looking at a very frustrating team to play against 234lines will be very hard nosed.

I would like to see this. (to start the season)
Sedin Sedin Kass
Burr Shredder Booth
higg Bolland Raymond
Hansen Moho Maxlap

Playoffs
Sedin Sedin Burr
Booth Kes kass
Higg Bolland Raymond
Hansen Moho Max Lap

I personally love our defence wouldn't change a thing Can't wait to see Garri out there great pickup to fill in Salo's shoes he has the shot and so much more not to mention much younger. No slight to Salo he will always be a palo.

I think a player like Bolland would have to come to Vancouver in any trade with Chicago. I think we could do Luongo, Raymond, and a prospect or two for Bolland and a 1st and have a third line of Higgins - Bolland - Hansen, which would be absolutely incredible. Easily one of, if not the best third line in the NHL. Its a gritty, checking, shutdown line that can see each player produce 25-40 points.
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#55 nuck nit

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:31 AM

Scoring depth is more important than defensive depth you cant win if u cant score regardless how good ur defense is


If your opposition can't score then they don't win.
Many teams have applied this strategy,recent notables being the Scotty Bowman Montreal Candiens of the 70's and the New Jersey Devils under LeMaire.
Goaltending and d win championships,as opposed to the rare overwheming offensive miracle makers such as Gretzky and his Edmonton Oilers or Mario Lemieux and his Penguins.

Edited by nuck nit, 13 January 2013 - 06:17 AM.

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#56 SamJamIam

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

OP wins the internets. Cam Barker signed. Clearly MG agrees that defensive depth is a major focus.
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#57 Navyblue

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:11 PM

Too bad Ehrhoff is gone. People knocked him but he was a big part of our offensive success and powerplay. I guess he made the choice to leave.....

Compare him to Edler and even with Edler's hitting I would take Christian a hundred times over.
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#58 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:15 PM

Too bad Ehrhoff is gone. People knocked him but he was a big part of our offensive success and powerplay. I guess he made the choice to leave.....

Compare him to Edler and even with Edler's hitting I would take Christian a hundred times over.


Really, I wouldn't. Edler is the far better player IMO.

Edited by Smashian Kassian, 13 January 2013 - 05:16 PM.

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#59 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:17 PM

I think we should sign Daymond Langkow, he brings everything we would need, can play anywhere in the bottom 9, brings grit, skill, is warrior who does whatever it takes. A real heart and soul guy come playoff time. Was great for Pheonix last year.

I would rather him than Arnott myself.
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#60 Navyblue

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:43 PM

Really, I wouldn't. Edler is the far better player IMO.


Ehrhoff imo has a much better offensive scoring ability and doesn't make as many blunders. I re watched both the Boston and LA series and Edler pretty much gave them the puck on a few crucial moments.

Edler has the crushing hits but he just doesn't have that other gear and seems to do dumb things at the worst possible times
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