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pcanuck 01-20-2013 04:33 PM

Defence
 
I keep hearing defence wins championships. If this is true, I wonder what you think of this as a Winnipeg Jets fan.

A hockey team seems to be built on the premise that you have three levels - a goaltender who stops pucks, a defence which assists the goaltender and prevents goals from being scored and a forwards who provide offence. This Winnipeg roster is not equipped to do this.

Pavelec, who is our consensus starting goaltender (who we recently signed to a multi-year deal) was among the lowest ranked goaltenders in the league as it correlated to save percentages and goals against average. This multi-year deal tells me as a fan that we did not need to upgrade the position. A 1-2 year deal is a stop gap, 4-5 years to me suggests that this player is a franchise player.

Our defensive players are led by Enstrom and Byfuglien. Both players were given long term contracts by Winnipeg and Atlanta respectively. Both are offensive defencemen and historically are/will be out of position to transition the puck from our defensive zone. How can a coach suggest we play stronger defensive hockey when 2 of our best defencemen are attempting to play a rover position? More importantly, Wouldn't it be wise to put these players on different lines or simply on the power play? Wouldn't it be wise to pair them with defensive minded players who can make up for their defensive shortcomings? We don't seem to do either of these. Ironically, Noel is preaching defence but he does not admonish either of these players for their defensive play. Clitsome, Redmond, Postma and even Bogosian have been considered offensive defencemen at one time or another. Our newest draft selection, Trouba is another offensive defenceman. Stuart and Hainsey could be considered stay at home defencemen but are paired with one another. How can you preach defence when you are acknowledging the accomplishments and roaming skills of the offensive minded players?

Last year, I thought the best defenceman on the power play was Stapleton. In many respects, I felt that Glass, Slater, Thorburn, Burmistrov and Wellwood were better defencemen than forwards. I can appreciate the back check however, these players are primarily paid to score goals and/or forecheck, not play defence.

Simply put, under the coaching direction of Noel and player personnel GM Chevaldaeoff, I do not expect this to change. They seem to agree with this philosophy. I wonder if I am the only person who notices this and does not accept the premise of what Noel is philosophizing/preaching versus what he does in practice/strategy. If we preach defence, shouldn't we try to do it? If we are preaching defence, wouldn't it be wise to identify and sign defensive defencemen?

just a thought...

Romang67 01-20-2013 04:46 PM

Trouba wasn't drafted as an offensive defenseman. The reason why he fell in the draft was because people questioned his offensive abilities.

Bogosian looked GREAT defensively last season, the question is whether he can contribute offensively. Who cares about what he has been called earlier? He showed us what he could do defensively last season. Unless that wrist surgery completely screwed him up, we have a gem defensively right there.

When has Enström ever been known as attempting to play the rover position? When has he ever been known to be a bad defensive player? Or even average? Since when doesn't the pairing of Buff and Enström work? What are you talking about?

garret9 01-20-2013 05:14 PM

If you use your argument about contract extension for Pavelec (which is slightly off) for Enstrom than your argument about Enstrom would contradict your above statements.

In the end I look at it like this...

Top pair Enstrom - Byfuglien:
One of the top 10 pairs (as a whole) in the league. Enstrom is actually more of a two-way guy but get's erroneously called offensive due to his size. When together they outscore the opponent which wins you games. Heck Byfuglien has been getting better defensively and I think yesterday showed that. Enstrom is not a rover but in-fact a strong support player in being Byfuglien's safety net (much like Suter was for Weber who also is a rover). I see no changes needed here... and even if Byfuglien starts regressing Bogosian should be able to take the role no problem.

Second pair Hainsey-Bogosian:
When together (which due to injuries between the two or between Enstrom and Byfuglien wasn't often enough... only 272 mins or 13-18 games) they actually out shoot and score on the opponent and win games. Hainsey isn't a long term solution but we will hopefully be able to find a stop-gap to replace him in the 2013 UFA pool. Trouba will most likely be here in 3-4 years which will either pair up with Bogosian or replace Bogosian if Bogosian ends up on the first pair.

Bottom pair Stuart-Postma:
Stuart and Postma while opposites in what they do are the same in that they will both be effective only in a sheltered bottom role. They are easy to fill out in FA or waivers, but it shows our problem. When one of our top4 get injured we don't have any replacements for them.


Enstrom isn't a rover or primarily O defenseman. Enstrom is a 2way (although undersized) defenseman whose main game is playing smart positional hockey. He's one if not our most effective defensemen in reducing shots and goals.
Trouba wasn't drafted as an offensive defensemen. Trouba was projected to be a defensive defensemen that had a solid enough shot that he could play point shot for secondary PP. A lot of people were comparing Trouba early to Foote. Recently Trouba has found his offensive game and may turn out to be more of a two-way guy with a mean streak a la Pronger or Weber (not saying he'll be as amazing as them, just style-wise).
I think you're wrong that Glass and Thorburn are good defensively...
I find that defensive defensemen is a huge misnomer as the "true" meaning of the word is REALLY rare. A defensive defensemen would be someone who has strong skating, positioning and breakout pass, so they are useful in shuttdown players and pushing the play forward but don't have playmaking skills or shot to be dangerous offensively. Scuderi on the LAK is a perfect example of this. But, truculent defensemen tend to get placed in the role of defensive defensemen because the better defensemen are given more offensive roles and because they try hard... they actually tend (not always *cough* Postma) be worse defensively than offensive defensemen but they don't have any use elsewhere. These examples are like our own Stuart (more truculent/heart&soul guy) is less efficient defensively than Hainsey (more offensive guy).

I see our problems as this... we only have 3 guys who can be a main piece in a top 4 (Enstrom, Byfuglien and Bogosian), one guy who can support a top4 player but can no longer carry the load (Hainsey). Honestly if we can upgrade Hainsey in the offseason to a guy who doesn't need to always need to be the support piece and give some developmental years to guys like Postma... we'll be fine.

Beazley 01-20-2013 05:18 PM

Enstrom? An out of position rover? No.

Sweech 01-20-2013 05:31 PM

The Enstrom-Byfuglien pairing is actually a pretty powerful pairing, even defensively they're quite good (as long as Byfuglien maintains position, or a forward covers). Even then Byfuglien has been trending upwards in the defensive area.

Enstrom is a strong defensive player on his own and I wouldn't say he qualifies at all as a roamer.

Also, Trouba is not at all an offensive defenseman. In fact his biggest critique when getting drafted was his offensive game and whether it would grow. Everyone knew he had a bomb of a shot and could skate very well, but he hadn't put it all together at the time.

Hainsey also only recently is considered a defensive defenseman. He's had to adapt to that new role recently and I think he leaves us this offseason (or we trade him) for an expanded offensive role that he used to have.

Bogosian is also a steady all-minutes guy.

I understand that it is very true we need better defenseman. Especially those who specialize in the defensive area of the game itself. I just disagree with the whole premise of this. A few analysis of players are incorrect (Enstrom, Trouba, etc.) while also slagging Noel and Chevy to a degree. I agree we should have gone after another defensive defenseman last season, but who's to say we didn't? The pickings were pretty slim for what we were looking for.

Plus organizationally we need to give players like Postma and Redmond a shot. Filling up the blueline wasn't going to get that done.

I also don't really get the Noel hate. Not his biggest fan myself, but he works with what he has. What have you noticed in practice/strategy that doesn't connect for you? I haven't seen him touting playing an open system (like Ramsey's in Atlanta) and the system they currently play doesn't resemble it at all either.

surixon 01-20-2013 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by garret9 (Post 57959443)
If you use your argument about contract extension for Pavelec (which is slightly off) for Enstrom than your argument about Enstrom would contradict your above statements.

In the end I look at it like this...

Top pair Enstrom - Byfuglien:
One of the top 10 pairs (as a whole) in the league. Enstrom is actually more of a two-way guy but get's erroneously called offensive due to his size. When together they outscore the opponent which wins you games. Heck Byfuglien has been getting better defensively and I think yesterday showed that. Enstrom is not a rover but in-fact a strong support player in being Byfuglien's safety net (much like Suter was for Weber who also is a rover). I see no changes needed here... especially if Byfuglien starts regressing Bogosian should be able to take this no problem.

Second pair Hainsey-Bogosian:
When together (which due to injuries between the two or between Enstrom and Byfuglien wasn't enough) they actually out shoot and score on the opponent and win games. Hainsey isn't a long term solution but we will hopefully be able to find a stop-gap for him in the 2013 UFA pool. Trouba will most likely be here in 3-4 years which will either pair up with Bogosian or replace Bogosian if Bogo ends up on the first pair.

Bottom pair Stuart-Postma:
Stuart and Postma while opposites in what they do are the same in that they will both be effective only in a sheltered bottom role. They are easy to fill out in FA or waivers, but it shows our problem. When one of our top4 get injured we don't have any replacements for them.


Enstrom isn't a rover or primarily O defenseman. Enstrom is a 2way (although undersized) defenseman whose main game is playing smart positional hockey. He's one if not our most effective defensemen in reducing shots and goals.
Trouba wasn't drafted as an offensive defensemen. Trouba was projected to be a defensive defensemen that had a solid enough that he could play point shot for secondary PP. A lot of people were comparing Trouba early to Foote. Recently Trouba has found his offensive game and may turn out to be more of a two-way guy with a mean streak a la Pronger or Weber (not saying he'll be as amazing as them just style-wise).
I think you're wrong that Glass and Thorburn are good defensively...
I find that defensive defensemen is a huge misnomer as the "true" meaning of the word is REALLY rare. A defensive defensemen would be someone who has strong skating, positioning and breakout pass, so they are useful in shuttdown players and pushing the play forward but don't have playmaking skills or shot to be dangerous offensively. Scuderi on the LAK is a perfect example of this. But, truculent defensemen tend to get placed in the role of defensive defensemen because the better defensemen are given more offensive roles and because they try hard... they actually tend (not always *cough* Postma) be worse defensively than offensive defensemen but they don't have any use elsewhere. These examples are like our own Stuart.

I see our problems as this... we only have 3 guys who can be a main piece in a top 4 (Enstrom, Byfuglien and Bogosian), one guy who can support a top4 player but can no longer carry the load (Hainsey). Honestly if we can upgrade Hainsey in the offseason to a guy who doesn't need to always need to be the support piece and give some developmental years to guys like Postma... we'll be fine.

Well said. Any ideas on who might be available this summer?

videofarmer 01-20-2013 05:52 PM

The defense corp has to be good at actual defense to win, but in this day and age, if you don't get scoring from your D you're not going to win either. Jets are working to get the right balance. Should be much improved when Zach is back.

Beazley 01-20-2013 06:00 PM

As much as I'd kind of like to see what Tobi could do if he "freed" from having to worry about what Buff is doing, they are a formidable pairing. Elite, in fact. In a nutshell, Buff is a game-changer and Tobi is creative enough to flow with him and defensive enough to cover for him. I'm not sure you could find a better pairing for Buff other than somehow finding someone exactly like Tobi but 30 lbs heavier... and that guy probably does not exist in the NHL.

Even if you are "preaching defence" as a coach, you still are not going to put the shackle on a D-pairing where #33 is 3rd in D-man scoring... and there isn't a defender higher on last years D scoring list in fewer games than Enstrom other than Letang.

Sidebar: I saw Buff haul azz to get back into position yesterday a few times yesterday. His cardio is in mid-season form. The Big Buy showed up to play this year.

BigZ65 01-20-2013 06:38 PM

Bogosian and Trouba both have heavy shots, but I don't think you'd find many people who would call them "offensive defencemen." Just because they can put up offensive numbers at a level where they are physically dominant doesn't mean they project as that type of player in the NHL.

The reason our "defense" stinks is more of a team issue than the 6 defencemen IMO. As a team we are poor at getting the puck out of the zone and controlling the puck, not to mention the average goaltending.

BigZ65 01-20-2013 06:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goto10 (Post 57962467)
As much as I'd kind of like to see what Tobi could do if he "freed" from having to worry about what Buff is doing, they are a formidable pairing. Elite, in fact. In a nutshell, Buff is a game-changer and Tobi is creative enough to flow with him and defensive enough to cover for him. I'm not sure you could find a better pairing for Buff other than somehow finding someone exactly like Tobi but 30 lbs heavier... and that guy probably does not exist in the NHL.

Even if you are "preaching defence" as a coach, you still are not going to put the shackle on a D-pairing where #33 is 3rd in D-man scoring... and there isn't a defender higher on last years D scoring list in fewer games than Enstrom other than Letang.

Sidebar: I saw Buff haul azz to get back into position yesterday a few times yesterday. His cardio is in mid-season form. The Big Buy showed up to play this year.

Imagine how effective Enstrom could be if he used a stick that he could take a pass in tight with, without having to take half a second to choke up on it and then adjust when he needs to carry or play the puck.

Beazley 01-20-2013 06:49 PM

For every time Tobi has to adjust to accept a pass in tight, he breaks up 2 passes and poke-checks another winger with that long stick. It's a net gain for him or he wouldn't be using it.

Zhamnov10 01-20-2013 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pcanuck (Post 57956529)
I keep hearing defence wins championships. If this is true, I wonder what you think of this as a Winnipeg Jets fan.

A hockey team seems to be built on the premise that you have three levels - a goaltender who stops pucks, a defence which assists the goaltender and prevents goals from being scored and a forwards who provide offence. This Winnipeg roster is not equipped to do this.

Pavelec, who is our consensus starting goaltender (who we recently signed to a multi-year deal) was among the lowest ranked goaltenders in the league as it correlated to save percentages and goals against average. This multi-year deal tells me as a fan that we did not need to upgrade the position. A 1-2 year deal is a stop gap, 4-5 years to me suggests that this player is a franchise player.

Our defensive players are led by Enstrom and Byfuglien. Both players were given long term contracts by Winnipeg and Atlanta respectively. Both are offensive defencemen and historically are/will be out of position to transition the puck from our defensive zone. How can a coach suggest we play stronger defensive hockey when 2 of our best defencemen are attempting to play a rover position? More importantly, Wouldn't it be wise to put these players on different lines or simply on the power play? Wouldn't it be wise to pair them with defensive minded players who can make up for their defensive shortcomings? We don't seem to do either of these. Ironically, Noel is preaching defence but he does not admonish either of these players for their defensive play. Clitsome, Redmond, Postma and even Bogosian have been considered offensive defencemen at one time or another. Our newest draft selection, Trouba is another offensive defenceman. Stuart and Hainsey could be considered stay at home defencemen but are paired with one another. How can you preach defence when you are acknowledging the accomplishments and roaming skills of the offensive minded players?

Last year, I thought the best defenceman on the power play was Stapleton. In many respects, I felt that Glass, Slater, Thorburn, Burmistrov and Wellwood were better defencemen than forwards. I can appreciate the back check however, these players are primarily paid to score goals and/or forecheck, not play defence.

Simply put, under the coaching direction of Noel and player personnel GM Chevaldaeoff, I do not expect this to change. They seem to agree with this philosophy. I wonder if I am the only person who notices this and does not accept the premise of what Noel is philosophizing/preaching versus what he does in practice/strategy. If we preach defence, shouldn't we try to do it? If we are preaching defence, wouldn't it be wise to identify and sign defensive defencemen?

just a thought...

I said the exact same thing a week ago we need a defensive defemceman all of our guys except Stuart were offence first d-man at one point or another even Hainsey was a pure offensive d-man when he was drafted,even our final cut meech is known for his offence.

truck 01-20-2013 10:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zhamnov10 (Post 57968049)
I said the exact same thing a week ago we need a defensive defemceman all of our guys except Stuart were offence first d-man at one point or another even Hainsey was a pure offensive d-man when he was drafted,even our final cut meech is known for his offence.

I don't want another Stu. He was our worst regular last year before the Oduya trade and he is no better than an OK 6 on a team with any depth.

Sweech 01-20-2013 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by truck (Post 57987103)
I don't want another Stu. He was our worst regular last year before the Oduya trade and he is no better than an OK 6 on a team with any depth.

Exactly. A Stu with better hockey sense I'd be all over.

BigTuna49 01-20-2013 10:15 PM

Interesting OP to say the least...

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigZ65 (Post 57965797)
Imagine how effective Enstrom could be if he used a stick that he could take a pass in tight with, without having to take half a second to choke up on it and then adjust when he needs to carry or play the puck.

So YOU think that changing a guy's stick length after YEARS of success with the long stick he's had will fix things? The guy is almost a guarantee for a 50 point pace over an 82 game schedule and brings above average defense. You don't fix what ain't broke.

Quote:

Originally Posted by goto10 (Post 57966883)
For every time Tobi has to adjust to accept a pass in tight, he breaks up 2 passes and poke-checks another winger with that long stick. It's a net gain for him or he wouldn't be using it.

I'm sure plenty won't agree, but I think he's one of the best 1on1 defenders in the league and it is very hard to get a shot off 1on1 with him.
Notice what Buff did 1on1 against Turris. Stood up straight to block the shot. Toby does something different. He places that looooong stick right at the other guys stick to deflect the shot high and out of play. He's done that for years and is very good at it.

garret9 01-20-2013 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zhamnov10 (Post 57968049)
I said the exact same thing a week ago we need a defensive defemceman all of our guys except Stuart were offence first d-man at one point or another even Hainsey was a pure offensive d-man when he was drafted,even our final cut meech is known for his offence.

Stuart isn't considered a defensive defensmen because he's good at defense... but because he's terrible at offense...

It's a bad misnomer.

Good defensive defensemen are guys like (all of variable degrees of goodness):
Ladislav Smid
Rod Scuderi
Anton Volchenkov
Barret Jackman
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Henrik Tallinder
Dan Hamhuis
Johnny Boychuk

truck 01-20-2013 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sweech (Post 57987197)
Exactly. A Stu with better hockey sense I'd be all over.

That and a first pass.

Sweech 01-20-2013 11:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by truck (Post 57989583)
That and a first pass.

I figured with better hockey sense he'd make better passes.

jigglysquishy 01-20-2013 11:10 PM

For 2014-2015 our top four will look like

Enstrom-Bogo
Trouba-Byfuglien

I fully expect Bogo to become a top ten NHL defenseman and for Trouba to successfully transition into a number 3/number 4 d-man. We don't have a lot to worry about.

truck 01-21-2013 12:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sweech (Post 57992815)
I figured with better hockey sense he'd make better passes.

Haha! Fair!

kurpitsa 01-21-2013 07:50 AM

Everytime Postma touches the puck think something bad always happens. He made some serious mistakes against sens.
Really hope that clit and postma are way better today.. we cant afford anymore mistakes at our end

Stej 01-21-2013 09:17 AM

Part of me wishes Kulda was still around this year. He is exactly what we need until Bogosian gets back. Nothing flashy but plays solid and doesn't make serious mistakes.

He brings a stay-at-home, defensive mentality that Clitsome, Postma and Redmond do not bring. Maybe he doesn't top out as high, but who cares at this point? We just need some stabalization until Bogo is back.

gholas 01-21-2013 09:29 AM

What is this thing you speak of, is it of other tongues of far off lands; maybe the lands of Hainsys?

pcanuck 01-21-2013 10:21 AM

I guess I will disagree with a majority but then again I am used to minority dissent.

I find it unusual so much offence comes from our defence. It drives me crazy that somehow Byfuglien's offensive game is more important than that of our 3-4 liners. I prefer stay at home defencemen that punish forwards for playing a finesse game. We don't have those players on this club other than maybe Bogo. I also believe it's the same problem the Oilers have faced over the last 2-3 years.

Based on my VERY AMATEUR experiences as a 3-4th line player, I always found it straining to back check. It took away from my physical play and the forecheck. I couldn't hit as often or nearly as hard to punish defencemen. It's for this reason I worry. I think it will be tough for our forwards to keep that intensity for an entire game if they are always worried about their defensive responsibilities. I don't feel it's their primary job. We need scoring and consistency. I prefer to let defencemen concentrate on defence.

I simply don't believe this is a good way to construct a hockey team (especially as we are rebuilding).

Huffer 01-21-2013 10:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stej (Post 58006377)
Part of me wishes Kulda was still around this year. He is exactly what we need until Bogosian gets back. Nothing flashy but plays solid and doesn't make serious mistakes.

He brings a stay-at-home, defensive mentality that Clitsome, Postma and Redmond do not bring. Maybe he doesn't top out as high, but who cares at this point? We just need some stabalization until Bogo is back.

Me too. I wanted Kulda on our roster last year. I think we need a guy like him twice as bad as last year now for basically all the reasons you mentioned.


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