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08-30-2009, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Hendersonville, TN
I honestly think our overall defensive play will be improved this season. Last year we had 7 d-men play regularly not counting the 2 games Sulzer played before getting injured. With the losses of Zanon, Koistinen, and De Vries (whom I pray will not be brought back for cheap) we've got three spots to fill...
Sulzer I think is a shoe-in considering he was looking to get some time at the end of last year. With two good years in the AHL both offensively and defensively I think it's about time for him to be given a spot on the team.
Franson I think has to be considered in the lead to round out the starting 6. He made the AHL all star team last year and was one of the best offensive d-men in the league. Oh and he's 6'5 and 220 lbs. As for his defense, it could definitely be improved but his +/- numbers haven't been all that bad and I think his potential contribution to the PP and passing skills could offset this. ( Let's not forget Suter was a -16 last year but because of his assist totals and point production we all seem to overlook this number)
The 7th d-man or insurance defenseman if u will has to be between Blum and Laakso with a slight edge to Laakso only for the reason that Blum could use the time down in Milwaukee. I think Laakso could provide the preds with a steady defensive defenseman if anyone were to go down which let's face it, will happen. Blum getting the call if and only if he starts off the year with a bang in Milwaukee, which I doubt.
Klein will be counted on much more heavily this year as he only played about 13 mins. a game last year and was to all my accounts a very solid player who could use more mins. I'm looking forward to see what he can bring to the table this year.
Overall, they may be a young group with some question marks but I can definitely see the potential. We'll have more offensive help from the backend with speed and passing than last year which should translate to more scoring chances and if we're lucky, more goals. The only possible negative this year will be who other than Hamhuis and Weber is going to step up and be a defensive stopper and fill the role vacated by Zanon? (I hate that he had to go) I'm afraid that if this doesn't happen, we won't be able to rely on Pekka to win games for us like he did last year as we will probably play a little bit more of an offensive style game this year as opposed to last year. We lost too many games last year due to lack of scoring...
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