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04-15-2010, 01:00 AM
  #48
Blueline Bomber
1st Overall Pick
 
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I think the stickwork is where the main difference between the two sides comes from. Everyone agrees he's slow, everyone agrees he's got a hell of a shot, but it's the defensive aspect that the main disagreement comes from.

No one's claiming he's great defensively. I think on the best of nights, the most you could call him is average defensively. And if he isn't partnered with someone who can cover his weakness (like when he was partnered with Melichar last year), then he'll likely be on the wrong end of the red light special more often than not. The same could be said of many defensemen, however; Joni being one of them.

And while +/- isn't the end all, be all stat to determine defensive ability, it's also not one you can throw out completely, especially when there are outliers. Last season, Brindamour's +/- was a huge outlier, not because of bad luck, but because for a good portion of the season, he was terrible defensively. In that same vein, Babchuk and Pitkanen as a defensive pairing had a much higher +/- than the rest of our defensive core. Even if it's just a fluke chemistry thing, there's no denying that both players looked worlds better when paired with each other than they had with their other defensive partners.

I think it'd be remiss to trade Babchuk without first seeing what he brings to camp. If he clearly isn't up to standards or there's clearly some rift between him and the other players, trade him. If everything seems hunky-dory, then the big decision has to be made. Special teams are a huge part of a contending team, and a deadly PP could easily put this team back in playoff contention.

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