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04-30-2011, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Talks to Goalposts View Post
The thing with defense is that its usually pretty easy to get servicible veteran defender at reasonable cost. This is one of the best places to get your money's worth for reasonable cost on the UFA market. If you have the money you can even go upscale like Pittsburg and Vancouver did last summer and accomulate top-4 veteran defensemen for your cup run. A team can do reasonably well by cycling free agent defensemen so long as they have a a couple good homegrown blueliners to hold it together. Finding veteran impact forwards is much harder and usually more expensive.
One key about defense, I think, is that you need what I like to call "That #1 Guy"... that all-situations #1 man who handles your toughest minutes and can do so while carrying a less gifted partner. This is the kind of guy a team will rip their roster up and/or sign big long-term contracts to get. And if you don't have him then you need two quality D-men to form your first pair, and that can be tricky to do. I think #1 D-men are the most impactful players in the game.

Montreal potential has two That Guys in Markov and Subban, who demonstrated their ability to carry less gifted partners and form effective top pairings. If the Habs can manage to have those two pivoting their top two pairings (with the occasionnal "shock treatment" of using both together at the end of close games), the scaffolding around them doesn't need to be first rate. And yet they have the underrated-here Spacek and the underrated-everywhere-else Gorges to create the foundations of that defensive scaffolding.

Montreal is going to be hard-pressed NOT to ice one of the deepest and best defenses in the conference.

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