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05-23-2011, 02:05 PM
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Top pairing: *

•I think the Swamp Devils have one of the best shutdown pairs in the draft, but I agree with overpass that his pair is a bit better.

However, I think it's just because Gerard is a better version of Coulter. I don't think Pronger is an improvement over Quackenbush at even strength. Pronger's advantages are his proven ability to QB the PP and using his size and strength in front of the net on the PK. I think it's telling that when Pronger and Niedermayer played together, Niedermayer was the top guy at even strength, but Pronger was the top guy on both special teams.

•Pronger vs M Richard is an interesting matchup because both men have the same weakness - a bad temper. If M Richard takes a dumb penalty, I lose my top player. If Pronger does something stupid, they lose their top penalty killer.

Depth defensemen:

•Tough to compare because of some of the mystery surrounding Bullet Joe Simpson. It's very clear that Bullet Joe and Babe Pratt anchor each team's depth defensemen. I'm not sure who is better. Anecdotes suggest Simpson is even better that Pratt at rushing the puck. But Pratt's physical play is much more talked about.

Bilyaletdinov and Bergman seem similar - neither was ever that close to a superstar, but both were very good defensemen for a long time. Both had their career highlights in international play - Bilya in the 81 and 84 Canada Cups, Bergman in the 72 Summit Series. Both compliment the dominant defenseman of each pair well.

I'd say that Ottawa's pair provides more offense, and NJ's provides more physical play. I'm not sure I either pair is better at positional defense, so I think the physical play of NJ's pair will make them more effective in their own zone. Seem pretty even to me overall.

•I like the Dan Boyle x factor as a guy who can play on the NJ bottom pair and move up to the second pair in offensive situations. I think having him in the lineup overcomes any offensive edge that Simpson has over Pratt.

•Ottawa's bottom pair is solid defensively and provides the size and physicality your second pair otherwise lacks.

Overall, I think NJ has a small advantage in depth defensemen because Pratt/Boyle will provide more puck movement than Simpson alone.

I realize that moving the puck isn't the purpose of Ottawa's bottom pair, but I think the small defensive edge NJ's middle pair probably has is just as important as the larger defensive edge Ottawa had on bottom pairs, considering how Manu minutes bottom pairs usually play.

Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 05-23-2011 at 02:10 PM.
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