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02-10-2012, 09:50 PM
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If I have to choose, it's MAB. I've watched him pretty closely and honestly, I think he's one of the best looking rookie D men I've seen on the Flyers in some time. It seems like most people here tend to focus on his mistakes and yes, he does make some, but rookies will do that. Rookie mistakes notwithstanding, I've been very impressed by the many NHL veteran level plays he's makes. He has shown the ability to stand up attacking forwards as they come across the blueline and negate their sorties with a deft stick and/or by bodying up and sealing guys off the puck. In fact, I've seen him do this to top NHL forwards, like Eric Staal, Daniel Alfredsson and others. That kind of thing scores big points in my book. I've also seen him make some pretty heady plays in the defensive zone to clear the puck out under pressure, either by making a quick flip off the boards, hitting a forward for an outlet or by skating it out. I've also seen him D up on guys in front, battling to keep them from getting their sticks on pucks. I also would point to MAB's strong physical game. He's a strong hitter, has shown he can clear crease and doesn't hesitate to stick up for his teammates.

Offensively, I think Bourdon has shown flashes of ability that indicates he has untapped potential to produce. He can move the puck, pass it, has a good shot when he uses it and seems to have a fairly good offensive instincts. Regarding his skating, I don't think it is nearly as poor as some people here think. He may not be a speedy guy but he skates well enough to play the position.

I've been very pleased with MAB thus far and feel that as he gets more experience and further develops his skillset at this level, he has strong potential to become a top four D man in the NHL. At 23, with a mere 35 games under his belt I think he's emerging as an important asset to the Flyers. I hope the team keeps his development on track so he's ready to jump into a top four role if needed once there are certain vacancies there.

I'm not as sold on Gustafsson at this time, but I like his poise. He seems to have a decent overall game but doesn't yet strike me as having the potnetial to be as much of an impact player as MAB. Having said that I need to see more of him before I feel comfortable making any conclusions about his longer term viability at the NHL level.

Regardless, I'm glad we have both of these guys on the fold...for now.

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