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01-02-2013, 01:18 PM
Rally Donkey
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Location: Chatham, Ont
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Originally Posted by Whalers Fan View Post
Levi has not been very impressive since being sent back down, so he should be the odd man out. I cannot see them dumping MacDonald, as he is the captain, and Aleardi offers some spark on offense, which the team needs more than another underachieving defenseman.

Heard is a very good faceoff man and offensive presence, so his return will be welcome.

Any teams out there have room for an overage defenseman?
I'll diagree on this one. Levi's never been the go-to for offense, and that hasn't changed in five years. He's been groomed for the shut down role, and I think he has been very successful and impressive in that position. The biggest difference I've noticed this year in his play is that he's actively looking for offensive opportunities and joining or creating rushes to a greater extent than in previous years. Plus/Minus stats can be a little misleading. Unless you've watched all or most of the games, you might not realize which players have higher plus ratings because they're usually on the ice when MV's tyring to put up points versus keeping pucks out of the Whalers' net. Levi plays when MV needs to shut down the other team, and of all the games I've seen this year and last, very few (almost none) of goals are scored on Plymouth because of mistakes or misreads by Levi. In the few cases where he is on the ice for a goal against, somone else has missed an assignment and Levi hasn't been in a position to cover the lapse. When there's no one else to rely on (such as odd-man rushes or one-on-ones, I can't remember the last time I saw him flub.

I agree that MacDonald has come along very well and is a great captain for this team, so I don't see MV making moves with either one of them. As exciting as Aleardi can be - and he sure does get us on our feet from time-to-time, I think he may a more likely piece to move. First, he's very valuable to other teams for the same reasons you cited. Second, Plymouth needs some roles players who are specialists at distributing the puck. Aleardi's a finisher, and he'd be good bait for a team that has a couple of strong, young playmakers in exchange. I dont' think its an underachieving defense that Plymouth needs to shore up. Instead, I think (as I said early in the season) that our offense needs to play better as a team. Someone (can't remember who) replied that I must be nuts considering all the firepower Plymouth has (Noesen, Rakell, Wilson, Aleardi, etc) and I agree that the Whales have an embarassment of riches (which is why there was so much hype and expectation early on), but how many close games have they lost? The difference, imho, is team work, puck distribution, and play-making. I think it's starting to get a little better recently, but more consistent goaltending and one or two unselfish playmakers could send this team deep into the playoffs. Meanwhile, we have a couple of very attractive pieces that another team should be happy to have. It'll be intersting as always to see what Vellucci does. The only bet I'm willing to take is that he won't stand pat like he did last year at the trade deadline.

Happy New Year

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