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01-23-2013, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by baartman View Post
I think the common thought of a PMD paired with a shutdown D is the way to go. It's not, IMO. pairings are developed with chemistry. With these thoughts an explosive D > solid shutdown D. The explosiveness draws attention, which is a system that relies on constant attack. A shutdown D has no place in this type of system.

Edler > Garrison
Gardiner > Schenn/Gunnarson etc
That's way to simple a way to look at it.

The Canucks most valuable dman is not Edler, it's Hamhuis. He is not an explosive dman, he's a shutdown dman. He plays with Bieksa, who puts up more points, and gets more icetime in offensive situation, and overall is a better offensive dman.

Hamhuis is a pure shutdown dman for the Canucks, and is the most valuable dman on the team. And this in a system that is known as an offensive one, with quick puck movement and skating from the back-end (something that both the GM and coach have talked about being important parts of their system).

For the Canucks, pairing a PMD with a shutdown dman has been the way to go. This is when they've had their most success overall as a pairing and shown the most chemistry in the past. We can go back to the Ohlund/Mitchell days and how they were paired with PMDs to see this. We clearly see this now with Hamhuis as well.

The problem usually isn't having a PMD with a shutdown guy, but having 2 guys that have developed chemistry and balance with each other. It isn't just about putting a PMD with a shutdown dman, it's about having a PMD who's skills mesh well with a shutdown dman, who's reads cover well for that PMD. Hamhuis provides this for Bieksa. We're hoping that Garrison can provide this for Edler.

This is why Gardiner won't fit in the Canucks top-4. He isn't going to displace Hamhuis obviously next to Bieksa, and he doesn't provide the defensive presence to cover for Edler, who is very much an offensive dman, and does have defensive warts that need to be covered for.

Gardiner would most definitely displace Ballard on the 3rd pairing, and would be better than Tanev, making him the team's 3rd pairing left side dman (should he be acquired). I just don't think at this stage in Gardiner's development, he's worth the cost to acquire him for this team. He's an upgrade over Ballard, but right now it's debatable how much of an upgrade he is. Obviously he has time on his side and will be a much better player when he hits his prime, but the Canucks aren't a team that can wait for him to hit his prime to get that impact from him. They are very much in win-now mode, and any team in win-now mode goes with the type of assets that fit their roster needs and roles right now - and Garrison does that. This team needed a tough, physical defensive presence in their top-4, given that Edler and Bieksa are often adventures in their own zone. They have that now in Garrison, and according to ALL Panthers fans he's been nothing short of stellar defensively since he stepped into the league. It was just his offensive game that came through last year - something we don't really need from him. Defensively he's been advertised as a tough, physical defensive rock since he came into the league.

2 games in, it's impossible to say what he's been in Vancouver, but so far there's no reason to think he's not what he was advertised to be.

And +/- is a terrible way to compare the defensive play of any dmen on different teams. Just looking +/- leaders in the league will tell you that. Last year we had guys like Boychuk, Kuba, Salvador, or Ericsson sitting well above noted shutdown dmen like Weber, Giradi, or Polak, you know that it won't tell you everything about their defensive games. Hell even players on the same team it won't always show well (given that players play against different competition on the same team). For example, last year's Norris winner, Karlsson, is known to have defensive warts, as strong as he is offensively. Is he better in his own zone than Chris Phillips? If you look just at +/- it would appear that way.

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