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02-21-2013, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Thomas Drance over at Canucks Army has put up a very good article about the shuffling of the defense pairs and it seems that Garrison is not really getting demoted as the media likes to point out.
Clearly, when compared to his fellow blue-liners it shows that Garrison's possession numbers has been middle of the road in terms of Fenwick and this is expected given his arrival to a completely new team and system. It is more likely that he gets better from here on out.
Since all the pairings are given balanced minutes, there's no clear-cut top 4 but from an advanced stats point of view, clearly Bieksa has been the worst defenseman on the team and Hamhuis has not been much better. It seems most likely that the switch back to HamJuice is an attempt to fix them, especially Bieksa and not really anything to do with Edler and Garrison. In my opinion, this might just be the biggest and most pressing issue on the team right now. Hamhuis and Bieksa have to get back to being the players they were last year and the year before if this balanced ice-time approach is to work else they might just end up being the 3rd pairing.
Edler has also not been as bad as many think on the right-side. The numbers that Drance uses show that in terms of possession, Edler on his off-side has been playing better than Hamhuis and Bieksa on their strong-sides. While he plays his best on the left, he is the most capable of making the transition over which again accentuates the fact that he is our most talented all-around d-man. Moving Tanev up might just be what AV is saying, just a look at something they want to test out. A pairing of Edler and Tanev might be the most dominant in terms of possession and I think the coaches acknowledge that and want to see where that leads but the downside might be Ballard taking a nose-dive without Tanev. This is where Garrison comes in, the numbers show he is fine defensively and the coaches might be hoping that Garrison can replicate Tanev's effect on Ballard without Ballard's play dipping too much, allowing a pairing of Edler-Tanev to happen.
I think all of the drama pertaining to the defense shows that a lot of people really just see what they want to see. Garrison has been steady, not great offensively but at least stable in his own end while Bieksa has been just awful. Those with a good eye for watching the games have probably already come to this conclusion and the stats just support that.
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