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06-03-2013, 09:32 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Originally Posted by
First of all, I never said that any of Dion's defensive partnerships over the past few years were legitimate top-pairing material, nor did I make such clainm of Dion himself.
Yes, he's had some pretty poor partnerships during his time with the Leafs, but that doesn't excuse the fact he hasn't been able to develop any significant amount of chemistry with any of his previus partners, especially when most (or all) of the players you've mentioned have found the necessary chemistry to form a solid partnership with someone else (either while still being a Leaf or elsewhere).
Take Mike Komisarek, for example. Since becomng a Leaf, no-one would even think (after watching his brutal ploay) that he was once capable of being paired with a legitimate top-pairing defenceman (which, as we all know, happened in Montreal when he was paired with Andrei Markov). Yet, in Toronto, Komisarek was absolutely dreadful when he was paired with Phaneuf (and pretty much anyone else). Why? Komisarek's skill level hadn't changed; the only possible reason was a distinct lack of chemistry.
My point is, Dion just hasn't really found the chemistry that's needed to form a strong partnership regardless of who he's been paired with since he became a Leaf.
Sure, he's had some small measure of success with Gunnarsson this season.. I'm not denying that. But, if you look closely enough, you can tell that the connection between Phaneuf and Gunnarsson isn't as strong as it appears.
Also, look at a couple of the other defensive pairings the Leafs have recently put together that have shown strong chemistry:
- Gardiner and Franson (this past play-off run)
- Franson and Frasor (this past regular season)
.. and I know there have been other solid pairings in the recent past as well. The reason why Franson was a part of two solid pairings was because he was able to quickly develop a strong chemistry between himself and his two defensive partners. The same just cannot be said of Phaneuf
Bottom line: Dion's had ample opportunities to develop a strong connection and, to date, has utterly failed to do so since becoming a Leaf. This CANNOT continue if the Leafs expect to improve as a team going forward. Since searching for a complementary partner for Dion has failed miserably, the only course of action that remains for the Leafs is to trade Dion.
Your points are good, but you leave out one very important point: Dion has not had a #1 goalie behind him. When Reimer played well this season (most of it he did, until the playoffs, when he - let's leave that alone) Dion looked really good, and played like a Norris candidate. Confidence in the goalie is very important too.
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