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06-25-2014, 09:25 AM
Off Sides
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Originally Posted by Tawnos View Post
The problem is in the way their partners tend to play the game combined with their own strengths. McDonagh and Staal are very similar players, stylistically, in the defensive zone and defending the rush. A lot of pucks get freed up by both of them. Stralman is better at the breakout than Girardi is. It's why Stralman's advanced stats help every pair he's on compared to Girardi's. It's not because he's a better defensive player, but because his skills are a better compliment to the other defensemen he plays with.

Look at it from the other direction too. Girardi plays a very similar game to Staal, like McDonagh does. One of the biggest reasons we saw McDonagh take a step forward offensively this year is because he started taking better advantage of the pucks Girardi frees up (there are other reasons too). In other words, he adjusted his game to be more like Stralman's, but he's even better at it. If McDonagh could adjust just a little further in that direction, then it could really launch him into a Norris contender.
I agree, on a defensive pair one player always tries to defer the breakout to the player who is better at breaking out. In the same token in a pair, usually one player is a better defender with a play coming at them, so as a team, forwards back checking included, they often try to funnel the on coming play towards that side.

Stralman is good at making smart quick puck choices in his own zone, he also does quite well with the neutral zone play, but once the puck over the blue line, I think the Ranger prefer the puck to be on Staal side of the ice. If Staal takes the puck, which he is efficient at doing, he knows his best play is to give it to Stralman for the breakout rather than trying to do something with it himself. That would probably go for for anyone else playing with Stralman as well besides McD.

Not to different than the Girardi McD pair.

If Stralman does leave and they put Klein next to Staal, I'm not as confident that the plays do not spend more time in the Rangers zone as I don't see either of those players being all that skilled at breaking the puck out, although Klein surprised me a bit in the playoff doing just that. Perhaps they will have to incorporate some sort of plan where a forward comes back to take on that responsibility but everything is give and take, that forward then will be behind the play and his line mates will be waiting rather than them rushing up ice together, leaves one less passing option rushing up ice 2-3 instead of 3-2.

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