Everything I've read about Erixon makes it seem that way, but everything I've seen from him so far makes me think that would be a long ways off at this point. At least a couple of years. A lot of things could change at that point. MDZ is constantly improving but I really don't know if I've seen anything from him that would make me think he's going to be as good defensively as Sauer at any point. I think what we need to be doing with MDZ is making sure that he's sound in his own end for the most part, but really start extracting that high end offensive potential that he has. Ideally in the future we would have a third pair that gets more than 10 minutes a night and three pairs that we feel comfortable with against any line really. Maybe you're right about Erixon or MDZ but IMO it would take a pretty damn good effort from both of them.
It's tough to adjust to different ice sizes. Tim outplayed Larsson and Rundblad at the WC this season. He's not flashy, but he's extremely talented and gets the job done on both sides of the ice.
And call me crazy, but with Del Zotto, it's not a matter of if he'll surpass Sauer, it's a matter of when. I would argue he's been better then Sauer this season.
Regardless, only one of those guys, or even McIlrath someday needs to pass Sauer and he's our #5/6.
It's going to be incredible watching this defense in a few years. We will be capable of playing all 3 pairs 20 minutes against deep offensive teams like Boston, meaning our top pairs are rested for frontloaded teams like Philly and Pittsburgh.