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Old
02-05-2012, 09:35 PM
  #1
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Erik Johnson

Just wondering, how is he doing so far with you guys? I was quite of fan of him in his rookie year (got his autograph ). For a first overall pick I assume he is performing well, but would like to hear what Avs fans would say about him.

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02-05-2012, 09:37 PM
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02-05-2012, 09:38 PM
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Blew a huge one during the first 20 games or so (was -17 at one point I believe). Last couple months he's been awesome. Definitely playing like a #1.

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02-05-2012, 09:55 PM
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I wouldn't say he was blowing it early this season, but he wasn't quite dominating offensively, and was a little shaky at time defensively trying to play the clear number 1 D role up against opposing top lines.

He's since taken a step back in trying to be the vocal team leader guy, and possible captain. The coaches have also scaled back his role on the D and isn't facing team's top lines much anymore. He's slowly developed his game back up, and has played very well the last couple games. Close to the level that we would hope to see every night ideally.

IMO though he needs the right partner to really succeed. He needs another guy in a similar mold to him. I don't think a purely defensive specialist to sit back will do it, because then he tends to try and do too much offensively on his own. The absolute best choice obviously would be Suter, but that may not work out.

When he over thinks the game, he gets in trouble. When he tries to carry the puck up ice, and doesn't see a clear option, sometimes he forces things too much by trying to make an extra move that isn't there, or a pass that isn't there. He also comes very close to making bad turnovers on cross ice passes to his D partner or a forward rushing up ice, especially on the backhand, and has coughed it up a couple of times because of this.

He needs to keep things simple, play to his strengths, and have a partner that will help with the burden of carrying the puck up ice, or making the outlet passes, but is also capable in his own end. Then his game wills tart to shine, and the Avs will have a legitimate top defenseive pairing they can match against anyone.

This will also add greatly to the team's offensive game as well, since most teams match their top forward lines against other top forward lines these days. Having Hejda and O'Byrne out there with the Avs number one line doesn't leave them with great options to pass back to the point.

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02-05-2012, 10:16 PM
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Was injured in the beginning of the season. Recouped and is now one of the best defenders I've ever seen in Burgundy and Blue.

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02-05-2012, 10:40 PM
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He's the Colorado Avalanche's best defenseman, and has shown flashes of being great at times. But I wouldn't call him a top-20 defenseman.

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02-05-2012, 10:44 PM
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still our best d-man since we had blake

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Old
02-05-2012, 11:10 PM
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I've been really happy with him lately, but he still has the odd bone-headed moves and I wish he'd contribute more in the offensive zone.

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02-05-2012, 11:15 PM
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Wish his offensive numbers were higher but he's otherwise been pretty solid since coming back from injury

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02-05-2012, 11:24 PM
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This offseason he needs to hire Ray Bourque as a shooting coach... that's for sure.

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02-05-2012, 11:28 PM
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People here are going to describe him as a beast, like he is Lidstrom or something. However, it's not true. The truth is that he has really played well defensively, A LOT better than he did earlier, but his offensive game is crap. He can't get a shot through from the point to save his life. Shins, Legs, and ankles...he hits them all consistently. He also likes to take it upon himself to enter the zone all by himself, which he does pretty smoothly, but he finishes it up with a wrist shot that has almost no chance of scoring. Every time he has done it, the opposing goalie calmly grabs it like it was nothing. He's a good passer, and plays well defensively, but is not the total package some make him out to be.

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02-05-2012, 11:51 PM
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hes been the best weve had since blake, AIAEC.

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02-06-2012, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AvsWraith View Post
People here are going to describe him as a beast, like he is Lidstrom or something. However, it's not true. The truth is that he has really played well defensively, A LOT better than he did earlier, but his offensive game is crap. He can't get a shot through from the point to save his life. Shins, Legs, and ankles...he hits them all consistently. He also likes to take it upon himself to enter the zone all by himself, which he does pretty smoothly, but he finishes it up with a wrist shot that has almost no chance of scoring. Every time he has done it, the opposing goalie calmly grabs it like it was nothing. He's a good passer, and plays well defensively, but is not the total package some make him out to be.
He needs to improve on some areas but his offense is far from being crap.

He can enter the offensive zone so smoothly because he's a very good skater and he can handle the puck better than half of the forwards on the team. That requires skill. A player with crap offense wouldn't be able to do that.

He definitely needs to work on getting his shot through. That's pretty much the only part of his offense I have a problem with.

If he was the only one who skates into the offensive zone and puts a weak wrist shot on net, then I would criticize him for it. But it seems like that's what the coaches want. Almost every player on the team shoots the puck on net right after crossing the blueline. It annoys me too but you can't hold that against EJ.

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02-06-2012, 12:52 AM
  #14
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Originally Posted by Avs_19 View Post
He needs to improve on some areas but his offense is far from being crap.

He can enter the offensive zone so smoothly because he's a very good skater and he can handle the puck better than half of the forwards on the team. That requires skill. A player with crap offense wouldn't be able to do that.

He definitely needs to work on getting his shot through. That's pretty much the only part of his offense I have a problem with.

If he was the only one who skates into the offensive zone and puts a weak wrist shot on net, then I would criticize him for it. But it seems like that's what the coaches want. Almost every player on the team shoots the puck on net right after crossing the blueline. It annoys me too but you can't hold that against EJ.
Crap was probably too harsh a term, and I take it back. He is the best defensemen on the team by far. However, it bothers me when people say he's a beast when he is clearly deficient in the offensive area of his game.

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02-06-2012, 01:13 AM
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Been happy with him so far, but he needs to shoot more.

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02-06-2012, 06:45 AM
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AvsWraith View Post
Crap was probably too harsh a term, and I take it back. He is the best defensemen on the team by far. However, it bothers me when people say he's a beast when he is clearly deficient in the offensive area of his game.
To be honest, I am not willing to judge him offensively based on a season where O'Reilly is our points leader. Not a knock on Radar of course, but he will never be leading a contender in points and shouldn't be leading a playoff team in points either (unless it is during the playoffs... I could see him owning the playoffs with Lando one day).

EJ had a pretty successful 20 games when he came to the Avs offensively, so under a new coach with a fresh start next year is when I'll begin to evaluate him offensively. Suffice to say he has been underwhelming though.

Defensively? There's no one close on this team besides maybe O'Byrne who is just a rock back there (when he doesn't lose his stick). I really hope we make room to keep both OB's down the line and move Hejda.

EJ played great with a non-concussed Wilson earlier this year, he needs a partner he has some chemistry with since no one is at his skill level (bar Quincey who is simply too inconsistent to be more than a 2nd pairing guy).

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02-06-2012, 09:34 AM
  #17
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Originally Posted by forsbergavs32 View Post
Been happy with him so far, but he needs to shoot more.
Correction, he needs to shoot better. Not into everything that's in front of the shot.

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02-06-2012, 10:31 AM
  #18
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I think what Freudian wrote in the Wild gameday thread sums up some of EJ's struggles really well:

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It's not surprising that EJ is struggling to score. He barely takes any slap shots and our passing from the corner to the point is so predictable these days there is no shooting lane for him most of the time. So he has to settle the puck down, move it to the side and throw a weak wrister towards the net. Not the stuff dreams are made of.

Predictable is how I would describe our offense these days. Every single team collapse with five men low when we cycle the puck and take away the middle of the ice. We have very little traffic through the slot and when we do, there are so many bodies and sticks there it's very hard to create any offense. So we have basically one option, that is throwing the puck low-high along the boards and the opposing winger can easily take away the shot.

Compare to the good cycling teams (Sharks, Detroit, Canucks). Not only do they have a lot of traffic in the slot both when they have the puck low and high. That way they get deflections, rebounds and don't allow the goalie to see the puck all the way. They also have a much more refined passing game where they have east-west passing options that will help break down the defensive shape of the other team. Avs don't really have much of any of that.

Size among our forwards might be an issue but it is also a mentality issue. Landeskog and O'Reilly doing well isn't surprising considering they understand how to break the cycle and try to go to the net. Most of our wingers are all too happy digging along the boards and throwing the puck towards the point and think their job is done. I don't buy it being only a coaching issue. I think we're getting what we are paying for. The reason they are cheap is because they are alibi players. Choosing the easy comfortable play so it looks like they are playing hockey, without really paying the price to play hockey.
He definitely has some work to do offensively, but as he is right now, he should still be good for between 5-10 goals. This season is sort of black hole for all the Avs offensive players.

As for his skating into the offensive zone, it is frustrating what he does once he gets in there. He should either loop around the zone and set it up (he's done it once or twice this year), or just try and drive the puck right to the net.

One other thing to note is how much more physical he has been. The last few games he has lead all defencemen in hits, and is on pace for the most of his career. He's had a few highlight worthy ones this season too.

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02-06-2012, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avs71 View Post
I think what Freudian wrote in the Wild gameday thread sums up some of EJ's struggles really well:



He definitely has some work to do offensively, but as he is right now, he should still be good for between 5-10 goals. This season is sort of black hole for all the Avs offensive players.

As for his skating into the offensive zone, it is frustrating what he does once he gets in there. He should either loop around the zone and set it up (he's done it once or twice this year), or just try and drive the puck right to the net.

One other thing to note is how much more physical he has been. The last few games he has lead all defencemen in hits, and is on pace for the most of his career. He's had a few highlight worthy ones this season too.
Good post, Freudian summed it up perfectly there.

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02-06-2012, 11:18 AM
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As for his skating into the offensive zone, it is frustrating what he does once he gets in there. He should either loop around the zone and set it up (he's done it once or twice this year), or just try and drive the puck right to the net.
He takes it behind the net almost every game... but no one drives the crease or is able to find the rebound.

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02-06-2012, 12:01 PM
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He takes it behind the net almost every game... but no one drives the crease or is able to find the rebound.
Yeah, but not consistently. I recall once or twice when he skated it in, all the way down the right boards, came back up the left boards, and then stopped in the center of the blue line and fired a shot. I wish he would do this more. Even on the rushes when someone is there, and he makes a nice pass, they seem to never score. At least this way there is a rebound.

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02-06-2012, 03:23 PM
  #22
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Originally Posted by Avs71 View Post
I think what Freudian wrote in the Wild gameday thread sums up some of EJ's struggles really well:



He definitely has some work to do offensively, but as he is right now, he should still be good for between 5-10 goals. This season is sort of black hole for all the Avs offensive players.

As for his skating into the offensive zone, it is frustrating what he does once he gets in there. He should either loop around the zone and set it up (he's done it once or twice this year), or just try and drive the puck right to the net.

One other thing to note is how much more physical he has been. The last few games he has lead all defencemen in hits, and is on pace for the most of his career. He's had a few highlight worthy ones this season too.
I think EJ has two problems that are keeping his slap shot and offensive play from being more successful.

The cycle game is definitely a factor as noted, as well as the lack of players with the vision and talent to send the puck back to the point other than Stastny. Actually in that regard, it should be noted Landeskog did this a lot in his first few games, and then doesn't seem to do it anymore, so this could very well be another issue with Sacco's "system."

EJ's main issue though, which I view as more the reason, is a problem that persists throughout his game. He just hesitates too much some times, and tries to over think things. By the time he figures out what he's gonna do it's too late. It happens when he skates the puck up the ice in transition too. He doesn't see a clear passing option, and then just stops skating in the middle of the ice and starts thinking what to do. Then he's forced into a situation where he either dumps the puck in for an easy retrieval from the other team, or he tries to stick handle his way through three or four players. He doesn't have a naturally high hockey IQ in these situations and it holds him back.

Same with his slap shot. He doesn't quite know what to do sometimes, so he hesitates that split second and by the time he lets the shot go it's too late and it gets blocked or deflected. He needs to know what he's gonna do with the puck at the point before he gets it. There's just too little time for defenseman at the point these days, especially with the Avs system where the opposition forwards aren't concerned enough with the forwards down low, or in the slot, so they are up high close to the D.

His other issue is he doesn't move that well side to side with the puck to open up lanes. He lets too many of his shots go from a fairly stationary position. This could have something to do with his hesitation as well, but he just doesn't do a very good job of opening up shooting lanes for himself.

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02-06-2012, 04:01 PM
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I like that he is taking care of defense first. The offense will come once the team is playing better, he gets first PP time and he is confident in his/his partners defensive ability. His game the last two months has been very encouraging. He's been by far our best defender.

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02-06-2012, 04:34 PM
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A bunch of people at school say they hate EJ and he's terrible. Then come back by saying Elliott and Quincey are our best defensemen and its not close.

People are stupid.

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02-06-2012, 11:10 PM
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Easily our best player on the ice most nights; when he isn't there we are absolutely pathetic. His offense will come when we decide to get decent forwards.

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