dion phaneuf: 20 years old
joni pitkanen: 22 years old
if phaneuf can do what he's done already with 2 years less development than pitkanen, then i'm confident he'll be the all-around better player at 22 and beyond. right now, though, i think they're neck and neck.
Sure the potential is there for him to be better at 22 but there's a lot of cases where players show a lot of promise in their first season yet they don't improve as much as people think.
Unfortunately I do not get to see a lot of Phaneuf being in the East, but lately, since Calgary in on an Eastern Road trip I have seen him a couple of times recently.
I have not seen a more poised young defensmen than Pitkanen.
Pheneuf looks great, but Pitkanen has had the benefit of two more years in the NHL now, and I think Pitkanen is a head of Pheneuf right now.
I think Pheneuf will end up the much better Dman because of the added physical element. When you have a Dman that people are afraid to skate near, you have something so special that you can not replace with any amount of points.
So If you asked me who I would rather have Scott Stevens or Nik Lidstrom.....I'd take Stevens
I think he forgot too...he's not in the discussion with those two.
I'd take Phaneuf because of his toughness and defensive game. Pitkanen is better offensively but that's what forwards are for. Phaneuf has enough offensive game to be dangerous in addition to being good in his own zone.
the other issue there being that Pitkanen was making the transition from Euro to NA hockey... Phaneuf didn't have to worry about that.
Yeah, this is something that a few NA posters seem to forget all the time. Perhaps they should try to start a new life in a different culture, maybe only with rudimentary language skills. Should be an eye-opener...
id go with pitkanen because before he got injured it seemed like everytime he pinched in he scored. he has a great wristshot, slapshot, he has size, he has speed, hes good on both ends. hes the whole package really. still leads phill in +/- im pretty sure even though hes been injured. and he also seemed to help his linemate (rathje) play better.