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Is the D underrated?

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08-09-2012, 02:33 AM
  #1
centcougar07
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Is the D underrated?

I've been reading through some threads here and also in the main board... It seems people think that the Wild need to get better defensively to be a contender in the playoffs. I have to say I disagree and here's why.

This team was 13th in total team defense last year (goals against with 2.6). For some perspective, we were just .1 goal behind the 8th best defensive team in New Jersey which averaged 2.5 goals against and .2 behind 7th place Detroit. So that's how close we were to being top 10 in defense. So how in the world do people think that our defense is so bad? With all that PLUS the fact that we added Suter, plus a healthy Spurgeon, plus the fact that we'll have Tom Gilbert all year.. I don't see how this team isn't in a strong position to be top 10, maybe even one of the top defensive teams in the league. Thoughts?

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08-09-2012, 02:44 AM
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thestonedkoala
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It's the old adage, if you don't know a player, then they aren't good. Most fans don't know who Scandella or Spurgeron are really, so they think they are mediocre.

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08-09-2012, 02:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centcougar07 View Post
I've been reading through some threads here and also in the main board... It seems people think that the Wild need to get better defensively to be a contender in the playoffs. I have to say I disagree and here's why.

This team was 13th in total team defense last year (goals against with 2.6). For some perspective, we were just .1 goal behind the 8th best defensive team in New Jersey which averaged 2.5 goals against and .2 behind 7th place Detroit. So that's how close we were to being top 10 in defense. So how in the world do people think that our defense is so bad? With all that PLUS the fact that we added Suter, plus a healthy Spurgeon, plus the fact that we'll have Tom Gilbert all year.. I don't see how this team isn't in a strong position to be top 10, maybe even one of the top defensive teams in the league. Thoughts?
*knocks on some wood*

I agree that the defense is underrated by a lot of the people on the main board. I think more than anything it's a lack of knowledge about the Wild that brings them to their conclusions. IMO the Wild have a decent, but not top tier defense.

When Brodin and Dumba come in and establish themselves and become the defensive players that I think they are capable of becoming, then the defense will be an elite unit. This will be in a few seasons of course, but it looks very promising right now.

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08-09-2012, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by the8bandarmadillo View Post
It's the old adage, if you don't know a player, then they aren't good. Most fans don't know who Scandella or Spurgeron are really, so they think they are mediocre.
I'm quoting this as a fan of a division rival. I have no idea who your younger Dmen are and how they are playing, so if I'd have to make an estimate of their skill level, I'd just rather be conservative and assume that they are all #5/#6 defensemen to not myself make look silly. Also thinking about "which core is the strongest", you always go with the core you actually are familiar with; the only time when your players might be valued to their full capabilities, is the TDD when Toronto/Vancouver fans are trying to steal them with away awful proposals in the trade rumours board. That's about it. Bringing in Jonas Brodin, though, might help with the general opinion as he's a highly touted guy.

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08-09-2012, 03:58 AM
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Minnesota has good goaltending which helped the stats last year. Schultz was very good but he doesn't play there anymore. Obviously suter is very good, Gilbert is pretty good in his own end but defensively is a downgrade from Schultz. Spurgeon is a good puck mover but from what I've seen can be a bit of a liability in his own end. The others are unproven, and it's tough when you have unproven D men playing the 3 and 4 spots.

This is why in my non wild fan opinion the assertions that the wild need to improve on defense are warranted.

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08-09-2012, 04:02 AM
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Schultz wasn't very good last season.

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08-09-2012, 08:10 AM
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I love how Schultz was the blueline whipping boy last year, and the moment he was traded, the same people turned on Scandella. I guess you need one every year to cope with losses.

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08-09-2012, 08:26 AM
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Anyways, the blueline will be middle of the pack, and could end up being decent if Spurgoen and Scandella step up in a big way.

In the beginning of last year, Spurgeon, Scandella, Stoner, and Falk were playing pretty well. Prosser too when he played. They were playing better than Zanon and Zidlicky.

Now, we've replaced Zidlicky with Suter and Zanon with Gilbert. Huge upgrades. Losing Schultz hurts, but hopefully the rest of the young guys can step up in a big way.

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08-09-2012, 09:26 AM
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no, the D is not underrated. it sucks. we have great goaltending and it's a testament to how bad our D is that it has looked pedestrian the last few years. edit: sorry to spoil your cheerleading, but you're going to start sounding all crazy bird lady like the Jersey fans who think losing Parise won't affect them if you keep trying to convince everyone our defense is average.

This year it might actually be average though--depends on which of the rotating cast at the bottom can get their act together and Scandella finally earning the love he's been shown around here. Otherwise, Suter and full-year-of-Gilbert will not be enough to do it.

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08-09-2012, 09:49 AM
  #10
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The D isn't under-rated. It's mediocre at best. They've got Suter, Spurgeon, and Gilbert that they can rely on but beyond that it's mixture of players who are either bottom pairing/waiver wire fodder, players who are far too inconsistent to put much stock into, and one highly promising rookie. God help this team if they sustain any sort of significant injury to the previously mentioned three.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillhouse99 View Post
Schultz was very good but he doesn't play there anymore. Gilbert is pretty good in his own end but defensively is a downgrade from Schultz. Spurgeon is a good puck mover but from what I've seen can be a bit of a liability in his own end.
Bahahahahaha

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
I love how Schultz was the blueline whipping boy last year, and the moment he was traded, the same people turned on Scandella. I guess you need one every year to cope with losses.
The way Schultz played for the last two out of three years he deserved every bit of gripe he got. As for turning on Scandella, a serious downturn in play and consistency will do that to any player. He's a young player so it's expected, doesn't mean it should be ignored. Hell, Cullen is on the receiving end around here for the same thing.

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08-09-2012, 10:33 AM
  #11
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Originally Posted by rynryn View Post
no, the D is not underrated. it sucks. we have great goaltending and it's a testament to how bad our D is that it has looked pedestrian the last few years. edit: sorry to spoil your cheerleading, but you're going to start sounding all crazy bird lady like the Jersey fans who think losing Parise won't affect them if you keep trying to convince everyone our defense is average.

This year it might actually be average though--depends on which of the rotating cast at the bottom can get their act together and Scandella finally earning the love he's been shown around here. Otherwise, Suter and full-year-of-Gilbert will not be enough to do it.
LOL. Only in Minnesota Wild land is calling something "average" considered "cheerleading".

Sorry, but it's more ridiculous to yell "we suck" because you want to play it safe and hedge your bets. If we lose, then you can claim you were right. And if we win, then you can say that you were pleasantly surprised.

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08-09-2012, 10:36 AM
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My concern with Spurgeon is the same one I have with Bouchard --I don't care how good he is if he can't stay on the ice. I admire that a kid with that frame has gotten this far in professional hockey; I'm just not confident he can stay there long-term. It seems pretty clear to me it has made him a target as well --the bad guys look at him and think "just one pretty good hit and that kid will be gone" so they try to provide it.

I think you'd like to see at least three experienced NHL veterans on your blue-line, one for each pair. Optimally, you'd like to have four, so your top pair are both experienced. We've got two right now. God help us if Suter or Gilbert miss a couple weeks in a row at some point, let alone anything more serious than that to either of them.

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08-09-2012, 10:41 AM
  #13
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Originally Posted by this providence View Post
The way Schultz played for the last two out of three years he deserved every bit of gripe he got. As for turning on Scandella, a serious downturn in play and consistency will do that to any player. He's a young player so it's expected, doesn't mean it should be ignored. Hell, Cullen is on the receiving end around here for the same thing.
The complaints against Cullen are simple. He plays on an island, and has terrible 5v5 offensive production from December on. Which is fine, but he's supposed to be a 2nd line center, and he's not. Most people are in agreement with that.

The complaints against Schultz were always vague and general, aside from "he's over-paid for producing 20 points" or "he's terrible at break-outs." Then when you go back at watch the tape, for nearly every goal that is scored when he's on the ice, he had cancelled out his man and the break-down was by someone else. And maybe he's not the best puck-mover, but he was much better than Zidlicky, Zanon, Stoner, Scandella, and Prosser in that department.

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08-09-2012, 10:49 AM
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When you look at our blueline, it's clear we are missing one piece, a #2 Dman. Honestly, that's pretty common. Hell, many teams are missing a #1.

#1 - All-around, every situation Dman = Suter
#2 - Minute munching workhorse = Missing
#3 - Jack-of-all trades Dman = Gilbert
#4 - Puck-mover, PP guy = Spurgeon
#5 - All-around Dman who can step-up into a higher role when there are injuries = Scandella
#6 - Physical Defensive Dman = Stoner
#7/#8 - Guys who can sit in the press-box and be slotted in for injuries = Falk/Prosser

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08-09-2012, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
The complaints against Schultz were always vague and general, aside from "he's over-paid for producing 20 points" or "he's terrible at break-outs." Then when you go back at watch the tape, for nearly every goal that is scored when he's on the ice, he had cancelled out his man and the break-down was by someone else. And maybe he's not the best puck-mover, but he was much better than Zidlicky, Zanon, Stoner, Scandella, and Prosser in that department.
They're never vague at all. Especially for people who know what they're watching for in a defenseman. When your biggest weaknesses are gap control, stick work, leverage, and identifying passing lanes; you're not an effective NHL defenseman. Not in this league anymore.

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08-09-2012, 11:19 AM
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They're never vague at all. Especially for people who know what they're watching for in a defenseman. When your biggest weaknesses are gap control, stick work, leverage, and identifying passing lanes; you're not an effective NHL defenseman. Not in this league anymore.
I see what you did there.

I've played defense for a very long time. I know what a Dman is supposed to do. And I also know how other players being out of position or not doing what they are supposed to do or turning over the puck puts a Dman in a very compromising position and subject to a lot of undeserved blame.

About the only semi-legit complaint on Schultz as I saw it was gap control, and many times that was because his partner was out of position or a 3rd man was coming in uncovered, so Schultz would hedge be giving a greater cushion to the puck carrier so he could cover some other space.


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08-09-2012, 11:30 AM
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I think they are, because clearly from that main board, most people think they are a bottom 5-10 defense, and I think as of right now they are probably 15-20.

Outside Suter and Gilbert, the rest of the defensemen were all homegrown, and none of them were big name draftees. Aside from Wild fans, nobody learned about them during the draft, nobody followed their development, nobody watched them come into the league.

Scandella was a whipping boy and people soured on him pretty quick. He's more of a prospect than an NHL player, and people seem to love the flavor of the month (Bussieres?). He shouldn't have been rushed into the NHL so quickly. Honestly I think they should probably start him in Houston and bring him up later in the season, just to make sure he's on the right track.

Falk and Prosser are meh. Falk might be an NHL'er but Prosser, you just can't fall of the map like that at 26 years old. Both are just warm bodies though waiting for Brodin to come of age.

Stoner I think is underrated though. He's a veteran with lots of experience, although at the AHL level, but he's been great with the Wild. He just can't stay healthy at all. But when half your D corps is 23 or younger, you need that experience. Wild could probably use more but they are stuck with Falk and Prosser right now.

Schultz looked like a defenseman who could do one or two things right, so he did them at the expense of everything else. Lemaire wanted him to control the gap and passively pressure the puck carrier in the defensive end, then chip it out. That's all he did. You can't do that and play 25 minutes a night. When the team needed him to start transitioning the puck, he couldn't. When the team needed some offense from the blue line, he couldn't provide it. When the team needed a physical guy to clear the crease, he couldn't do it.

Edit: I always though Schultz's gap control was pretty good as he was an agile backwards skater. Clearly he was a lot better when paired with Johnsson. With anyone else it was always a 2-on-1.

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08-09-2012, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
I see what you did there.
Ya, and how many of these games are you watching from TV?

Believe me, I'm not just pulling this out of mid air. There's a reason why I soured on him. Run into any of the hometown scouts and they'd tell you the same thing about Schultz's game...

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08-09-2012, 12:30 PM
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Depends almost entirely on Scandella.

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08-09-2012, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by geowild View Post
My concern with Spurgeon is the same one I have with Bouchard --I don't care how good he is if he can't stay on the ice. I admire that a kid with that frame has gotten this far in professional hockey; I'm just not confident he can stay there long-term. It seems pretty clear to me it has made him a target as well --the bad guys look at him and think "just one pretty good hit and that kid will be gone" so they try to provide it.

I think you'd like to see at least three experienced NHL veterans on your blue-line, one for each pair. Optimally, you'd like to have four, so your top pair are both experienced. We've got two right now. God help us if Suter or Gilbert miss a couple weeks in a row at some point, let alone anything more serious than that to either of them.
I have this concern about Spurgeon as well. I like the kid and hope he can stay in the NHL, but his size gives me pause. He also needs to learn to effectively clear the crease. He wasn't very good at that last year. I do think he will fill out some more and become a better NHL player, but it may take him some time.

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08-09-2012, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillhouse99 View Post
Minnesota has good goaltending which helped the stats last year. Schultz was very good but he doesn't play there anymore. Obviously suter is very good, Gilbert is pretty good in his own end but defensively is a downgrade from Schultz. Spurgeon is a good puck mover but from what I've seen can be a bit of a liability in his own end. The others are unproven, and it's tough when you have unproven D men playing the 3 and 4 spots.

This is why in my non wild fan opinion the assertions that the wild need to improve on defense are warranted.
Statistically, this isn't true. Despite lack of chemistry and familiarity with the system, Gilbert performed as well as Schultz defensively, and was absolutely an upgrade offensively.

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08-09-2012, 01:27 PM
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Statistically, this isn't true. Despite lack of chemistry and familiarity with the system, Gilbert performed as well as Schultz defensively, and was absolutely an upgrade offensively.
Is that in his 20 games as a member of the wild or is that over the course of his career? Im interested to see the statistics you are citing, my opinion is just based on what I've seen from the two players, i havent seen any advanced stats and id like to. I live in Calgary so I've seen both play a fair amount as they have both been in the same division as the flames.

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08-09-2012, 01:36 PM
  #23
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Quote:
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Is that in his 20 games as a member of the wild or is that over the course of his career? Im interested to see the statistics you are citing, my opinion is just based on what I've seen from the two players, i havent seen any advanced stats and id like to. I live in Calgary so I've seen both play a fair amount as they have both been in the same division as the flames.
Specifically when Gilbert was with the Wild.

Basing my opinion on this:

(Plus, my own opinion from watching both Schultz and Gilbert play)

Key: Blue circles are good, white circles are bad; they reflect shots on goal (for=blue and against=white) when the player was on the ice. As you can see, Schultz is a medium-sized white circle while Gilbert is a medium-sized blue circle (albeit with smaller sample size). This explains player position on the chart; Gilbert was somewhere in-between a "Shut-down" and "Two-way" Dman, which is good. Schultz was mainly used in a "Shut-down" roll, which is fine; however, Gilbert shouldered tougher defensive responsibilities while still producing offense.





Feel free to check the attached Player Usage Charts (2011-12).
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Player Usage Charts 2011-12.pdf‎ (901.7 KB, 5 views)


Last edited by Minnesota: 08-09-2012 at 01:46 PM.
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08-09-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota View Post
Specifically when Gilbert was with the Wild.

Basing my opinion on this:

(Plus, my own opinion from watching both Schultz and Gilbert play)





Feel free to check the attached Player Usage Charts (2011-12).
Thanks man I'll check that out.

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08-09-2012, 01:42 PM
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Well a little underrated but it's not really good either, we're about in the middle of the pack.

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