I agree, at my level of play there is no checking, they're mainly there to protect if I go sliding into the boards or catch a puck on my sternum or back...dont need too much to soften the blow in the legaues I frequent
I second these. I've had them for about 2 years now and I love them. They are not the lightest (not heavy either) on the market but they have great mobility and pretty much the lowest profile you can get, other than the old Sher-Woods.
Reebok 5k are on clearance for under $50 in places and are the most flexible and best fitting shoulder pads I've tried. I couldn't use most of the shoulders that shift around with the body. Although I've been using my Sherwoods for a while.
Personnally, Bauers and Reebooks make me look like a football player. Shoulder pads are too big imho. Bought U+ Fit 07 in clearance at the end of last season and they feel great. Mobility is the main factor why I bought those. If you're playing rec, you should stay with CCM as they offer just the right amount of protection for the casual play.
Just to hop on this thread... I have switched to center recently. I am getting better at it and getting in the front of a lot more pucks. I had 5 blocks last night, a personal best, but took a pretty hard shot in the sternum on one of them. I have this thin, cheap Sherwood shoulder gear and that clearly is not going to cut it on D. At the same time, I don't have a huge budget. I am 6.4 230ish. Can anyone recommend shoulders that run large and would give me good protection without breaking the bank?
I personally use the cheapest ones I can find. IMO shoulder pads are the least important piece of equipment hockey players are required to wear.
I used to say that, too... Until I broke my shoulder... Twice.
To the OP: I'm going to jump on the CCM bandwagon. I love the design of the 2011 U+ series; In my opinion, they're the best combination of mobility and protection while still maintaining a low-profile.
Since I've got a history with shoulder problems, I've favored JDP caps for years. I was on the fence about trying the CCMs and when the U+ 09s hit the clearance rack, I made the switch. I just upgraded from the CCM U+ 09 to the U+ Pro and if you can find either in your size I would recommend them.
Based on the Vectors that you had previously, the fit will be similar so it's not much of an adjustment... other than the reduced bulkiness. I don't know your preference as far as fit, but it sounds like you'd need a small (I'm 6'1" 210 lbs and medium U+09/Pros fit me better than any shoulder pad I've owned). If this is the case, it looks like you can still find smalls on clearance a few different places. If you opt for a medium, finding them might be a little harder...
I personally think that the U+Pros are one of if not the best top-end shoulder pad ever released onto retail.
Among the other top end pads currently out at this moment, I also like the snug and sleek fit of the APX. Haven't seen the Mako, 20K, or NXG yet, though the presence of NHL-spec caps may sway that second vote.