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The Myth of the Top Lefty D-man

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12-01-2011, 08:51 PM
  #1
rumrokh
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The Myth of the Top Lefty D-man

We like to talk about this character, so let's look at who it could be.

Here are ALL of the lefty defensemen who play twenty minutes or more a night so far this season (in order of icetime per game). A couple have played fewer games, so their ice time might be inflated, but I cut out one or two who only played a couple games. Some of these players probably wouldn't even get second pairing minutes on the Blues (Nikitin), and there are some who could probably get more minutes than they already do (Alzner isn't on the list, but is a notable possibility in the near future), so there's some leniency and consideration for what teams they're on, as well. But I figured this would be a good start.

Impending UFA's are green
NTC's are red
If a player has both conditions, it's brown

Let me know if I have any marked incorrectly, and I'll update as guys sign extensions. There are also a few with NTC's ready to kick in next year that I haven't noted.

Suter
Campbell
Beauchemin
Phaneuf
Keith
Chara
Fowler
Enstrom
McDonagh
Bouwmeester
Tyutin
Seidenberg
Garrison
Ehrhoff
Lidstrom
Martin
Streit
Visnovsky
Pitkanen
MacDonald
J. Johnson
Edler
Kronwall
Brewer
Quincey
Hedman
Hamhuis
Nikitin
Pronger
Mitchell
Vlasic
Del Zotto
Kuba
Giordano
Kulikov
Leddy
Liles
Gorges
Gonchar
Carle
Timonen
Orpik
Daley
Tallinder
Gunnarsson
Yandle
Coburn
Souray
Goligoski
Smid
Leopold
Meszaros
Butler
B. Stuart
Hjalmarsson
Gleason
Lydman
Harrison
Gardiner
Barker
Scandella
Hejda
(Barret Jackman is next, just under the cut-off)

Staal, Whitney, and Markov, just off the top of my head, should also be up there despite not qualifying. Let me know if I missed anybody else or if any of these guys are absolute right-siders. I watch a good chunk of hockey, but it gets hazy and there are always guys playing their off-side due to injury or special pairings, etc. I'd also be curious if you know of any right-handers who are absolute left-siders. It seems to be that Babchuk has played a lot of left for a righty.

Certainly, guys with NTC's are traded, but it's a lot less common, especially from a good team.
I thought about marking guys who are the second or third lefties on their teams, but I think you get a good idea without a lot of extras. Colors for UFA and NTC are probably enough.

Among these guys, who actually fits the bill? What teams stand to improve by trading these players for what the Blues can and will give up?

In my opinion, most of these guys are not what the Blues are looking for, or they are simply not available. I'd love to get Seidenberg, for example, but even though he's behind Chara, he's huge for Boston and I don't think Boston has a good reason to deal him, considering they're kicking so much ass and he was amazing for them in the playoffs (even if he was playing the right side at the time). Plus, why would he waive his NTC to leave the Cup champions?
Several of these guys are youngsters who are the foundations of their teams' futures on defense and just aren't feasible acquisitions for the Blues, even if they'd be willing to give up big pieces. Like Yandle, Enstrom, Kulikov, or Fowler. Not happening.

Not all of these are impossible. But it really does look more and more like Cole means a lot to them moving forward, which is why they've been so careful with him. Otherwise, it looks mostly like their options are more in free agency than in trade this season. But if Suter signs, it's suddenly slim pickings. Some tweenerish guys like Liles and Gorges. Gleason and Carle are possibilities. But it's not exactly Christmas out there. The top lefty d-man pick-up for the Blues might be a myth.


Last edited by rumrokh: 12-01-2011 at 09:10 PM.
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12-01-2011, 09:16 PM
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I think our best bet would be Gleason around the deadline, but I would think a lot of teams would be interested in him.

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12-01-2011, 09:46 PM
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I'll settle for Chara, Phaneuf or Suter.

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12-01-2011, 09:48 PM
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Your list underscores the fact that Brewer is probably a good fit for what the Blues need. However, I understand that to change the regime of player leadership he had to be moved. Its just that a player LIKE Brewer would be a pretty good fit for what the Blues are now lacking.

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12-01-2011, 09:51 PM
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Mike Liut
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Maybe we already have that player and his name is Ian Cole ? I would love nothing more than to see Cole/Petro dominate on the top line for the next 12 years

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12-01-2011, 10:25 PM
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Before it's all said and done, I think that Cole will end up being better than a decent portion of that list. The only questions are how long will it take, and how long are the Blues willing to wait.

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12-01-2011, 11:36 PM
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The Blues can also afford to trade with Carolina because they are not good enough to need an established player in return for an unrestricted free agent. Picks and prospects could probably get it done as the heart of the deal. I think Gleason is arguably the best choice that is actually, possibly, for really available and won't break the bank.

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12-01-2011, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
The Blues can also afford to trade with Carolina because they are not good enough to need an established player in return for an unrestricted free agent. Picks and prospects could probably get it done as the heart of the deal. I think Gleason is arguably the best choice that is actually, possibly, for really available and won't break the bank.
If we can get a deal for Gleason and Ruutu, that would be great.

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12-01-2011, 11:50 PM
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The only one I'd really bother with is signing Suter. I don't think it makes much sense for the Blues to give up assets in a trade for most of the defensemen that are available, but they certainly have the cap space to sign Suter in the offseason.

If they can't make that happen, just go with Cole.

I was a little disappointed the Blues didn't seem to have any interest in Pitkanen last offseason, but with the ownership issues that's understandable. There are not that many players who really seem to fit this need and that become available, so it was a bit of a shame to miss the opportunity. Still, can't complain too much with how things have worked out so far.

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12-02-2011, 12:02 AM
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I like the idea of Gleason. I love the ide of Suter. I am luke warm to the idea of Carle, even though he isn't the shutdown D most want (myself included), however he would be solid on the PP.


I think Brad Stuart is a UFA too. He would be worth considering as a short term solution.

I like the idea rumrokh and I appreciate the work!

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12-02-2011, 12:15 AM
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I LOVE PICKLES!!

Suter would be a dream.

Alzner and Coburn would be awesome as well, but highly unlikely.

I don't feel Carle would be an upgrade over Colaiacovo.

Pitkanen would be interesting, but seeing as how he re-signed in Carolina before becoming a UFA, I doubt Carolina is about to trade him.

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12-02-2011, 12:41 AM
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I wanted phanuef in the offseason but his cap hit and getting him would be tough. I think he would look great next to petro. Just a gut feeling. I would love suter but I worry about the competition in getting him.

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12-02-2011, 01:23 AM
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Suter or bust!

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12-02-2011, 02:01 AM
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Does anyone else think its a bit ridiculous to be discussing a shakeup on defense when we have the number 1 defense in the league? This team really needs the jump start on offense, our defense is deep and isnt the problem right now. While we dont really have a standout defender on the left side, all of them bring something to the table. Carlo can add some offensive ability, Russell adds speed and Jackman brings defensive ability and tenacity. Cole is the wild card, and can do a little bit of everything. Also dont forget about Huskins, that guy was playing lights out before his injury.

I just think that adding a playmaker on offense would do a lot more for this team than adding a defender.

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12-02-2011, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Crumblin Erb Brooks View Post
Does anyone else think its a bit ridiculous to be discussing a shakeup on defense when we have the number 1 defense in the league? This team really needs the jump start on offense, our defense is deep and isnt the problem right now. While we dont really have a standout defender on the left side, all of them bring something to the table. Carlo can add some offensive ability, Russell adds speed and Jackman brings defensive ability and tenacity. Cole is the wild card, and can do a little bit of everything. Also dont forget about Huskins, that guy was playing lights out before his injury.

I just think that adding a playmaker on offense would do a lot more for this team than adding a defender.
This is absolutely not talking about a shakeup on defense. It's talking about addressing the Blues' needs from here on out.

From the latter half of last season to the beginning of this season, their biggest needs were 1. a scoring line center (or for Berglund to emerge in that role), 2. a top lefty defenseman to play with Pietrangelo, and 3. a backup goalie.
The third has been addressed and then some with Elliott even though a lot of people were skeptical. The first one has been exacerbated, as you mention, with the lack of McDonald and Perron. That remains, but Perron is coming back, so there's potential progress there that we just have to wait on.

Number 2 has not been addressed and is an outstanding issue moving forward - not as some flaw in the team's overall defense, but as a specific hole in the roster. Colaiacovo, Huskins, and Jackman are all going to be UFA's. And nobody has emerged on the left side as a guy who can carry over twenty minutes a night. Team defense is awesome (and much of their defensive performance is credit to the forwards), but you cannot pretend that's not an issue. On any given night, Jackman or Colaiacovo will look better or worse. They need a big situation, go-to guy who isn't inconsistent or injured.

For the rest of the year, for the playoffs, and for next year, the Blues have great forward depth even without that playmaker to wake up their scorers and spark the powerplay. They do not have quite the same defensive depth, especially when their top two left d-men are so often injured and aren't under contract.

So I reiterate: it's not about a shakeup. In fact, it would be best if they could ADD to their top defense so that, going into the playoffs, their top three lefties are Jackman, Colaiacovo, and a newcomer. Top defense as a team right now does not take this issue off the table.

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12-02-2011, 06:51 AM
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Lack of left-handed d-men is an issue long-term because the prospects pipeline is bare there but it's not an urgent pressing need.

Signing Suter solves the situation, but I don't see it happening.

This year we are fine. Next year I think Cole steps up and pairs with Pietrangelo. Two of the three vets - Jackman, Cola, Huskins - are re-signed and along with Russell we are fine next year also.

The solution is drafting left-handed d-men. A first-round pick in 2012 could be ready in two years (probably three). They just may have to fill the gap until then.

=====
Cody Ceci, D – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)

It’s going to be very tough to crack Canada’s roster as an underager, but Ceci’s inclusion in the final camp is a great indicator of just how important he has been for Ottawa. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has great offensive instincts and ranks second in the Ontario League for points by a defenseman with 26 in 26 games. He moves the puck well and has good mobility, so if not this year, he’ll definitely be at the world juniors in 2013. Draft eligible in 2012. (from The Hockey News).


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12-02-2011, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by execwrite View Post
Lack of left-handed d-men is an issue long-term because the prospects pipeline is bare there but it's not an urgent pressing need.

Signing Suter solves the situation, but I don't see it happening.

This year we are fine. Next year I think Cole steps up and pairs with Pietrangelo. Two of the three vets - Jackman, Cola, Huskins - are re-signed and along with Russell we are fine next year also.

The solution is drafting left-handed d-men. A first-round pick in 2012 could be ready in two years (probably three). They just may have to fill the gap until then.

=====
Cody Ceci, D Ė Ottawa 67ís (OHL)

Itís going to be very tough to crack Canadaís roster as an underager, but Ceciís inclusion in the final camp is a great indicator of just how important he has been for Ottawa. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has great offensive instincts and ranks second in the Ontario League for points by a defenseman with 26 in 26 games. He moves the puck well and has good mobility, so if not this year, heíll definitely be at the world juniors in 2013. Draft eligible in 2012. (from The Hockey News).


Going to have to trade up for Ceci since the Blues will be drafting in the late 20's

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12-02-2011, 10:48 AM
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2 Minute Minor
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I disagree that a drafted defenseman is going to adequately address this issue. For that matter, Cole can become the guy we're talking about. However, the tempo of the team's development and the fact that the rebuild is "over" speaks to the fact that they need to get a guy that's in his prime NOW.

Its not urgent, in the sense that the team can wait for a good trade opportunity at the deadline, or the off-season. But the way the contracts and pending UFAs are structured, it makes sense that the defense we see this season will be significantly different next year (or even later this year).

I also agree that a huge portion of the Blues success on D has been due to the forwards. But overall, the team is playing a good defensive game.

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12-02-2011, 11:55 AM
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I disagree that a drafted defenseman is going to adequately address this issue. For that matter, Cole can become the guy we're talking about. However, the tempo of the team's development and the fact that the rebuild is "over" speaks to the fact that they need to get a guy that's in his prime NOW.

Its not urgent, in the sense that the team can wait for a good trade opportunity at the deadline, or the off-season. But the way the contracts and pending UFAs are structured, it makes sense that the defense we see this season will be significantly different next year (or even later this year).

I also agree that a huge portion of the Blues success on D has been due to the forwards. But overall, the team is playing a good defensive game.

It's a small body of work but the defense corps we have now is allowing two goals per game. How big a problem is this?

Two of the three vets - Jackman, Cola, Huskins - are re-signed and along with Russell we are fine next year also.

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12-02-2011, 12:43 PM
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2 Minute Minor
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It's a small body of work but the defense corps we have now is allowing two goals per game. How big a problem is this?

Two of the three vets - Jackman, Cola, Huskins - are re-signed and along with Russell we are fine next year also.
I'm thinking about things in terms of a Cup contender. Winning games now is fantastic, and I am enjoying watching it. But that doesn't mean the team can't improve. The whole point of having a young team with entry level contracts in key spots is that you have cap room to get even better with a key piece or two.

I don't feel these are urgent changes, but they are areas where the team can get substantially better in the realm of realism.

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12-02-2011, 01:25 PM
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I'm thinking about things in terms of a Cup contender. Winning games now is fantastic, and I am enjoying watching it. But that doesn't mean the team can't improve. The whole point of having a young team with entry level contracts in key spots is that you have cap room to get even better with a key piece or two.

I don't feel these are urgent changes, but they are areas where the team can get substantially better in the realm of realism.
I agree. I think we should draft a defenseman because our defensive prospects aren't as good as our forwards, but we have the ability, cap space, and need to upgrade defensively. I don't think you can ever be too good and can always improve. Either we go for a LH defenseman or another top 6 caliber forward, so we can have more balance on offense. We can live off of Steen, Backes, and Oshie forever. Whether we go for a star caliber player or a rental type in Ruutu or Gleason, I think this team can improve, especially if we are in a position to make a run in the playoffs.

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12-02-2011, 04:29 PM
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Multimoodia
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It's a small body of work but the defense corps we have now is allowing two goals per game. How big a problem is this?

Enormous if the Blues continue to struggle to score 3 or more.

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12-02-2011, 05:39 PM
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Enormous if the Blues continue to struggle to score 3 or more.
The Blues currently have the 8th best goal differential in the league. It's reasonable to expect their goalies collective save percentage to regress...but people forget that it's also reasonable for the Blues PP to pick up as well. The league worst PP is typically in the 13-14% range any given year, and the Blues had a top 10 unit with essentially the same players just last year.

The difference between the Blues current team save percentage and a league average one is approximately 6 goals given the number of shots the Blues have allowed this season. That would drop the Blues to a 2.25 GA/GP...good for 7th in the league.

The difference between their current power play percentage and a league average one (they were better than that last year with approximately the same players) is approximately 7 goals given the number of PP opportunites the Blues have had this season. That would raise the Blues GF/GP from 2.46 to 2.75...good for 13th in the league.

If those two things had happened, the Blues would actually have an even better goal differential than they do now...tied for 6th best in the league.

The bottom line is that it's not reasonable to expect some gigantic drop off the face of the earth for the Blues due to regression, since regression is just as likely to work in the Blues favor as it is against them. Even in a "worst case scenario" where the goaltending regresses and the offense doesn't do anything it hasn't already done, the Blues are still a "+" team in the GF/GA differential with a strong chance at making the playoffs. Last year 18 teams had a positive GF/GA differential and 16 of them made the playoffs (no teams with a negative differential did). The year before that 13 of 15 teams with a positive goal differential made the playoffs.

If a reasonable move can be made that improves the team, it should obviously be made...but there's shouldn't be any sense of panic or urgency in trying to get something done.


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12-02-2011, 07:43 PM
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Suter or bust!
this

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12-03-2011, 08:44 AM
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Going to have to trade up for Ceci since the Blues will be drafting in the late 20's
This kid could be a steal in the second round.

==========

Adam Pelech - Erie Otters

6'2" - 210 LBS
D.O.B. August 18, 1994

Pelech entered this his second season with the Otters with high hopes but an early season injury has limited him to 2 games and he could very well miss up to 6 to 8 weeks with a hairline fracture in his wrist.

Pelech comes from a family with bloodlines in hockey. Vancouver Canucks General Manager is his uncle. His older brother Matt was a first round pick of the Flames while middle brother Mike was drafted by the Kings.

But Adam is making a name for himself. In his rookie season, the big defenseman scored once and added 13 assists in 65 games leading him to be named the Otters' Rookie of the Year for 2010-2011. He was a member of the gold medal winning Team Ontario at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Challenge Under 17. In August, he won another gold medal for Canada, this time at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial.

Pelech brings good size and already has the bulk to fill his frame. Defensively he is rock solid. He has intimidating size, uses what seems to be a longer stick that he knows how to use with his already long reach and is almost never caught out of position. He makes good, clean, crisp breakout passes. He is a strong skater but doesn't have blazing speed. He has a good heavy shot from the point that is accurate.

Pelech possesses some offensive ability. In 2009-2010 he played Minor Midget AAA for the Toronto Marlboros where he scored 6 goals and added 28 assists in 69 games. He was on NHL Central Scouting's A list of players to watch for this upcoming season. We also had him ranked number 18 from the OHL in the preseason.

This was to be Pelech's breakout season where, on an Erie squad with a very young defense, he was expected to play upwards of 30 minutes a night. To early to tell how much missing up to two months will hurt his status and even when he does return, it's the type of injury that will take time to fully recover from and make an impact again. If Pelech does drop, one NHL team is going to be very fortunate to grab him when they do.

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