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Sauer's weakness(es)

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Old
12-09-2011, 12:34 AM
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Sauer's weakness(es)

He has grown on me bigtime in terms of non-Sabres that I root for and/or enjoy watching. I am curious, though, as to what Ranger fans feel are his weaknesses, or areas he needs to improve?

I see a guy who has steadied himself tremendously over the course of last season and into this one in terms of d-zone presence and positioning, but in talking to a few buddies around our area who are Blueshirt fans, I've yet to get a consensus "trouble area" - thus, I almost worry that I overrate him in my own mind.

What do you think?

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12-09-2011, 12:38 AM
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His two biggest weaknesses are his foot speed and his offensive game. On his offense, it's basically limited to none. He'll chip in the odd goal here or there but he doesn't have a great shot, isn't that great at making outlet passes, etc. Also, he seems to be beaten quite a lot by speedy guys. Because of his size he isn't gonna be the fastest guy but he can definitely be beaten to the outside by someone with decent speed.

I love Sauer, he's one of my favorite Rangers but IMO he's a 4th or 5th defenseman on a really good team. He isn't going to contribute much offensively but he gets the job done defensively. Nothing flashy, just shuts them down.

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12-09-2011, 12:57 AM
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I think what you see is what you get--NYRFAN218 is right on with his assessment. Sauer is solid in his own zone, not the fastest, but has good hockey sense, so he knows where he needs to be. He thinks defense first. He's a great compliment to an offensive defenseman and can play 2nd pair minutes (18-20 minutes a night).

Can't help but like him!

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12-09-2011, 01:17 AM
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I must be watching a different game, but relative to ice time, I see Sauer make as many successful breakout passes as anyone on the team, if not more so. His hockey sense is off the charts, and his passing technique is solid. He doesn't make flashy passes, he just makes smart, successful passes out of his own zone.

His biggest weakness, other than fragility, is his lack of foot speed. In the offensive zone, he's not a big factor (although he usually does a great job of keeping pucks in and knowing where, when and how to move them when he does). He rarely pinches, but when he does, he usually makes it count.

He really doesn't have many weaknesses. He's one of the most consistent, efficient and intelligent defensemen in the game today. A great second-pairing defenseman, a #3 on most teams in the league. Easily the most under appreciated player on the team, eerily reminiscent of the attitude towards Callahan early in his career.

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12-09-2011, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by NYR Sting View Post
I must be watching a different game, but relative to ice time, I see Sauer make as many successful breakout passes as anyone on the team, if not more so. His hockey sense is off the charts, and his passing technique is solid. He doesn't make flashy passes, he just makes smart, successful passes out of his own zone.

His biggest weakness, other than fragility, is his lack of foot speed. In the offensive zone, he's not a big factor (although he usually does a great job of keeping pucks in and knowing where, when and how to move them when he does). He rarely pinches, but when he does, he usually makes it count.

He really doesn't have many weaknesses. He's one of the most consistent, efficient and intelligent defensemen in the game today. A great second-pairing defenseman, a #3 on most teams in the league. Easily the most under appreciated team, eerily reminiscent of the attitude towards Callahan early in his career.
Sorry, I like Sauer a lot (even picked him as a dark horse to make the team during the summer of 2010), but I don't think he's a #3 on any team-even the Rangers. He makes a good first pass, but his lack of foot speed is always going to be a disadvantage coming out of the defensive zone.

I think this is pretty much the level he's going to be at for the rest of his career. He's not star (not even as a shutdown defenseman), but he's a necessary piece of a good team.

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12-09-2011, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooklyn Ranger View Post
I think what you see is what you get--NYRFAN218 is right on with his assessment. Sauer is solid in his own zone, not the fastest, but has good hockey sense, so he knows where he needs to be. He thinks defense first. He's a great compliment to an offensive defenseman and can play 2nd pair minutes (18-20 minutes a night).

Can't help but like him!
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Originally Posted by NYRFAN218 View Post
His two biggest weaknesses are his foot speed and his offensive game. On his offense, it's basically limited to none. He'll chip in the odd goal here or there but he doesn't have a great shot, isn't that great at making outlet passes, etc. Also, he seems to be beaten quite a lot by speedy guys. Because of his size he isn't gonna be the fastest guy but he can definitely be beaten to the outside by someone with decent speed.

I love Sauer, he's one of my favorite Rangers but IMO he's a 4th or 5th defenseman on a really good team. He isn't going to contribute much offensively but he gets the job done defensively. Nothing flashy, just shuts them down.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYR Sting View Post
I must be watching a different game, but relative to ice time, I see Sauer make as many successful breakout passes as anyone on the team, if not more so. His hockey sense is off the charts, and his passing technique is solid. He doesn't make flashy passes, he just makes smart, successful passes out of his own zone.

His biggest weakness, other than fragility, is his lack of foot speed. In the offensive zone, he's not a big factor (although he usually does a great job of keeping pucks in and knowing where, when and how to move them when he does). He rarely pinches, but when he does, he usually makes it count.

He really doesn't have many weaknesses. He's one of the most consistent, efficient and intelligent defensemen in the game today. A great second-pairing defenseman, a #3 on most teams in the league. Easily the most under appreciated player on the team, eerily reminiscent of the attitude towards Callahan early in his career.
That's what I thought, but was curious if there was more.

One thing Sauer does great - (I can say great because he does it every time I watch, which is half as much as you guys) - is he reads the play on the breakout prior to executing. Whenever the puck gets dumped into his corner, he's always looking over his shoulder and identifying the forecheck while finding where his wingers are.

First pass seems fine to me, but that's something you'd know better than I!

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12-09-2011, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Ranger View Post
Sorry, I like Sauer a lot (even picked him as a dark horse to make the team during the summer of 2010), but I don't think he's a #3 on any team-even the Rangers. He makes a good first pass, but his lack of foot speed is always going to be a disadvantage coming out of the defensive zone.

I think this is pretty much the level he's going to be at for the rest of his career. He's not star (not even as a shutdown defenseman), but he's a necessary piece of a good team.
Brooks Orpik?

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12-09-2011, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Ranger View Post
Sorry, I like Sauer a lot (even picked him as a dark horse to make the team during the summer of 2010), but I don't think he's a #3 on any team-even the Rangers. He makes a good first pass, but his lack of foot speed is always going to be a disadvantage coming out of the defensive zone.

I think this is pretty much the level he's going to be at for the rest of his career. He's not star (not even as a shutdown defenseman), but he's a necessary piece of a good team.
Sauer's lack of speed means he has trouble with the fastest skaters in the league, particularly the ones who are great puckhandlers, but that list is not that long. This lack of foot speed is basically the only thing keeping him from being a top pairing defender, IMO, because he'd be a liability against those elite offensive players. That, and I suspect he must hold back using his strength and physicality to full force because of his injury history. He's still able to be physical and use his strength, but when he was a young player, his game was a little more ferocious than it is now.

IMO, where positioning, decision making, anticipation are concerned, he's better than both Staal and Girardi, not to mention McDonagh (and I have nothing but love for all three). Poke checking is excellent; Staal has an edge simply because of his reach advantage. I watch a lot of hockey, and I try to watch as many games featuring as many different teams as I can, and I continue to believe that Sauer is one of the most intelligent players in the league. He makes very few mistakes, and he usually makes the best play available. Personally, I couldn't understand how he didn't make the team in 2008 or 2009. He was already playing this way in Hartford even then.

Ryan Callahan has been one of the league's best players away from the puck and best defensive forwards as far back as the middle of the 2007-08 season, when he returned from his final assignment to Hartford. It took a lot longer before most people around here acknowledged him as anything more than a great sparkplug/grinder type. I think Sauer is getting very similar treatment.

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12-09-2011, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by NYR Sting View Post
Sauer's lack of speed means he has trouble with the fastest skaters in the league, particularly the ones who are great puckhandlers, but that list is not that long. This lack of foot speed is basically the only thing keeping him from being a top pairing defender, IMO, because he'd be a liability against those elite offensive players. That, and I suspect he must hold back using his strength and physicality to full force because of his injury history. He's still able to be physical and use his strength, but when he was a young player, his game was a little more ferocious than it is now.

IMO, where positioning, decision making, anticipation are concerned, he's better than both Staal and Girardi, not to mention McDonagh (and I have nothing but love for all three). Poke checking is excellent; Staal has an edge simply because of his reach advantage. I watch a lot of hockey, and I try to watch as many games featuring as many different teams as I can, and I continue to believe that is one of the most intelligent players in the league. He makes very few mistakes, and he usually makes the best play available. Personally, I couldn't understand how he didn't make the team in 2008 or 2009. He was already playing this way in Hartford even then.

Ryan Callahan has been one of the league's best players away from the puck and best defensive forwards as far back as the middle of the 2007-08 season, when he returned from his final assignment to Hartford. It took a lot longer before most people around here acknowledged him as anything more than a great sparkplug/grinder type. I think Sauer is getting very similar treatment.
I see him make a lot of correct decisions when I watch him - defensive zone, of course - which would lead me to assume he's trusted in shutdown/defensive minded situations?

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12-09-2011, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by jBuds View Post
I see him make a lot of correct decisions when I watch him - defensive zone, of course - which would lead me to assume he's trusted in shutdown/defensive minded situations?
Yes, he may not face the best of the best because of the foot speed issue, but he sees ice time against a lot of quality offensive players. We all know that plus/minus is a stat that can't be trusted solely, but in certain contexts and with certain players, it can be telling. Sauer's plus/minus, highest on the team last year, highest on the team this year, is not insignificant. I think your Orpik comparison was solid, although Orpik is probably a little bit more physical, with Sauer having an edge in terms of hockey sense and related qualities.

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12-09-2011, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by NYR Sting View Post
Yes, he may not face the best of the best because of the foot speed issue, but he sees ice time against a lot of quality offensive players. We all know that plus/minus is a stat that can't be trusted solely, but in certain contexts and with certain players, it can be telling. Sauer's plus/minus, highest on the team last year, highest on the team this year, is not insignificant. I think your Orpik comparison was solid, although Orpik is probably a little bit more physical, with Sauer having an edge in terms of hockey sense and related qualities.
Thanks.

He and Orpik are eerily identical size-wise - both 220lbs., and Orpik 6'2 to Sauer's 6'3. And I think you nailed it with the differences between the two, as it seems Orpik uses the thickness a tiny bit more than Mike.

But the quote a few posts above about not being a star or a standout, but a crucial/necessary piece to a successful, winning team brought Orpik right to mind. Seems like a good way to describe them both.

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12-09-2011, 03:24 AM
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Sauer can get beat by speed but it doesn't happen all that often. He makes up for the lack of foot speed with good positioning, a long reach and he's strong when he can get a piece of someone. He's a steady and intelligent player and compares to Girardi in some ways who also doesn't have the greatest foot speed--though Dan is the superior player in his own end at this point and Dan has better offensive instincts.

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12-09-2011, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jBuds View Post
I see him make a lot of correct decisions when I watch him - defensive zone, of course - which would lead me to assume he's trusted in shutdown/defensive minded situations?
Yes. We put him out there on PK's and tough defensive battles. He gets the job done

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12-09-2011, 07:18 AM
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Sauer is nearly flawless in the defensive zone.

His foot speed isn't high-end but he's a good close quarters skater. Extremely good gap control. Strong, fearless, fights for his team and his goaltender. He has an underrated first pass. Its not being given due credit.

Sauer rarely ever makes a bad decision with or without the puck.

He knows when to pinch and jump into the play offensively.

He's the perfect defensive defenseman, and somewhat underrated two way defenseman.

Very very smart defenseman.

Its very hard to find a young player that grasps the full concept and all the little idiocracies of the defense position, the position notorious for being the hardest position in the sport to grasp fully.

A staple of our defense corp. for many years IMO.

That said, he isn't flashy like a Letang, so like Girardi he will never get the recognition he deserves, for what he does.


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12-09-2011, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by SupersonicMonkey View Post
Sauer is nearly flawless in the defensive zone.

His foot speed isn't high-end but he's a good close quarters skater. Extremely good gap control. Strong, fearless, fights for his team and his goaltender. He has an underrated first pass. Its not being given due credit.

Sauer rarely ever makes a bad decision with or without the puck.

He knows when to pinch and jump into the play offensively.

He's the perfect defensive defenseman, and somewhat underrated two way defenseman.

Very very smart defenseman.

Its very hard to find a young player that grasps the full concept and all the little idiocracies of the defense position, the position notorious for being the hardest position in the sport to grasp fully.

A staple of our defense corp. for many years IMO.

That said, he isn't flashy like a Letang, so like Girardi he will never get the recognition he deserves, for what he does.
Best of the various analysis presented here.

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12-09-2011, 08:52 AM
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Sauer's defensive play is top notch, everything else is at least adequate and the fact that he is a righty is a huge plus.

My only concern with Sauer is that he will one day break into little pieces. Relying on players with durability concerns is always tough.

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12-09-2011, 09:02 AM
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right now, his biggest weakness is his concussion.

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12-09-2011, 09:05 AM
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right now, his biggest weakness is his concussion.
You know you're going to catch grief for that one right? LOL

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12-09-2011, 09:17 AM
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right now, his biggest weakness is his concussion.
Touche'.

Lol.

In all seriousness, though, im not concerned about his durability. Getting banged up is a by product for a player that plays the way Sauer does.

But his brain makes him a very good player. He's just very smart. His attention to detail is something I would point to if a young person wanted to learn the position. Id give them tape of Sauer.

I can't express enough how intelligent and subtle his game is.

Am I saying he's a superstar. No. But attempt to find a defenseman more flawless at what he does, and you'd have a difficult time doing it.

Little things, like, deflecting the puck with his skate toward the corner, while in a scrum, under pressure, while Henrik is out of position after a tough save. The frame of mind to do the little things.

That wont be noticed.

Or how he suckers forwards into areas of the ice he wants them to be in.

That wont be noticed.

He plays a subtle game. But so intelligent.

That's why, he's not expendable. In any trade. Any realistic trade, please don't suggest Crosby is for sale and Sauer is the deal breaker, this is reality.

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12-09-2011, 09:18 AM
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Orpik is a good comparision in size, and in regards to his mean streak. He's 100% a team-first guy. First one into the scrum, first one to take exception to anyone bumping Henrik.

Orpik has one thing that Sauer misses on. Orpik crushes people, Sauer doesn't. He lacks ability to throw that big hit.

I agree on the foot speed. He lacks it, however he makes up for it with positioning, intelligence, and ability to read the play. Basically, his foot speed or lack there of is not a problem for the Rangers.

Sauer's biggest weakness is his inability to stay healthy. Injuries have plagued him his whole career.

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12-09-2011, 09:53 AM
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His biggest weakness is getting hurt. He can't really control that. Genes. His brothers had their careers shortened because of injuries.

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12-09-2011, 10:11 AM
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Sauer and McDonagh should be this teams second pair for years to come. Anyone that doesn't think so is on crack. It would take a lot from any prospect or player we bring in to knock Sauer out of that spot. IMO it would have to be a big time NHL acquisition to warrant knocking him to the third pair. Him and McDonagh are great together.

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12-09-2011, 11:36 AM
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I don't mind Sauer's limitations because it means we should be able to retain him with very cap-friendly contracts...

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12-09-2011, 01:46 PM
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Sauer and McDonagh should be this teams second pair for years to come. Anyone that doesn't think so is on crack. It would take a lot from any prospect or player we bring in to knock Sauer out of that spot. IMO it would have to be a big time NHL acquisition to warrant knocking him to the third pair. Him and McDonagh are great together.
I think Tim Erixon and MDZ will surpass Sauer on the depth chart, so as much as I feel Sauer could play on the 2nd pair of any team, the depth and talent of the Rangers defense would force him to the 3rd pair.

Imagine having that much confidence in a 3rd pairing defenseman.

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12-09-2011, 03:14 PM
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I think Tim Erixon and MDZ will surpass Sauer on the depth chart, so as much as I feel Sauer could play on the 2nd pair of any team, the depth and talent of the Rangers defense would force him to the 3rd pair.

Imagine having that much confidence in a 3rd pairing defenseman.
Everything I've read about Erixon makes it seem that way, but everything I've seen from him so far makes me think that would be a long ways off at this point. At least a couple of years. A lot of things could change at that point. MDZ is constantly improving but I really don't know if I've seen anything from him that would make me think he's going to be as good defensively as Sauer at any point. I think what we need to be doing with MDZ is making sure that he's sound in his own end for the most part, but really start extracting that high end offensive potential that he has. Ideally in the future we would have a third pair that gets more than 10 minutes a night and three pairs that we feel comfortable with against any line really. Maybe you're right about Erixon or MDZ but IMO it would take a pretty damn good effort from both of them.

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