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Old
01-10-2013, 11:27 PM
  #1
hctopcheds11
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Top-4 Defender

While we spend a lot of time talking about 87's winger (which is something we still need IMO), we haven't discussed a ton about our defense. Am I the only one who is really concerned with our defensive personnel to start the year? Outside of Letang, I am not overly excited about anyone in our top 4.

With speculation that their could be a flurry of trades come Sunday, I would find it hard to believe Shero is pumped about our top-4 defenders. Do you guys feel comfortable with our top 4 to start the year? If not, what options are out there? Is now the time to strike? Curious to hear everyone's thoughts!

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01-10-2013, 11:31 PM
  #2
Crafton
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some will cry blood murder, but with the system DB employs i think Dan Boyle will be a target. he'll be able to help out the power-play. he's got a high cap-hit but if he clicks, i'm sure they'll find a way to deal with it for this and next year. i don't think he'll be near the top of the list, but i'm sure he is on their list.

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01-10-2013, 11:37 PM
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jmelm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyg26 View Post
While we spend a lot of time talking about 87's winger (which is something we still need IMO), we haven't discussed a ton about our defense. Am I the only one who is really concerned with our defensive personnel to start the year? Outside of Letang, I am not overly excited about anyone in our top 4.

With speculation that their could be a flurry of trades come Sunday, I would find it hard to believe Shero is pumped about our top-4 defenders. Do you guys feel comfortable with our top 4 to start the year? If not, what options are out there? Is now the time to strike? Curious to hear everyone's thoughts!

Well, the truth is: in a cap world, and one in which you receive lower draft picks with the better you perform, it is not always feasible to have the "perfect" line up.


The fact of the matter is while we are definitely in "win now" or "contend now" mode, we have to understand that we have a pretty big window in which we can contend. The Pens are obviously hopeful that a guy like Despres could be our next Orpik (big shut-down defender); Harrington our next Scuderi/Girardi; Pouliot our next Boyle/Campbell; and Morrow our next Letang/Keith.


At the same time, we have forwards that we have drafted, or guys we will target in the next draft to help round out our line-up. Neil is young and could be with us for a decade. Bennett might be a year away, but he could also be with us for a decade. Hopefully guys like Kuhnhackl, Archibald, Agostino and other guys can help round out the line-up.


Clearly the Pens & Shero realize that our line-up is not perfect, and that they want to fill these spots. Getting one or both of Parise or Suter would have filled one or both of our two biggest needs. But we don't always get to have things turn out our way, so we will have to be crafty in terms of trades, free agency, and through the draft, the latter area in which we have only performed "average" in terms of generating assets compared to some of the other top teams. In other words, give it time. I think we can get to have a near-perfect team, but it takes time for every single piece to come together.

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01-10-2013, 11:39 PM
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I don't think anything has changed since before the lockout. Shero hinted strongly that he'd like to find Sid a winger and a D-Man to play with Letang. Whether he can or not remains to be seen but he has cap space and could put together an enticing package or two with picks and all the prospect depth on defense.

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01-10-2013, 11:40 PM
  #5
jmelm
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Originally Posted by Lost in Crafton View Post
some will cry blood murder, but with the system DB employs i think Dan Boyle will be a target. he'll be able to help out the power-play. he's got a high cap-hit but if he clicks, i'm sure they'll find a way to deal with it for this and next year. i don't think he'll be near the top of the list, but i'm sure he is on their list.

For the reasons I just mentioned about having a pretty large "win now" or contending window, we need to be patient. I have no problems trading a young Dman (i.e. Despres) for a young winger (Setoguchi, Wilson, J. Bailey, Stewart) if we want to move around some assets; but I'm not really interested in trading significant assets for a guy like Boyle who is on the downside of his career.


We should generally stick to looking at guys who are in the same age bracket (i.e. Gogo for Neil), or add those older players for little pieces (i.e. mid to late round picks, a la Kovalev), or look to fill in those veterans in during free agency (i.e. Iginla this summer).


I think, overall, we'll see Shero (and all GMs) be able to be much more decisive with their moves now given that they know what the CBA landscape is going to look like for the next several years. With some of our most expensive and non-core players (Martin & Orpik) potentially eligable for trade (with return) or buyout (no return), and have their spots filled in by youngers like Harrington, Dumoulin, Bortuzzo and Despres in the next 1-2 years, we are actually VERY well positioned compared to a lot of other top teams. This is something we have to feel good about and hang our hopes on.

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01-10-2013, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jmelm View Post
Well, the truth is: in a cap world, and one in which you receive lower draft picks with the better you perform, it is not always feasible to have the "perfect" line up.


The fact of the matter is while we are definitely in "win now" or "contend now" mode, we have to understand that we have a pretty big window in which we can contend. The Pens are obviously hopeful that a guy like Despres could be our next Orpik (big shut-down defender); Harrington our next Scuderi/Girardi; Pouliot our next Boyle/Campbell; and Morrow our next Letang/Keith.


At the same time, we have forwards that we have drafted, or guys we will target in the next draft to help round out our line-up. Neil is young and could be with us for a decade. Bennett might be a year away, but he could also be with us for a decade. Hopefully guys like Kuhnhackl, Archibald, Agostino and other guys can help round out the line-up.


Clearly the Pens & Shero realize that our line-up is not perfect, and that they want to fill these spots. Getting one or both of Parise or Suter would have filled one or both of our two biggest needs. But we don't always get to have things turn out our way, so we will have to be crafty in terms of trades, free agency, and through the draft, the latter area in which we have only performed "average" in terms of generating assets compared to some of the other top teams. In other words, give it time. I think we can get to have a near-perfect team, but it takes time for every single piece to come together.
Good points. But knowing what we know about Shero, he can't be excited about our current defense. He's a defense first guy and while we have the prospect coming soon, I don't see why we can't parlay some of them into defenders who are more impact players now. I just don't love Orpik, Martin and Nisky rounding out our top 4. And with teams looking to be busy (so Dreger has speculated) on Sunday, I wouldn't be shocked if Shero's looking to acquire a top 4 defenseman.

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01-10-2013, 11:53 PM
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A Boyle/Letang pairing would be nasty. He's got two years left on his contract. If SJ would be willing to eat part of it, I think we could give them a package of players they'd be interested in.

They absolutely could use a guy like TK. If Jeffrey is ready to go this season and can take on a 3C role, he'd fill a hole there as well. Add a top prospect and I think they'd consider it.

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01-10-2013, 11:59 PM
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I think a trade is going to be announced on Sunday. I'm not sure who exactly, but whoever it is I think, will be fairly young. Then, after the season we will buy out Martin, have a top 6 of

Letang-trade person
Niskanen-Orpik
Rookie-Engelland

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01-11-2013, 12:38 AM
  #9
Sidney the Kidney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyg26 View Post
While we spend a lot of time talking about 87's winger (which is something we still need IMO), we haven't discussed a ton about our defense. Am I the only one who is really concerned with our defensive personnel to start the year? Outside of Letang, I am not overly excited about anyone in our top 4.

With speculation that their could be a flurry of trades come Sunday, I would find it hard to believe Shero is pumped about our top-4 defenders. Do you guys feel comfortable with our top 4 to start the year? If not, what options are out there? Is now the time to strike? Curious to hear everyone's thoughts!
I think what scares me most about our defense is that two of our supposed top-3 are the ones who have massive question marks coming into this season. Letang's a stud, but both Martin and Orpik (who are our second and third most minute munchers) had awful seasons last year, and have a lot to prove. If they don't bounce back, that's essentially punching a massive hole in our top four.

I'm confident in the "bottom pairing" guys like Niskanen, Engelland, and even the rookies Strait and Bortuzzo. It's the 2/3 slot that's the biggest cause for concern, and frankly, I'm not sure we'll see the kind of bounce back season from *both* guys that we'll need.

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01-11-2013, 12:41 AM
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TheGreatPenguino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LetsGoPens70 View Post
I think a trade is going to be announced on Sunday. I'm not sure who exactly, but whoever it is I think, will be fairly young. Then, after the season we will buy out Martin, have a top 6 of

Letang-trade person
Niskanen-Orpik
Rookie-Engelland
Interesting.

I'd hate to see Despres go before a real good shot but it looks like they are setting it up for a trade. Why else do you publicly come out and say Despres wont get a shot on the carousel of fringe defenseman?

Sunday will be intriguing.

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01-11-2013, 12:44 AM
  #11
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Also I think Shero knows with the shortened season that a lottt of teams are going to be contenders at the trade deadline and he wont want to compete with the market then. If he's smart(he is) he makes a move now and gets everyone used to playing with each other and the system.

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01-11-2013, 12:47 AM
  #12
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Originally Posted by mpp9 View Post
A Boyle/Letang pairing would be nasty. He's got two years left on his contract. If SJ would be willing to eat part of it, I think we could give them a package of players they'd be interested in.

They absolutely could use a guy like TK. If Jeffrey is ready to go this season and can take on a 3C role, he'd fill a hole there as well. Add a top prospect and I think they'd consider it.
Ummmm and where is Brandon Sutter playing at exactly!?

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01-11-2013, 12:50 AM
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Also I want nothing to do with another puck-mover D-man coming to this already pretty small / soft-ish D line up.

I want a big mean crease clearing and protecting D-Dman.

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01-11-2013, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ObsessedCreative View Post
Ummmm and where is Brandon Sutter playing at exactly!?
Although he is a really solid 3c he is still a formidable top 6 option. His defense on Geno and Neals line would just be killer. As 3c hell chip in 15-20, top 6 hell chip in 20-25. Jeffrey is still a 3c option and people forget that. He has the skills to compete in that position but it is not ideal.

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01-11-2013, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ObsessedCreative View Post
Ummmm and where is Brandon Sutter playing at exactly!?
he's referring to Jeffrey playing as the Sharks 3C and from what i understand they're looking for one because they like Pavelski in the top-six. he's probably a better than the likes of James Sheppard and Michal Handzuš.


Last edited by Crafton: 01-11-2013 at 01:00 AM.
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01-11-2013, 12:53 AM
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I have a truly hard time believing Disco will use him anywhere other than the 3rd line center role.

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01-11-2013, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyg26 View Post
While we spend a lot of time talking about 87's winger (which is something we still need IMO), we haven't discussed a ton about our defense. Am I the only one who is really concerned with our defensive personnel to start the year? Outside of Letang, I am not overly excited about anyone in our top 4.

With speculation that their could be a flurry of trades come Sunday, I would find it hard to believe Shero is pumped about our top-4 defenders. Do you guys feel comfortable with our top 4 to start the year? If not, what options are out there? Is now the time to strike? Curious to hear everyone's thoughts!
Considering we just traded Michalek for peanuts, I don't think getting another top 4 defenseman would be a shrewd move unless he was definitively better than Michalek (I mean, why not just hang onto Z in that case?).

And there's not too many of those available for trade.

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01-11-2013, 05:53 AM
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I'd like to see what we have first. Niskanen has made strides, and I think he has earned a shot.

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01-11-2013, 06:57 AM
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We already have enough D on the roster to fill out our top 4, 6, 7, etc. Let's see how they look over the first 20-30 games before even considering any moves.

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01-11-2013, 06:59 AM
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I don't think people are giving Bortuzzo and Strait any respect here. I know they will probably never be top 4 D-men but they have been very good in the AHL. I only wish we had a full season for this experiment. With a short season teams can't afford too many rookie screw ups. I'm sure they will be on a short leash. At least we know they are in game shape. That's one advantage tey will have going in.

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01-11-2013, 07:31 AM
  #21
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Originally Posted by JTG View Post
I'd like to see what we have first. Niskanen has made strides, and I think he has earned a shot.
He's certainly earned a spot in the top 4, but I have a hard time seeing Shero wanting him paired with Letang in the postseason.

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01-11-2013, 07:32 AM
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I think what scares me most about our defense is that two of our supposed top-3 are the ones who have massive question marks coming into this season. Letang's a stud, but both Martin and Orpik (who are our second and third most minute munchers) had awful seasons last year, and have a lot to prove. If they don't bounce back, that's essentially punching a massive hole in our top four.

I'm confident in the "bottom pairing" guys like Niskanen, Engelland, and even the rookies Strait and Bortuzzo. It's the 2/3 slot that's the biggest cause for concern, and frankly, I'm not sure we'll see the kind of bounce back season from *both* guys that we'll need.
I've felt for years that our D has lacked leadership. Letang doesn't seen to have that kind of personality, and when the two guys you would look to to fill that role are playing so badly it's tough. I mean it's great that both Brooks and Martin are willing to say "I have to play better", but we need some lead by example on D. The other thing we need is a little bit of edge from the D leader, for as much as every one talks up Orpik's hitting, he always seems so cold and calculated. I'd like to see a D leader with some snarl and fire to set the tone for these guys.

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01-11-2013, 07:38 AM
  #23
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I've felt for years that our D has lacked leadership. Letang doesn't seen to have that kind of personality, and when the two guys you would look to to fill that role are playing so badly it's tough. I mean it's great that both Brooks and Martin are willing to say "I have to play better", but we need some lead by example on D. The other thing we need is a little bit of edge from the D leader, for as much as every one talks up Orpik's hitting, he always seems so cold and calculated. I'd like to see a D leader with some snarl and fire to set the tone for these guys.
I think Letang could become that guy if he learns where to draw the line and stop getting himself stupid penalties. He needs to keep his head once things get heated. Though I think you are right that he isn't a great vocal leader.

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01-11-2013, 07:40 AM
  #24
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There's a guy possibly available, a guy that I'm guessing everybody hates on this board. A guy who could instantly become Letang's rival in total ice time. A guy who could pair with Letang perhaps, be both a shutdown D-man and an offensive catalyst. A guy who is more physical than Letang, just as mobile and a royal pain to play against. A guy who (if paired with Letang) could turn our first pairing into a Suter-Weber 2.0 situation. The only caveat is Letang would have to play the left side, but he may have to do so even without this guy.

I'm talking about P.K. Subban. I know most people feel he's not a "Pittsburgh" guy, or whatever. But he's a really good D-man. Plays in every situation. Would bring back some attitude that this team has lacked for a while. And he's a rarity: a guy who may actually flourish under Disco Dan, because he can play the shutdown role while keeping his game up-tempo.

I wonder if there are any leftover players from the Therrien era that he would want back? The Habs are implementing Therrien's system, and from what I've heard it's quite different than what they were used to. They brought in Armstrong already because he's familiar with Therrien. I wonder if they would have interest in some others. Maybe Orpik? Even though I'd rather deal Martin than Orpik, I'd deal Orpik if it came to that.

They'd probably want Despres. I would try to move Pouliot instead. Something like Orpik, Kennedy and Pouliot for Subban and a winger prospect (the Habs have a few interesting ones, like Tim Bozon, Charles Hudon, Sebastian Collberg to name three).

Letang-Subban
Martin-Engelland
Niskanen-Bortuzzo/Strait/Despres/Dumoulin

I would feel more comfortable with that. Also, because Subban would be expensive, we'd have to buy Martin out this summer. But that's probably happening anyway.

Anyway, I'm just spit-balling.

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01-11-2013, 07:53 AM
  #25
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Montreal can't afford to deal their #1 D-man. But you're right, Subban would be money here.

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