Considering how poorly almost all of them have played, rank our defensemen (all nine) from best to worst overall at this point early into the season. Where does everyone fall currently? For me:
1. Christian Ehrhoff
2. Robyn Regehr
3. Andrej Sekera
4. Alexander Sulzer
5. Mike Weber
6. Tyler Myers
7. Jordan Leopold
8. T.J. Brennan (I know, small sample size but work with me. He's likely the least best on the roster currently.)
Ehrhoff continues to be very solid. That guy can handle as many minutes as you give him. He might not give you elite performance in those minutes but he will eat them up and do a good job.
Sekera is #2 more because no one else really stands out. He's had bad shifts. Could easily switch Regehr and Sekera, considering Regehr-Myers was a drastically better (though still underwhelming) pairing. Regehr's a great PK defenseman and the team clearly misses him, even if I have my reservations about him being a big minutes ES defenseman at this point (still better than Leopold).
Sulzer has done a solid job while paired with Ehrhoff but it's important not to confuse that with him having great performances. That's why he's not higher. The team's defense would be stronger if Ehrhoff's partner were a more legitimate top 4 guy, but they work together to form what's been our best pair on the whole of the season. Weber's simply looked stronger in a more limited amount of games and has rekindled his chemistry with Sekera.
Brennan simply hasn't had an opportunity to show anything one way or another and didn't play very well in his single game. Leopold is playing way more than he should be, something that has happened consistently under Ruff, though last season injuries had a lot to do with it and overall weak D the year before.
if weber keeps it up he can stay on my team all day everyday...only one blocking shots on purpose it seems. Takes the body while Myers, Leo, Christian, sekera all play the stick...hes been a breath of fresh air
I don't think Sekera's been as good as he was past year. He's only behind Stafford and Myers for giveaways this season with 5.
I'd say Ehrhoff is the one who has been most consistent/producing at both ends. Our 12 million dollar dman has 1 point in 8 games
I won't go as far as to say I don't care about production, but that's a very minor concern with Myers for me right now. It's his own end I'm worried about. Offensively my biggest problem with him is the nature of his giveaways in the offensive zone as some have been pretty weak. I don't mind giveaways now and then when they're the result of smart, aggressive plays that have a high payoff. One thing is that the offense does look much better when Myers, Sekera, or someone else pinches in deep, whether it results in a d-man getting points or not -- and I'd like to see it done more but smarter.
If Myers doesn't turn it around, Regier will have MAJOR offseason moves to make to defense.
Only four guys under contract next year, and one of them currently stinks. I figured Regier would resign Leopold, but Jordan has been garbage this season. He may resign Sulzer and rely on McNabb being ready (who has looked better as of late). Still, that's a blueline that NEEDS a premier defenseman. Not a great UFA market for them either.
It's bad when you go from "We need a No. 1 center" to "We need a No. 1 center and a No. 1 defenseman."
Ehrhoff is the only one that has played like he belongs on a good NHL team. Ranking the rest is an exercise in deciding who has made the least mistakes, which is a task I don't feel remotely qualified for, seeing as how brutal they have all been. Considering the train wreck on defense in Rochester relative to talent, and what is going on here relative to talent, you can't help but think that there is some deep fundamental flaw in coaching going on in this organization.
I'll say this about Myers, he's pretty articulate and glib for a guy his age. He handled himself very well in the post-game interviews....so much so, that you really feel bad for they guy that he's struggling the way he is.
Eventually he'll work his way through these tough times and be a better player down the road. Franchise defenseman is not off the table. He just needs more time. Chara at Myer's age was not the Chara he is now. Takes time.
Also, do not discount the style of play that works best for Myers vs. the style of play he's being coached to execute.
I know it's apples and oranges, but Michael Jordan was not a standout player under Dean Smith an UNC.