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How can Depres be viewed as our 7th best D man?

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Old
03-13-2013, 09:43 AM
  #1
wgknestrick
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How can Depres be viewed as our 7th best D man?

I want to try to keep this logical, factual, and to the point.

I "know" why he is being scratched, but also know that this reason does not follow any logic whatsoever, ie Bylsma logic. Depres has been IMO the 3rd best D man for the Pens to date this year, yet he falls down (I think he stepped on puck IIRC) on one play that leads to a goal against in the NYI game and is wiped from the lineup.

Areas of note:

Depres is 2nd on the team in +- rate behind Letang.

Depres has allowed the lowest GAA/60min of all Penguins D men. This shows that he is anything but a defensive liability.

Depres has the 3rd best zone start adjusted corsi among all Pens D men. When he is out there, the Pens are winning the possession battle. This indicates his other results should be maintainable and aren't driven by luck of save %s or shooting %s.
Blue circles are positive (white negative) and the size indicates the value. "Big blues are good". Big whites are bad. The context in which the players are used are shown in the position of the circles. Toughest is top left, easiest bottom right.

Depres has the 3rd highest goals for rate when he is on the ice. Pens are scoring at a high rate when he is out there. He probably isn't being shifted with the Pens top line either.

Depres has played against some of the toughest competition of all Penguins Dmen. It's not like he is only dominating scrub-ish 4th liners.

So after knowing all these things, please explain to me WHY Depres is being scratched......ever? Is one isolated mistake a significant enough mistake to completely ignore all the positives that Depres has provided the Pens to date?

I am still waiting for this Pens team to actually dress their best available team to see what they are capable of. They are constantly, intentionally handicapping themselves by not playing/dressing their best players. I could go on and on about this, but it is an alarming trend that shows the Pens can't properly evaluate their own players.


Last edited by wgknestrick: 03-13-2013 at 10:12 AM.
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03-13-2013, 09:48 AM
  #2
Flat Stanley
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Despres should be playing every game, there is no doubt about that.

Despres skated on a pair with Niskanen at the morning skate yesterday so I thought he would play against the Bruins.

I wonder if him being scratched yesterday had to do with adding Engelland for physicality against the Bruins or if it was because he fell in his own zone that led to the only Islander goal Sunday night.

If it's the latter, then nobody should be surprised as 2 of our former rookies have publicly noted on their new teams, that Bylsma holds a very small leash on young players. Tangradi and Strait both said they never got the chance to play their game, they just played to NOT make a mistake. And that's very idiotic, you need to let young players make mistakes so they can learn from them, benching them and making them a healthy scratch does nothing for them, or your team if they're a good player.

EDIT: Not only should Despres be playing every game, but he should be playing in the top 4 next to Letang.

Orpik-Martin
Despres-Letang
Eaton-Niskanen/Niskanen-Engelland/Niskanen-Bortuzzo

What is so wrong with that?

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Old
03-13-2013, 09:48 AM
  #3
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Because Byslma doesn't coach based on advanced statistics, that's why.

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03-13-2013, 09:50 AM
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Hopefully Engelland was just put in for "physicality", Eaton shouldn't be playing every game.

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03-13-2013, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyes of Orpik View Post
Despres should be playing every game, there is no doubt about that.

Despres skated on a pair with Niskanen at the morning skate yesterday so I thought he would play against the Bruins.

I wonder if him being scratched yesterday had to do with adding Engelland for physicality against the Bruins or if it was because he fell in his own zone that led to the only Islander goal Sunday night.

If it's the latter, then nobody should be surprised as 2 of our former rookies have publicly noted on their new teams, that Bylsma holds a very small leash on young players. Tangradi and Strait both said they never got the chance to play their game, they just played to NOT make a mistake. And that's very idiotic, you need to let young players make mistakes so they can learn from them, benching them and making them a healthy scratch does nothing for them, or your team if they're a good player.
Sounds like whining and crying to me. See Exibit A: Beau Bennett. He seems to have found a way to stay in the line-up. Maybe Tangradi and Strait just weren't good enough to crack the line-up here.

I still believe that all of this shuffling who plays on D is for the purposes of further evaluation for a trade. We have Despres who can play now. Dumoulin will be ready next year, and maybe even Morrow and Harrington. I still believe at least 1 guy gets moved, and I think RS wants to further evaluate the 8 guys on the roster now to see who he can and can't move.

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03-13-2013, 09:57 AM
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pretty sure every one in the world that follows the pens that isn't DB thinks he should play every game.

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03-13-2013, 10:06 AM
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Darth Vitale
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D are going to be moved... you can assume all juggling of D pairs is ultimately motivated by that fact, while not the only motivation obviously. They're seeing who plays well together, who can afford to be moved, etc. I agree though that Elmer shouldn't see more than 2 or 3 scratches a month. He's clearly one of our top 3 defenders IMO. Hopefully all this nonsense with Eaton will result in him being added into a trade / not ending up as a plug for us going into the playoffs.

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03-13-2013, 10:06 AM
  #8
wgknestrick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plaidchuck View Post
Hopefully Engelland was just put in for "physicality", Eaton shouldn't be playing every game.
Physicality is nice and all, but win games, it does not. (Sorry for the Yoda lesson).

Sitting Depres for Engelland is the equivalent of sitting Letang for Orpik. We would never do that.

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03-13-2013, 10:09 AM
  #9
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Engelland has 170 games of NHL experience and has 10 years of professional hockey experience. He's been on Bylsma's team for going on 4 calendar years now.

Despres has 37 games of NHL experience and is in his 2nd year of pro hockey.

A coach is always going to favor guys with experience and the "I know what I'm gonna get out of this guy" factor.

Does it suck? Yeah, because you can only get game experience by playing in games. Despres will get there.

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03-13-2013, 10:20 AM
  #10
mrzeigler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgknestrick View Post
I want to try to keep this logical, factual, and to the point.

I "know" why he is being scratched, but also know that this reason does not follow any logic whatsoever, ie Bylsma logic. Depres has been IMO the 3rd best D man for the Pens to date this year, yet he falls down (I think he stepped on puck IIRC) on one play that leads to a goal against in the NYI game and is wiped from the lineup.

Areas of note:

Depres is 2nd on the team in +- rate behind Letang.

Depres has allowed the lowest GAA/60min of all Penguins D men. This shows that he is anything but a defensive liability.

Depres has the 3rd best zone start adjusted corsi among all Pens D men. When he is out there, the Pens are winning the possession battle. This indicates his other results should be maintainable and aren't driven by luck of save %s or shooting %s.

Depres has the 3rd highest goals for rate when he is on the ice. Pens are scoring at a high rate when he is out there. He probably isn't being shifted with the Pens top line either.

Depres has played against some of the toughest competition of all Penguins Dmen. It's not like he is only dominating scrub-ish 4th liners.

So after knowing all these things, please explain to me WHY Depres is being scratched......ever? Is one isolated mistake a significant enough mistake to completely ignore all the positives that Depres has provided the Pens to date?

I am still waiting for this Pens team to actually dress their best available team to see what they are capable of. They are constantly, intentionally handicapping themselves by not playing/dressing their best players. I could go on and on about this, but it is an alarming trend that shows the Pens can't properly evaluate their own players.

He's not our 7th-best Dman, but he is the most inexperienced Dman on the roster. It's pretty clear that the coaches are being careful not to throw too much at him at once. You and I and a bunch of people on this messageboard might believe he can handle more responsibility/playing time, but ... well, this team is leading our division by a LARGE margin and is neck-and-neck for the conference lead, so it's not like DB has to rush his development in order to secure a playoff berth.

Remember, management wanted to keep him in WB this season and DB fought to get him invited to training camp. Despite what you might perceive of DB's attitude toward Despres, I'm confident that he is among the biggest Despres fans in the organization.

But there are different approaches to dealing with rookies, and it's not uncommon for successful teams to make a rookie "earn" his playing time and set the "earning" bar higher for them than it might be set for a veteran who has built up goodwill in the organization by his performance over the years. If you "give" a rookie an abundance of ice team instead of having him "earn" it, there might be consequences re: attitudes of entitlement later on.

I expect you'll see Despres get increased ice time in the second half of this season. Will it be enough to prepare him to be a dominant force in the playoffs? Who knows? But then again, who can say that playing him every night would prepare him any better?

Bottom line: Weak, bad teams often rely on talented rookies because the coach has to if he hopes to keep his job. Experienced, talented teams tend to work in rookies and not use NHL games as learning experiences. How many times did Detroit start a 21-year-old player with regularity during their dominant run?

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Old
03-13-2013, 10:27 AM
  #11
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Also sitting rookies during the pre-trade deadline period is really a different thing entirely than trying to ice the best roster in the last 1/4 of the season and the playoffs.

You can't shop players in the press box, you know.

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03-13-2013, 10:29 AM
  #12
plaidchuck
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Originally Posted by HandshakeLine View Post
Also sitting rookies during the pre-trade deadline period is really a different thing entirely than trying to ice the best roster in the last 1/4 of the season and the playoffs.

You can't shop players in the press box, you know.
Only thing I can guess is maybe Despres isn't being shopped, probably Niskanen then?

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03-13-2013, 10:33 AM
  #13
MrBurgundy
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Do people honestly think Despres isn't as physical as Engelland? Maybe he doesn't fight, but he throws his body around just as much. I really wonder sometimes if people actually watch the games, or if they just listen to The Fan portraying our players to be something they really aren't.

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03-13-2013, 10:36 AM
  #14
plaidchuck
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Originally Posted by MrBurgundy View Post
Do people honestly think Despres isn't as physical as Engelland? Maybe he doesn't fight, but he throws his body around just as much. I really wonder sometimes if people actually watch the games, or if they just listen to The Fan portraying our players to be something they really aren't.
I hear ya, I know you have to dress the roster that matches your opponent the best, but I'm all about a meritocracy, the player performing best should get the nod nightly.

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03-13-2013, 10:42 AM
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Eaton has been playing very well, but it is a damn shame Despres has been a scratch. He's played his way into a top 4 role in my opinion. He has an amazing outlet pass and is physical in the corners.

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03-13-2013, 10:44 AM
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Eaton has looked slow to me in general but whatever works... if he ends up being our 7D in the playoffs I guess we could do worse. If he's in our Top 6 it's a bad sign IMO. He's not the player he was in 2009 and the coaches shouldn't assume that he is / rely on him in that regard.

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03-13-2013, 10:44 AM
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wgknestrick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBurgundy View Post
Do people honestly think Despres isn't as physical as Engelland? Maybe he doesn't fight, but he throws his body around just as much. I really wonder sometimes if people actually watch the games, or if they just listen to The Fan portraying our players to be something they really aren't.
Yep...Dude's a french tank IMO. I have looked and looked, and cannot find a single, legitimate hole in his game so far. He is a potential #2 IMO from what I have seen so far.

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03-13-2013, 10:48 AM
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There is no universe in which Despres isn't a top 4 defenseman on this team. He deserves to play every night and he deserves to play above Niskanen, but at least above Engelland, Eaton, and Bortuzzo.

He may make some mistakes, but he makes up for them and then some with his sheer talent. TBH he really isn't even making that many mistakes, and certainly not more than those 3 I listed above.

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03-13-2013, 10:54 AM
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wgknestrick
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Originally Posted by Chancellor Vitale View Post
Eaton has looked slow to me in general but whatever works... if he ends up being our 7D in the playoffs I guess we could do worse. If he's in our Top 6 it's a bad sign IMO. He's not the player he was in 2009 and the coaches shouldn't assume that he is / rely on him in that regard.
Eaton should be the 8th D man in a merit based, Penguins' world.

These guys are very, very close. You aren't going to gain/lose much by swapping their order:
Niskanen 7th
Bortz 6th
Engelland 5th
Orpik 4th

(Huge gap)

These guys are clearly ranked:
Depres #3
Martin #2
Letang #1

You surely don't see the ice-times or #scratches reflect this order

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03-13-2013, 10:55 AM
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If I'm being brutally honest about quality of play and consistency so far, and what I think they can bring come April / May / June if we're lucky:

1. Martin
2. Letang (been better lately, should take the #1 spot back soon)
3. Despres
4. Niskanen

Maybe that in itself suggests more depth is needed, but it's accurate IMO. Despres is (I agree) a Top 3 D on this team right now, with less than 50 games experience. Scary or not, it's accurate. What scares me more is who I'd rank 5th (Orpik)... because he's routinely on our first pairing. He has had some bad, bad games this year. Maybe it's an aberration but he's got me concerned, given his age and the style of game he's played all these years.

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03-13-2013, 11:01 AM
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plaidchuck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chancellor Vitale View Post
If I'm being brutally honest about quality of play and consistency so far, and what I think they can bring come April / May / June if we're lucky:

1. Martin
2. Letang (been better lately)
3. Despres
4. Niskanen

Maybe that in itself suggests more depth is needed, but it's accurate IMO. Despres is (I agree) a Top 3 D on this team right now, with less than 50 games experience. Scary or not, it's accurate. What scares me more is who I'd rank 5th (Orpik)... because he's routinely on our first pairing.
Yep Orpik again skating around staring into the distance after the first goal.. all he had to do was give a nudge and Fleury could see better. 2nd goal was just a mess.. whole lot of people standing around watching and Martin decides defending the half board was better than covering the slot.

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03-13-2013, 11:02 AM
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wgknestrick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chancellor Vitale View Post
If I'm being brutally honest about quality of play and consistency so far, and what I think they can bring come April / May / June if we're lucky:

1. Martin
2. Letang (been better lately, should take the #1 spot back soon)
3. Despres
4. Niskanen

Maybe that in itself suggests more depth is needed, but it's accurate IMO. Despres is (I agree) a Top 3 D on this team right now, with less than 50 games experience. Scary or not, it's accurate. What scares me more is who I'd rank 5th (Orpik)... because he's routinely on our first pairing. He has had some bad, bad games this year. Maybe it's an aberration but he's got me concerned, given his age and the style of game he's played all these years.
Bortz could replace Orpik and the Pens would not see one difference in wins/losses, GF or GA. I also think Bortz would make a great PKer. Our eyes match the stats.

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03-13-2013, 11:25 AM
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I'm holding out hope that he's simply not willing to throw him to the wolves and wants to give our bottom D as much rest as possible so that they're not drained for the playoffs.

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03-13-2013, 11:25 AM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBurgundy View Post
Do people honestly think Despres isn't as physical as Engelland? Maybe he doesn't fight, but he throws his body around just as much. I really wonder sometimes if people actually watch the games, or if they just listen to The Fan portraying our players to be something they really aren't.
And he takes hits really well too. I think it was the Islanders game where someone went to put up a big hit; I don't think Despres moved an inch, the other guy hit the ice hard. It was pretty awesome.


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Old
03-13-2013, 11:31 AM
  #25
Darth Vitale
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plaidchuck View Post
Yep Orpik again skating around staring into the distance after the first goal.. all he had to do was give a nudge and Fleury could see better. 2nd goal was just a mess.. whole lot of people standing around watching and Martin decides defending the half board was better than covering the slot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wgknestrick View Post
Bortz could replace Orpik and the Pens would not see one difference in wins/losses, GF or GA. I also think Bortz would make a great PKer. Our eyes match the stats.
And his trade value would still be pretty high IMO. We might be able to avoid severely overpaying in "futures" for a top-notch player, by including Orpik in a deal. Not sure if Anaheim would be interested or not. EDM for sure would be interested, but then you want to get a real player out of there (at worst, Hemsky), not Paajarvi, etc. Does Orpik + 1st yield one of their top players? I doubt it but stranger things have happened, and Whitney is as good as gone there so the need exists for them to get more physical on D / get someone with real playoff experience.

I don't know. Part of me doesn't like the idea. I want to believe he still has a good playoff run left in him but he's been really bad at times this year, and without an injury excuse or being tired to back it up.

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