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What does the D look like when it's healthy?

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Old
12-13-2006, 10:27 AM
  #1
JakeM
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What does the D look like when it's healthy?

So what does the D look like once everyone is healthy?

There are 9 defensemen in play right now:

Berard, Bryan
Eriksson, Anders
Foote, Adam
Hainsey, Ron
Johnson, Aaron
Klesla, Rostislav
Novak, Filip
Tollefsen, Ole-Kristian
Westcott, Duvie

Obviously, when Foote gets back Novak goes back down. Also obviously, Foote, Klesla, Duvie and Hainsey arenít going anywhere. That leaves four guys for three roster spots (Iím assuming they will carry an extra defenseman). Iím pretty sure AJ would have to clear waivers, so heís got a spot and I like the toughness OK has displayed, so I would say keep him. Now thereís no point in keeping young defensemen up and not playing them, so whoever takes the last spot is going to end up not dressing most of the time. I canít see Berard putting up with that, so Eriksson gets the last spot; I can live with him as a depth guy. The question then becomes what to do with Berard. They wonít get much for him since he hasnít played in a year, but his contract will be up at the end of the year so someone might be willing to part with a fifth rounder on the chance he offers some offensive upside down the stretch. Or they could try assigning him to Syracuse, with the potential outcomes being either he doesnít clear waivers, he does and is an expensive AHLer for a few months, or he refuses to report and doesnít get paid.

Heís the only unknown in the mix at this time, and given how the D has played since Hitch arrived I canít imagine why they would want to take a chance on him. Of course the point may end up being somewhat moot as he wonít be cleared until the end of January and will probably need a lengthy conditioning stint in the ĎCuse. By then weíll know a lot more about where this team is headed.

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12-13-2006, 10:31 AM
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CBJSlash
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Tough Call

Hainsey - Foote
Klesla - Westcott
Eriksson - Tollefson/AJ

I am not counting on seeing Berard this year.

Eriksson is playing too good not to stay in the lineup so it is a toss between Tollefson and AJ for me. Tollefson is playing so well that I have to give him the nod. However if they want to keep everyone playing, sending Tollefson down and playing AJ is fine by me.

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12-13-2006, 10:42 AM
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JakeM
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Originally Posted by CBJSlash View Post
I am not counting on seeing Berard this year.
I certainly don't want to wish injury on anyone, but that would probably be the best case scenario at this point. No controversy, no disruption, zero potential for locker room drama (probably a low risk anyway, but you never know).

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12-13-2006, 10:45 AM
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You know, this isn't a bad problem to have.

I think Tollefson is playing well but I also think Johnson's game is really improving. Anders has played much better than I could have expected. Klesla is a no brainer, he's playing well, hitting great and not going anywhere. Berard I doubt will be ready this season, and if he is I imagine at least for the remainder of this season he would be a shadow of his former self due to lack of playing for such a long time.

With everyone's game coming around right now it's hard to pick who would sit and who would play. Hainsey has stepped it up. Novak even looks decent for only playing a couple of games with the big club this season. Foote still doesn't impress me the way he should, but that doesn't mean he's playing horrible, he's just not living up to the hype and I still don't know why he plays PP minutes, maybe he'll do that less from here on out. I wonder how Duvie will play once he's back...

I think for sure Novak ends up back in Syracuse but with "typical" type ongoing injuries I don't think Johnson or Tollefson will play too many more games with the Crunch this season. I'd really prefer to see both of them continue to play every night.

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12-13-2006, 10:56 AM
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Klesla - Westcott
Hainsey - Foote
Eriksson - Johnson
Tollefsen

Novak back down to Syracuse

Depending on when Berard returns (if he returns), trading him out east might not be such a bad idea. Atlanta, Carolina and the Islanders appear to me like they be one offensive-defensman away from greater success.

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12-13-2006, 11:25 AM
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The trade deadline is at the end of February. Berard will hardly have any games played at that point (if any) and will be a tough trade given his health and lack of playing.

That leaves us with the only option of playing him or keeping him up and scratching him (why?)

I love OKT, but I think he and AJ will have to go down to make room on the roster. I would prefer to keep OKT as we need some grit on the D-line. Can't have everyone be offensive minded back there.

Does AJ need to clear waivers for sure? Again, that close to the deadline teams will be wanting a solid D-man for their 3rd pairing who has his skills. Hate to lose him that way.....

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12-13-2006, 11:34 AM
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No way Tollefsen sits...he brings alot more than defense back there...besides his hitting he is not afraid to drop the gloves and stick up for this teammates and goalie. We absolutely need his presence back there. He has been the surprise of the year for me.

Unfortunately if everyone is healthy I think AJ gets the seat but its just a numbers game as he has played terrific as well the whole 'D' has for the most part. Of course it all starts with saves the goalie should make and the forwards helping out.

I'm not worried its a long season and more injuries are innevitable -- its great having depth and its fantastic to see guys like OK/AJ/Hainsey/Klesla playing big minutes in key points of the game. Everyone will get their ice time under Hitch as long as they perform like they should.

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12-13-2006, 11:37 AM
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No way I can see Berard playing this year, he's going to need a lot of conditioning. Add the fact that there's always at least one defenseman on the IR at any given time, and with one healthy scratch for a defenseman each game and that should take care of business. If we really need to drop someone, it would have to be AJ. I like the guy and everything, but he's relatively expendable considering the rest of the lineup. Novak looked better last night, he's obviously tasked with keeping things simple, but showed a couple flashes that made me sit up and take notice.

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12-13-2006, 11:50 AM
  #9
leesmith
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Depth on defense - check.
Depth at forward - check.
Depth in net - check.

All of the players are competing for playing time. Hate to say it, but good job GMDM.

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12-13-2006, 12:05 PM
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To clarify, the main reason I think trading Berard is a good option at this point is that it will clear up 2.5 million of cap space to add rental players, not because I think he's going to net us something all that great in return.

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12-13-2006, 12:09 PM
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JakeM
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Iím surprised to see Eriksson being ranked ahead of AJ; heís OK in his own end, but heís lethal (in a bad way) in the offensive zone. Iíve never seen anyone whiff on so many shots, and when he does make contact he almost never hits the net. He also tends to be high, and I cringe every time there are guys down low and he unloads. Iím not convinced heís a defensive upgrade over AJ, but he is definitely much worse from the CBJ blueline out.

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12-13-2006, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeM View Post
I’m surprised to see Eriksson being ranked ahead of AJ; he’s OK in his own end, but he’s lethal (in a bad way) in the offensive zone. I’ve never seen anyone whiff on so many shots, and when he does make contact he almost never hits the net. He also tends to be high, and I cringe every time there are guys down low and he unloads. I’m not convinced he’s a defensive upgrade over AJ, but he is definitely much worse from the CBJ blueline out.
Disagree completely, Eriksson has been one of our best offensive defensemen for the season. He makes solid breakout passes and can carry the puck into the zone with momentum. He has 12 assists on the year, which is 2nd on the entire team. He also leads the team with a +5. Johnson has 4 points on the year.

I have been impressed to no end by Bubba's performance lately.

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Old
12-13-2006, 03:14 PM
  #13
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Am I the only one who is more than a little worried about Berard's -29 last year in only 44 games? I know, early in the year the team sucked, but it still bothers me. The D looks pretty good now (and frankly, hasn't been too bad all season). I wonder what the dynamics would be if/when Berard returns this year.

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12-13-2006, 03:17 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGMBJfan View Post
Am I the only one who is more than a little worried about Berard's -29 last year in only 44 games? I know, early in the year the team sucked, but it still bothers me. The D looks pretty good now (and frankly, hasn't been too bad all season). I wonder what the dynamics would be if/when Berard returns this year.
Believe me your are not the only one worried.

Beleive this though -- Hitch will play to this guys strengths more than a guy like GG did. So look for BB to see mountains of PP time but limited PK and even strength minutes.

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12-13-2006, 11:51 PM
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Berard is on IR...I don't see him coming off IR in the *forseeable future* no problem should something unforseen happen (beyond the short injury certainty) then maybe we start having to worry about the cap. Right now, even cap issues look to be positive and happy possibilities, but still possibilities too remote to bother our little heads with.

Do we know what AJ's contract is? or OK's?


Last edited by Pluckfur: 12-13-2006 at 11:56 PM.
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12-14-2006, 12:16 AM
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DentonFreeman
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If we're healthy with our current guys and they can play at the level last seen from them (that's a nod to Berard) I say we dress Foote, Klesla, Hainsey, Berard, Johnson, Westcott, and Erikkson. Remember that Johnson's contract is a one-way so I don't think we can send him down without clearing waivers, that's why I have him on the team and OK down in the 'cuse. No way does Johnson clear waivers so we keep him on the big team. So basically with those guys I'm saying:

Foote-Hainsey
Westcott-Berard
Klesla-Erikkson
Johnson

However I highly doubt Berard can play to the level he played at before his back problems, and I actually doubt he plays at all this year for us, so in that case I go:

Foote-Hainsey
Klesla-Westcott
Johnson/OK-Erikkson
Johnson/OK

I'm a fan of keeping seven defensemen on the active roster. Whether we dress seven is a different story, mainly depends on how many forwards we're dressing for the game.


Last edited by DentonFreeman: 12-14-2006 at 12:42 AM. Reason: Adding another dmen chart and amending a statement
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12-14-2006, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DentonFreeman View Post
If we're healthy with our current guys and they can play at the level last seen from them (that's a nod to Berard) I say we dress Foote, Klesla, Hainsey, Berard, Johnson, Westcott, and Erikkson. Remember that Johnson's contract is a one-way so I don't think we can send him down without clearing waivers, that's why I have him on the team and OK down in the 'cuse. No way does Johnson clear waivers so we keep him on the big team.

However I highly doubt Berard can play to the level he played at before his back problems, so in that case I go:

Foote-Hainsey
Klesla-Westcott
Johnson/OK-Erikkson
Johnson/OK

I'm a fan of keeping seven defensemen on the active roster. Whether we dress seven is a different story, mainly depends on how many forwards we're dressing for the game.
In that case, I think i'm going to have to say I find your logic flawless on who and how many Dmen to keep active.

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12-14-2006, 12:44 AM
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In all honesty, I'd rather Berard not play this season unless he's 100% and in shape. I'd hate to see our chemistry go down the tubes just to add him to the active roster. But I don't make the decision and Hitch will only play the guys that can play the way he expects them to.

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12-14-2006, 12:55 AM
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In all honesty, unless the cap becomes an issue or a trade can be made ... Berard stays on IR OR, see's limited duty on special teams. Although, to be fair... I think Hitch could help his game but I fear his vision and his back are going to be ongoing problems.

I guess I should also state that I had similar reservations about Ray Whitney and his bad back. Clearly, that was worry not worth wasting my time with as Ray has a great career post his back problems. so... who ever really knows?

Then there's the opposite with Daze and who knows about Bert. It's a crap shoot with backs.

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12-14-2006, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Pluckfur View Post
Then there's the opposite with Daze and who knows about Bert. It's a crap shoot with backs.
Ya, I got kneed in the back recovering a fumble in a football game in 8th grade and I could barely walk for a week. I felt like I couldn't do anything at times and it was a pain just to put my socks on. A month later and my back still hurt, albeit not nearly as bad. Trying to sit up at a school assembly on that damn gym floor was really difficult, I'd have to get up and act like I was going to the bathroom when all I wanted was to sit somewhere and get some support on my back. We saw a doctor and had MRI's done and all that, he said that I could have surgery to repair it but that the pain would go away on it's own eventually. If I did have the surgery I could be out for a long time or a short time depending on how my back took to it. We decided not to go through with the surgery because it'd take me out of too much school and hockey. Fast forward a year and my back didn't hurt constantly anymore, but there were times when it would just crop back up. Usually happened when I was doing squats in the weight room or doing some sort of ab workout. Now I'm 20 and that lower part of my back is still getting to me at times, although I may feel it maybe once a month, if that. Of course it could just be my head telling myself it hurts, who knows.

So basically what I'm saying is that back injuries suck. Damn things don't go away sometimes and it can get really frustrating. I can imagine what Berard is going through right now with his back, it sucks not to know what the heck is going on and when it's going to heal. At least with an ACL tear or other serious injury there's a timeline. With a back you're constantly in and out of places trying to get things fixed and hoping to hear some good news. This country needs nano machines that can instantly heal any injury I'm tellin ya... Our highly paid athletes need 'em.

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Old
12-14-2006, 07:26 AM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Top Shelf View Post
Believe me your are not the only one worried.

Beleive this though -- Hitch will play to this guys strengths more than a guy like GG did. So look for BB to see mountains of PP time but limited PK and even strength minutes.
This is true.....and my sensitive side tells me he will be back. I hope so because even with his faults on defense he will give us an additional weapon on our PP.

The best thing we have going right now on our defense is depth....we are winning with three starting defenseman out, the ice time the replacements are getting is invaluable....either this year or next that depth will produce wins in the playoffs...

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12-14-2006, 07:46 AM
  #22
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Berard should stay. If we can continue to play as well as we are right now and put ourselves in playoff position he is lethal on the PP and would be a huge benefit down the stretch not to mention in the playoffs. With as many penalties being called as there are he would get enough time on the ice in PP time

I also don't think his -100 or whatever it was was really that indicative of his play. He had a lot of pressure and little support in our end early last year. He was one of the few able to jump into the play to generate offensive opportunities with Nash out.

Personally, I think this would allow us to trade Erickson who has much higher trade value at this point. He's been solid of late and I'm not saying trade him because I don't like him but we can replace his minutes. OK has been excellent and so has AJ in my opinion. AJ can't be sent down without going through waivers so he's not going down because we would lose him.

Berard and Erickson are both gone next year anyway and Erickson's salary is also attractive.

My hope would be (for the playoffs )

Klesla, Hainsey
Foote, Westcott
Berard, OK
AJ - extra

Fairly balanced and the big 4 to consume big minutes.

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Old
12-14-2006, 04:11 PM
  #23
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i am a berard fan he is my favorite d-man in the league 'cept maybe chara

foote-klesla
berard-westcott
hainsey-tollefson
A.J.

down to 'cuse
eriksson
novak


Last edited by Wisnutsen21: 12-14-2006 at 04:19 PM.
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Old
12-14-2006, 04:18 PM
  #24
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Originally Posted by JakeM View Post
Iím surprised to see Eriksson being ranked ahead of AJ; heís OK in his own end, but heís lethal (in a bad way) in the offensive zone. Iíve never seen anyone whiff on so many shots, and when he does make contact he almost never hits the net. He also tends to be high, and I cringe every time there are guys down low and he unloads. Iím not convinced heís a defensive upgrade over AJ, but he is definitely much worse from the CBJ blueline out.
i agree 100% eriksson can not hold the point although he has been better lately... i rank tollefson and a.j. over him

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ananasi View Post
No way I can see Berard playing this year, he's going to need a lot of conditioning. Add the fact that there's always at least one defenseman on the IR at any given time, and with one healthy scratch for a defenseman each game and that should take care of business. If we really need to drop someone, it would have to be AJ. I like the guy and everything, but he's relatively expendable considering the rest of the lineup. Novak looked better last night, he's obviously tasked with keeping things simple, but showed a couple flashes that made me sit up and take notice.
berard is an asset to our powerplay and WILL be back if not this year than next year i would drop bubba before i'd drop a.j.

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12-14-2006, 04:24 PM
  #25
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Originally Posted by cbjshelly45 View Post
berard is an asset to our powerplay and WILL be back if not this year than next year i would drop bubba before i'd drop a.j.
His contract is up at the end of this year. He will not be back - bank it.

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