Saw these stats being shown in game during weekend. Was kind of surprised to see the difference in stats when Hamrlik has been playing and when he was absent for 7 games:
Stats for Dion w/o Hammer:
7g 1 + 2 -8 3-3-1
Stats for Dion w/ Hammer
32g 8 + 13 +19 17-12-3
Wondering if this is just coincidence because of tough opponents or does playing with Hammer really help Dion this big?
it helps all young players when you are playing with a veteran who is still playing well... Hammer is having a great year arguably the best of his career (defensively)... the games of him and Phaneuf just compliment each other perfectly... and there is also a big difference in playing with Hamrlik and a combination of Brad Ference and Andrew Ference during those 7 games Hamrlik was out
As a rule young defensemen struggle when not paired with solid veteran defenseman. Dion is great and all, but he needs Hamrlik while he learns the defensive side of the game. As Lunatik pointed out, playing with the Ference's doesn't help, but in a few years, Dion will be able to carry a pairing with one of those two.
The hammer drives the nail.... HAHAHa I made a funny. But seriously, its not surprising, Phanuef is obviously most comfortable when playing alongside Hamrlick, probably because Hamrlick knows what Phanuef is going to do, where as other guys might not, so it changes how phanuef might play the situation, and limit it.
Phaneuf has been put in a different situation than he was in last year. This time, he is putting in the spot of being a first line defender. It takes time. Phaneuf didn't suffer near as much minus Hamrlik last year, because expectations were not as high for him. His overall game is not as impressive as last year, because of the change in situations. He will learn. And when he does, he will be the kind of defenseman who makes those defenders playing with him better, rather than vise-versa.