If Smith stayed home and simplified his game, I feel like Hajek would have less high danger situations to defend. That said, Hajek has quite a few of his own foibles that add to the drama when the pair is defending. Hajek's strong suits: he is pretty darn good at recovering pucks in the corners and winning battles. He's a pretty nimble skater. He's got decent size and reach. And he's been a bit more physical this year than he's ever been. His stick-handling in tight spaces is also solid. He tends to play more conservative, which is almost required given his skill set, but he's smart enough to know this and he tends to be more risk averse as a result. Hajek's weaknesses: His gap control is inconsistent. He lacks a calmness when defending in high danger situations. He is particularly bad at 2 on 1s. Yes, he eliminates the pass. But his spacing is way off, he cheats over to the guy without the puck and every 2 on 1 he defends turns into a breakaway as the puck carrier is ceded the middle. He's below average with outlet passing and breakouts. He is tentative and his decision making isn't nearly as quick as it needs to be. He often telegraphs his passes. Smith, for as erratic as he is, still manages to make one fantastic stretch/outlet pass a game. Hajek needs 5 ft passes to succeed. Finally, Hajek in the offensive zone is very mediocre. His best moments in the offensive zone are when he pinches down the boards to support the cycle and keep the puck in. Again, good along the boards. In general, when the puck is on his stick, it feels like the game is just a bit too fast for him. He's been serviceable this season. I don't think his ceiling is particularly high at this point. I feel like on most teams he's not a regular bottom pairing D. He's a #7-8 or a AAAA player.