Honest question, why are many 30+ Defensemen struggling

Discussion in 'National Hockey League Talk' started by slapKing, Feb 21, 2021.

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  1. Tairy Greene Registered User

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    I think weve seen a similar percentage of good forwards fall off a cliff in their 30s. Its becoming a young mans league and weaknesses are exposed a little more on defense.
     
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  2. BHD Global Moderator

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    Brian Dumoulin has struggled over the past couple seasons, and he's 29.
     
  3. The Panther Registered User

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    It's an interesting question. I had not noticed that veteran D were struggling more than before, but maybe the OP is onto something... Hmmm.

    Well, in general, I think the NHL had veered back towards a more youth-driven game since about 2015 or so (vaguely speaking), especially in terms of star forwards who drive teams.

    The period that saw the youngest line-ups of starters and stars was probably the early-mid-1980s, which -- not coincidentally -- was a high-scoring period. Young guys vs. young guys tends to result in less defence and more scoring. And more scoring means defensemen look worse.

    So, perhaps, it's just a matter of slightly slower (read: older) D-men struggling more with the young, super-fast players of today.

    (That said, a 36-year-old won the Norris in 2019, and an almost-44-year-old is still getting nearly 20 minutes per game today.)
     
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  4. Bank Shot Registered User

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    Giordano is a bad example. He had his best year at 35. Burns had his best years in his 30s as well. Chara and Keith both good into their 30s.

    I feel like the current generation just isn't as good as the couple of last eras of guys like Bourque, Lidstrom, Pronger, Coffey, Chelios, etc.

    Those guys won multiple Norris's. Pronger won a Hart.

    I think another part of it, is that there is a smaller gap between the best and the worst players now. Once salaries exploded in the 90's hockey stopped being as much of a kid's game and more of a hockey player assembly plant.

    You now see kids funneled into super elite programs at the age of 8-9 where they play hockey and work on hockey development year round.
     
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  5. KT7 Registered User

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    I think the reality of this is the fact that when you're competitive, you're 4 defenseman and 2 others to help you get a break. Top forwards receive less ice time than top defenseman. Especially outside of the top 3 forwards. Defense takes a lot of damage eating pucks, quick pivots, misdirections and all the vulnerable corner positions (retrieving pucks with an attacking forward).

    Signed,

    Currently below bottom level beer league former defenseman
     
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  6. JT Kreider FIRE GORDIE CLARK

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    Hell one of my last days as a 29 year old I played a full 40 minute game without a single shift off because our team was missing a few players. I was like Seth Jones in that 5OT game.

    And then on my birthday I woke up and I could barely run a mile without almost collapsing.

    I think a better question for this thread is why is the prime of most players getting younger and younger with each generation?
     
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  7. Hockeyman999 5th line center

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    It's unbelievable that ek has won the Norris twice. Guy has fallen off the cliff completely.
     
  8. Amazinmets73 Registered User

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    I'm 33 and feel better than ever. If you avoid injuries and take proper care of yourself early to mid 40s are when men experience steep decline.
     
  9. hotcabbagesoup #BrokenVeneers4BENIERS #FREEMelnichuk

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  10. Amazinmets73 Registered User

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  11. Raccoon Jesus President of Vilardi Fan Club

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  12. JT Kreider FIRE GORDIE CLARK

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    That TB12 regiment
     
  13. Porkleaker Registered User

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    Wear and tear, especially playing hockey. A lot of the injuries add up over time and that's why players get paid the big bucks! I noticed the same thing but it was exactly when I hit 40, so I guess I got lucky lol.
     
  14. PatrikBerglund Registered User

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    The pace of the game and the speed of the individual players are much higher today, than it was only 20 years ago.

    Many 30+ players who used to be able to make quick decisions withing the split second they had, now have to make them 0,1 second earlier - and can't do it.

    Also, going up against the incredibly fast young players coming up, reveals their weaknessness even more.

    Nick Lidstrom at age 40 would have huge trouble in today's NHL, while he was still Norris-worthy at age 40 when he was active.

    The game changes and all players can't cut it.
     
  15. Civetty Registered User

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    I mean that is what injuries do. Not only do you have to fight against your physical disablities, but you also have to fight against the demons inside of your head of knowing you don't performing as well. People may laugh and joke about EK etc, but I honestly just find it sad.
     
  16. majormajor Registered User

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    The OP's list are exceptional players compared to regular D-men, sure. But it's also just a list of the best D-men from a whole generation. From Langway in 1984 until Chara in 2009, every Norris winner was on OP's list except for Rod Blake, who was also great in his 30s. Elite D-men in that era did maintain an astonishingly elite level well into their 30s.

    If you look at the Norris winners since then, some have aged wonderfully but you also have Karlsson, Subban, and Doughty. All three are crap as they enter their 30s.
     
  17. Garl Registered User

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    What's so unbelievable? He had really bad injuries and lost his skating

    Not to mention psychological issues after the loss of their child and the whole exodus from Ottawa
     
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  18. Garl Registered User

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    This is based on some weird theory you have in your head honestly. Lidstrom would challenge for Norris at 40 in todays NHL just like he did 10 years ago
     
  19. OrrNumber4 Registered User

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    Partly, the type of game is the reason. Many of the greats you listed played precise, controlled hockey, facilitating the offense. Players like Karlsson and Doughty are rovers, jumping in and igniting the offense.

    The latter sale is more reliant on physical tools and is more taxing.
     
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  20. teravaineSAROS Registered User

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    It's interesting how in the UFC becoming a champion at around 30 is the norm. My guess is that the wear & tear hockey players go through makes your body break down sooner.

    Another thing I've noticed is that hockey has exploded as far as talent goes. A lot of countries are producing more talent than ever like Sweden (quantity wise), Finland, Switzerland, USA and Germany. If a league becomes more competitive you're just not gonna stand out as much.
     
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  21. leafs94 Registered User

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    Not sure which ones are struggling?

    Brodie and Bogosian have been great for the Leafs, in the past Ron Hainsey was very good late in his 30s on the Leafs.

    Good defensemen should be solid till mid 30 at the minimum
     
  22. SotasicA Registered User

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    It's normal. Back in the 70's and 80's, being thirty was already very old. Players were younger than today, and plenty of teenagers on all teams. You couldn't really keep up past 30.

    Then at some point in the 90's, 35 became the new 30. Players played longer, teams were older. And that went on for a good 25 years. A whole generation. Now it's getting back to the old normal.
     
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  23. leafs94 Registered User

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    And to add to my point the parity in the league makes it seem like really good defensemen aren't very good. Like for example, if Doughty or Duncan Keith were still on very good contender level teams like the guys listed in OP they would stand out more
    Being a good defensemen is more cerebral and timing based, no reason why guys shouldn't be able to play till like 34 if they are actually a world class level defenseman, Karlsson being the exception because of his injuries
     
  24. Tobias Kahun Registered User

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    I just turned 30, all down hill from here.
     
  25. dlawong Registered User

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    Besides being slow down due to the accumulated effects from multiple injuries, could the decline of on ice performance of these D also due to a shift in priorities when they turn 30 and thus less focused on their individual game performance? Maybe some D's over 30 started to spent more time with their family and become more invested in improving their finance and investment and may also tried avoid bad injuries in late stage of their career in order to prolong their pro life and still able to retire healthy. Also they may lose their in game focus due to being more engaged in off ice activities such as community and political events. As a forward you just can't get away with taking the game easy or have too many nights off because once you stop contributing to the scoring you will be out of the pro league real soon as it is much faster to develop forwards than defenseman. Also by nature playing defense position is less exciting than playing offense and over the career one may just lose the passion for the game. Playoff is a different beast though. It may bring back that excitement and renew their passion.

    I recalled that when one of my friends in the old days turned 30, he called me up suddenly revealing he is depressed as he just realized that he has not got to where he really wants to be. I think when a man turns 30, many of them kinds woke up and see their life differently.

    Of course there will be some exceptions as some men do mature quite early and take their life real seriously at an younger age and there are those who are possessive at always being the best. Pro athletes in general are more mature as well as they do leave home much earlier.
     

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