Stickhandling ability of the 2018 defenseman class

Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by Frk It, Aug 15, 2017.

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  1. Frk It

    Frk It From Z to Z

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    I can't ever remember a draft that had 4-5 guys that can do what Dahlin, Boqvist, Hughes, Merkley, Smith can do with the puck (as far as defenseman go). These kids embarrass people with the puck on their sticks on the blue line, and handle the puck like a forward.

    I know this has been discussed a bit, but I just find it really impressive, and I hope this is a trend that comtinues with future drafts.
     
  2. ijuka

    ijuka Registered User

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    I too really enjoy the focus towards more offensive defensemen. It's a relatively wasted position in NHL at this point in time.
     
  3. bossram

    bossram Registered User

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    Agreed. Teams are still stuck in some outdated mindset where "you can only have one offensive defenseman because...reasons!"

    Why not just have six guys who can skate, move the puck, create offense and just shred your opponents?
     
  4. WPG99

    WPG99 Registered User

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    I think this is not only the best stick Handling draft for D-men in recent memory but D-Men themself.

    Merkley is probably the best OHL Prospect since Ekblad(might of even went ahead of him in 2014, meaning he's the best since Hedman), Hughes looks to be on the brink of a Franchise level Defender with his offensive skills and defensive skills for his size(Karlsson esque), Boqvist as well although I think Hughes has a decent edge over Boqvist as I see Boqvist as a future No.1 D/ Elite D-men and finally Dahlin, he's the most polished D-man(for his age) I've ever seen and has more Offensive upside than a majority of 1st Round Forwards(as well as Merkley, Hughes and Boqvist but they lack the all around game and size Dahlin has). And I didn't even mention the Defensive D-Men Elite Talents... Jeez, this draft looks stunning for any team looking for a solid blueliner(cause what your gonna get is a great Blueliner). Easily the best hands in recent memory for D-men and likely Skating as well, along with just D-men in total.
     
  5. ijuka

    ijuka Registered User

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    Yep. And "an offensive defenseman" doesn't even have to be bad at defending or being physical. That's just being a complete defenseman.

    When we think about centers for instance, there are plenty of 40-50 point guys who just are good at their role, both in defense and offense, despite not being elite. For defensemen, on the other hand, we have so many incomplete defensemen with glaring weaknesses and very few with an actually well-rounded, complete game. I really hope this will shift for the better in the future.
     
  6. bossram

    bossram Registered User

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    It's a false dichotomy.

    "Defensive" defenseman are also not particularly useful. They have a glaring weakness as well: they are deficient at half of the game. Yet teams are fine with filling their rosters with them.

    The game is about margins. A guy may be weak defensively, offensively, whatever, but if he helps drive goal differentials, then it's a net positive. There are certainly more offensive-oriented defensemen who can drive goal differentials, who are being passed over because they are perceived as being "too risky".
     
  7. derriko

    derriko Registered User

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    Every team is looking for the next Karlsson now.

    Basically carried a team to the ECF as an offensive defenseman.

    Not surprised to see more emphasis on that side of the puck in development.
     
  8. LeafingTheWay

    LeafingTheWay Registered User

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    IMO it's not offensive D-men teams should be looking for, it's transition D-men (D-men that have make smart plays 95% of the time like a tiny pass to a breaking out forward/stretch pass/skate it out) under pressure. Think of D-men like Karlsson, Subban, Stralman, Lidstrom, Gardiner, etc). They don't have to be good in the offensive game to be a good transition D-men but the offense usually comes along naturally due to their puck-handling skills.

    In today's game, you want the puck asap from d-zone to o-zone.
     
  9. McNurse

    McNurse Registered User

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    This is exactly why next years dmen class looks so good, so many guys who can start a breakout and be good at starting the play or breaking up a play
     
  10. BonAppleTea

    BonAppleTea Registered User

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    Yes the transition game is what makes someone like Karlsson so great. There is no better way of defending than getting the puck all the way to the other side of the ice in one pass. I think the faster transition game will be a lot of fun when all these new very skilled puck movers start to ease their way into the league
     
  11. Frk It

    Frk It From Z to Z

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  12. AD1066

    AD1066 Registered User

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    I think you nailed it. I'm not a a Leafs fan but have long held that someone like Gardiner is underrated and generally one of the most important players on the ice. Players like him don't put up the point totals of elite offensive d-men, but are breakout and transition machines that tilt the ice in their team's favor.

    Very excited for this draft class, especially given where I expect my Wings to end up.
     
  13. OilTastic

    OilTastic Embrace The Hate

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    another thing i notice too is that there seems to be a lot of valuable offensive RD available in this coming draft, and that could fill a lot of team's holes on that side. Boqvist, Merkley, Woo, Wilde, Evan Bouchard, Xavier Bouchard, Addison....great to see this !
     
  14. Rzombo4 prez

    Rzombo4 prez Registered User

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    I absolutely agree with your assessment. Retrieval and movement is without question the name of the game in today's NHL. While there are certainly exceptions, I feel that a lot of the skills that offensive defensemen have (particularly skills related to passing and vision) tend to be beneficial in this pursuit.
     
  15. Maitz

    Maitz Kotka Nation

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    Last time I can remember seing so much good D in a draft is in 2008 but I feel like this year it's the first time there is so much good PMD.
     
  16. STLBLUES44

    STLBLUES44 The real KLIM SHADY

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    exactly, i'd put hjalmarsson, pietrangelo and some others in that category as well
     
  17. ijuka

    ijuka Registered User

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    Good post. This is probably the most important thing for a defenseman. The thing with offensive defensemen just tends to be that they also are very good at transition play.

    If your defensemen cannot transition the play properly, how good your forwards are barely even matters. It's very tough to get the flow of the game turned around.
     

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