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s13 - VHL Top Defenses (®)


 For the last couple seasons I have done in depth looks at positional groupings. The first one was on the first line forwards of the league and last year I looked at the young goaltenders of the VHL and AHL. This season I did my research on the top 6 defenders on each team. I did the research after the first game of the season and used the defensive core at that time. I made exceptions for several teams that had a injury that kept a player that should have been in the line-up out of it.

I used 8 stats that were all weighted equally. I used CK, DI, SK, ST, PH, PA, SC, and DF. I understand that the other ratings are pretty useful at certain times, but those eight are the ones that I would deem are most cherished in defenders.

I also had no idea the outcome of this entire little project before I started it and was shocked by the results. I also have not made any adjustments to ratings that might have gone up or down so far. I also have not made any adjustments due to trades. I do believe that some defensive corps might play higher than these ratings show and some worse.

After my lengthy, but necessary intro, I will be looking at the Central Divisions defenders. A lot of people like to beat up on the Central for somewhat justifiable reasons. They have no real elite clubs, and they get the shit beat out of them by the Pacific, at least over that last number of seasons. The division was represented in the VHL Finals last year and  have some teams on the rise. I will say that the defenders in the Central are lacking a little. There is elite talent in places and some young guys coming up, but most don’t have great depth all the way through the top 6. Let’s take a look.

6) Kansas City Scouts (25th in the league)

V. Konstantinov, M. Rathje, F. Kuba, B. Robertsson, L. Visnovsky, N. Havelid

CK(79.2) DI(68.5) SK(78.5) ST(85.8) PH(72.2) SC(53.8) DF (75.7)

Now this is a team with a lot of moving parts with guys coming in and out of the lineup. They will also have two youngsters coming up very shortly that will raise this up. But for the most part this is a very young and talented group and the sky is the limit for them. It has long been said that this group will be build from the goalie out. They have their goalie and a lot of young talented defenders. The team should really hit their stride when you see the forward group develop.

5) Milwaukee Admirals (24th in the league)

P. Svoboda, J. Smith, J. Reekie, B. Rouse, J. Whooley, D. Tanabe

CK(76.5) DI(68) SK(76.5) ST(83.7) PH(81.7) PA(76) SC(58.7) DF(81)

The Admirals have themselves a couple studs, a younger guy, and a couple serviceable guys. Svoboda proves to be one of the better defenders in the league year in and year out. He does it at both ends of the ice and also doesn’t take many penalties. Jason Smith is the perfect number 2 guy. He also has a great all around game eat up minutes. If the four guys behind these guys were really any better they would vault up this list. Bob Rouse skates like he has lead shin guards. Tanabe is still young and developing into a solid 2nd pairing guy. Free agent pickup Jason Whooley does lots right but doesn’t excel in any category. And Joe Reekie is essentially the same but worse. They have a solid foundation, just need a couple more building blocks.

4) Detroit Red Wings (23rd in the league)

D. Manson, N. Lidstrom, J. More, K. Timonen, S. Chambers, J. Huscroft

CK(77.7) DI(53.5) SK(77.2) ST(85.7) PH(87.3) PA(78.5) SC(71.2) DF(72.7)

Detroit just beats out the Admirals, but not for long. Manson is the best player of the group and is in the last year of his contract. The team has more offensively gifted defenders than defensive ones. Lidstrom is one of the better defenders in the league. He is a solid mix of grit and offensive prowess. He isn’t elite in his own end but makes up for it in other aspects of his game. They have one of the worse groups in terms of taking penalties. Manson, More and Huscroft pretty much take up permanent residence in the sin bin. Timonen has the makings of a solid offensive defender that the team can build around during the rebuild.

3) Chicago Blackhawks (22nd in the league)

K. Daneyko, S. Hannen, D. McGillis, E. Weinrich, R. Klesla, M. Tichy

CK(78.5) DI(72.2) SK(74.8) ST(86.2) PH(82.5) PA(73.7) SC(60.3) DF(77.8)

There is a decent amount of talent in this defensive corp. Daneyko leads the group with a great ratings in both offensive and defensive categories. He does like to hack and slash but that is overlooked by being awesome in every other way, other than the shitty skating. Hannen is looking for a future stud that is still a couple years away from being elite, but at the moment is a great number 2 guy. Youngster Klesla is the “weak” link in the group but that is mostly due to low scoring numbers. Tichy and Weinrich are great offensive defenders and McGillis is a good jack of all trades. They could use an upgrade or two but the group will get the job done.

2) Minnesota Wild (21st in the league)

F. Musil, K. Rachunek, S. Chiasson, D. Kasperaitis, B. Wilkie, J. Leopold

CK(75.3) DI(71.7) SK(75.5) ST(86) PH(83.2) PA(74.8) SC(62.7) DF(80)

The Stanley Cup runner-up comes in with the second best corp of the division, with their top defender playing 7th D minutes. Good DF numbers outside of Wilkie, who excels at the not taking penalties and offensively. Everyone else is just solid all around. Musil likes to take some penalties, but the for the most part the group takes good care to stay out of the box. The most exciting part should be the youngster Jordan Leopold. He plays great in his own end and is developing quite well offensively. If Charlie could find the cure to having his defenders staying off IR he will be set.

1) St. Louis Blue (19th in the league)

A. Iafrate, S. Quintal, G. Smith, R. Dirk, S. Hnidy, D. Boyle

CK(81) DI(69.3) SK(78.7) ST(85.5) PH(80.8) PA(76.2) SC(62.3) DF(80.3)

The best defenders of the Central are here. Not the best players but the best overall group. The recent additions of Smith and Quintal are underrated. Smith was one of the best pickups of the offseason in my opinion. There is not elite talent in the group but they have a solid top 4 in Iafrate, Quiintal, Smith and Boyle. Hnidy is younger and getting better, and Dirk is a serviceable 3rd pairing guy. They have a solid group and all players should be returning based on resigning of pending free agents.

Thanks for reading and I plan on having the other divisions out in the coming weeks. I will try to get it out quicker so the information might still be relevant. It will really depend on how long it takes to finish this damn bathroom reno.

WC 1214

Matt George

None this matters when you have the lowest goals against and the best PK.

s13 - VHL Top Defenses (®)
Central Division

• 0 teams Like this  10 months
Matt George So, you have on and off math powers, interesting.
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