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S13- VHL Top Defences (®)

2019-09-09

This is the second part of the four part look into the defensive corps of the VHL. The disclaimer of why and how I came up with the rankings is in the previous article. Let’s rock and roll.

6) Montreal Canadiens (26th in the league)

K. Carney, B. Salvador, C. Hulse, S. Sanderson, F. Beauchemin, J-M Liles

CK(68.8) DI(72.7) SK(80) ST(79.8) PH(72.2) PA(72.3) SC(54.8) DF (72.7)

It should not be terribly shocking that this defensive corp is bottom of the league at least ratings wise. They just moved a great young defender in Mattais Ohlund. The team is at the beginning of a long rebuild process. Keith Carney is the best of the group and the others are serviceable, but no stars leave them at the bottom. The good thing is that two of the 6 are part of the solution. Both Liles and Beauchemin should develop into good or great VHL defenders. And also a massive shout out to he Canadiens for their start of the season.

5) Boston Bruins (20th in the league)

A. Zhitnik, T. Kaberle, S. Gonchar, W. Redden, V. Malaknov, A. Pedersen

CK(75.7) DI(68.3) SK(81.2) ST(89.8) PH(81.3) PA(74.3) SC(64.3) DF (77)

No one should debate the fact that even though the Bruins are “weaker” in the defence department. This does not mean that the team is not a VHL Cup contender. The offense is stacked and at least the top 4 guys here are talented and have many years left in the league. The group is more focused offensively than defensively, but scoring from the blueline has become a key to success for many teams. They won’t lay people out that often, but are fairly good defensively. Pedersen has discipline issues, and is one of worst VHL defenders who play in the top 6. Yet the Bruins win games not on the strength of the defence but the stellar forwards.

4) Toronto Maple Leafs (13th in the league)

B. Witt, C. Phillips, A. Burt, T. Gill, D. Morris, M. Skoula

CK(88.5) DI(65.3) SK(83) ST(91.3) PH(84.2) PA(76.2) SC(68) DF (77.5)

This group should be competing for the top of this list in several years. Witt is 27, Morris and Phillips 24, and Skoula is 22. They will be getting Dan Hamhuis and Ossi Vannanen added to the group very shortly. The combo of Phillips and Witt is an amazing one-two punch already and the rest will be better by the time Toronto’s bevy of young forwards start producing at a VHL level. The current group does a lot well, but are a little low on the discipline ratings. It is a group that most GMs should be jealous to have for the future.

3) Hartford Whalers (9th in the league)

S. Cote, C. Leschyshyn, G. Diduck, J. Black, N. Boyton, B. Campbell

CK(69.5) DI(79) SK(84.5) ST(87.5) PH(87.5) PA(82.8) SC(72.7) DF (83)

With the departure of Lumme the team took a hit on the backend. They still have a blueline that should strike fear into most opponents. The true strength of the corps is the way they play the game in the offensive zone, and breaking out of their own end. They skate  and handle the puck well. Outside of Diduck and Boyton the group tends to use speed and skill over brute force to control the puck. The also boost an entire group where everyone have over 80 DF. There are aging guys in the group and will shortly be replaced by Boyton and Campbell as top defenders. Campbell is looking like he is built in the mode of Scott Niedermayer, one of the best all around defensemen in the league.

2) Ottawa Senators (7th in the league)

Z. Zalapki, M. Strbak, Z. Chara, R. Lessard, S. Duchesne, T. Poti

CK(70.2) DI(74.7) SK(84.3) ST(90) PH(90) PA(83.7) SC(77) DF (77)

The Senators one major strength is the blueline. They have three great players in ZZ Top, Strbak, and Chara. Zap is an absolute stud in the offensive end and moves the puck as good as anyone in the league, forward or defence. They do have a couple guys here that like to spend time in the box, but that might be their only downfall. Tom Poti is looking real good as a young guy. Steve Duchene plays the position more like a forward than defender. He is a great puck mover but is prone to mistakes in his own end. Rick Lessard is the weakest player on this blueline but is still pretty darn good for a sixth defender.

1) Buffalo Sabres (4th in the league)

S. Stevens, M. Tinordi, B. Leetch, C. Rivet, L. Odelein, B. Fast

CK(82) DI(66) SK(79.7) ST(83.5) PH(90) PA(84.7) SC(79.5) DF (86.7)

The VHL Cup Champs win something again. They are the best blueline in the North-East. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to many. They are best group of defenders when it comes to offense. Everyone but Odelein are stellar in the offensive zone. They also have the highest DF numbers. Stevens is the only defender in the league that boosts a 99 in that category. Where the team falls down to 4th is discipline. Tinordi, Stevens and Odelein are known for taking a ton of penalty minutes. They also have a couple guys that skating skills have a little to be desired. But with all that being said, this group is awesome.

Thanks for the read, will have the Atlantic rankings out shortly.

WC 905

 




Steve Tindall

You convinced me to not even bother playing defense. settings to 0-0-5!

S13- VHL Top Defences (®)
North East Division

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