Ok, time to work on my favorite position, defenseman. I am still missing Ballard. I attempted to get info from the Panther fans on hf, but they apparently are ignoring me. Maybe I asked too many questions (all I said was, how does Ballard look? Has he played any preseason games? And what role is he playing?). If I get any info, maybe I will post it.
So far it looks like Morris and Sauer will be paired together. They seem to have good chemistry and both have experience being shut down dmen. Sauer is the kind of dman you don’t really notice, but in a good way. He makes some good hits, mans the blue line and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. DMo and Sauer will be a good shut down pair, both able to take on different roles.
Logan Stephenson was recently sent down to SA. I think next year he will really have a chance to show what he’s got. He isn’t quite NHL ready but he still isn’t afraid to hit anything that moves. In my opinion he needs to bulk up a bit. He looks kind of scrawny. I think another year in the AHL will serve him well.
Keith Yandle and Matt Jones really need to step it up or they are going to lose their jobs and be sent to SA. Yandle could definitely use another year in the AHL. I just don’t think he is quite ready for the NHL game. I feel like we rushed him last year and he took a step backwards. When he went to SA for the playoffs, he still made the same mistakes. I say give him the time to develop in the AHL and see what he can do toward the end of the year. Matt Jones, I don’t even know what to say about him. He seems like he is trying but we just have too much talent trying to break into the NHL. I don’t know if he would benefit from time in the AHL, maybe a change of scenery would be better for Matt Jones. I think he has seen the last of his days in Phoenix.
Ryan Lannon may not make the Coyotes but he is making a good case for himself. He is solid, not afraid to hit and, like Sauer, invisible but in the good way. If he doesn’t make the team, I am sure he will get a call up if a dman is injured. I have only seen him play one game, but he was all over the ice and I kept going “Oh that was good! Who was that? Oh! It was Lannon”. He was also named the third star of the game last night. Also, he is VERY flexible. During warm-ups, he was doing second position splits. Yah, all the way down and I was very impressed. I have never seen a guy be that flexible. I was calling him flexi boy last night. I liked him and hope to see him up here for a bit.
Oh Z, you are solid and continue to impress season after season. Your game is steady. You are good at blocking lanes, blocking shots, taking hits, trying to give hits. Z has looked good as usual and has a new partner. So far he has been paired with Jona Ahnelov. Ahnelov is a big body and he is not afraid to hit people. He also attempts the hip checks. I like that in a dman. All of that. Ahnelov has made a good showing and will more than likely make the team. Ahnelov seems to be pretty much a stay at home dman, giving Z some chance to jump back in the play and generate some of his offensive talent.
Jovo has actually made a good showing in the past couple of games. As I said the other day, he only turned the puck over once in the two games I’ve seen. He is still playing the point on the PP but needs to learn when to shoot. He passed when he had open lanes to shoot and shot when there was a player right in front of him. Hopefully he keeps this play up as he seems much better defensively this season. He still has a powerful, accurate shot from the blueline. Jovo also has been hustling lately too.
David Hale. I am still not overly impressed with him. I think as a veteran dman though, he will make the team. He might be the 7th dman. He didn’t play last night but from what I can remember Saturday he was ok. He wasn’t good but he wasn’t a liability either.
I am guessing the D-pairings will look something like this:
If this is the case, I am hoping Hale and Lannon will be the rotating 6th and 7th dmen. Yandle and Jovo paired together would be a nightmare. If Jovo would man the blueline it may not be too bad. But I could just see it now. Jovo has a brain fart, and jumps into the play only to realize to late the Yandle has jumped into the play too. Jones may not be bad with Jovo because Jones can stay on the blueline. D should be interesting this season.
Stay tuned for a update on last nights game!