Dissecting the Predators: Part 2 of 5 Defence
The Nashville Predators are known around the league for their ability to develop defenseman. It is their bread and butter and what their team has always been about. With the ability to develop some of the best defence in the league it is no wonder that this year’s D cops is a little on the younger side and they are only going to get better as the years pass.
This year the defence has had its struggles but for the most part is still arguably the most important part of the team.
The defence is spearheaded by the captain of the team Shea Weber, who is highly regarded as one of the best defenseman around the league. He has a wicked shot, which may be the hardest shot in the NHL at the moment and is known to have quite the mean streak in him. He is a former All-Star and gold medal winner, showing that he has what it takes to win at the highest levels. Earlier in the season Weber defensive partner Suter was sidelined for 11 games with a knee injury and that forced Weber to have to put in some extra work. He averages roughly 25 minutes of ice time per game, but is a -10 so far. This to me is attributed to the loss of Suter, where Weber was paired with Bouillon or Klein and tried to do too much. He seemed to try to play both roles as the shut-down and mobile dman at once that just doesn’t work. Suter, who has returned from injuries, has started to find his form and created offense at the same time. His is the mobile one of the two and helps open up Weber both 5 on 5 and on the powerplay. He plays a huge role on the team is overlooked at times because he doesn`t make the amazing plays but is constantly good. He too is Olympian but was on the opposite side of the Canada win and got silver as he represented the USA.
The second pairing has been that of Bouillon and Klein who have done well besides some unfortunate brain cramps. (*cough* Klein *cough cough*) With the departure of Hamuis in the off season fans wondered who would start to take on the extra minutes, well it seems as though Trotz already knew throwing Klein out there and having him average almost 22 minutes a game. Bouillon as well has taken some of the work load and averaged 22 minutes as well and also stepped up when Suter went down and played on the top pairing with Weber for a while. While both players have their short comings, mostly in my opinion on speed where time and time again i see them get beat by a team rushing in form the neutral zone, they also have their great moments. It’s just a matter of see which one outweighs the other by season’s end.
The final pairing has the only new face to the Predators defence and has done quite well. Franson and O`Brien are the third pairing and average 15 and 17 minutes respectively with O’Brien getting quite a lot of time on the PK. Franson is a developing prospect for the Predators who is getting better with every game and currently leads the defence is goals with 4.
So far i have liked what I have seen form the defence, as they have performed well especially with injuries. With the team near the bottom of the league in scoring good defence and goaltending is needed to be successful and win games. Every team will have their bad and good games, but there has to be more good than bad and so far that is what i have been seeing. When this defence corp. is healthy it can shut down some of the best offenses in the league and that’s what has to be done in order for Nashville to win. There is a lot being asked of them every game and they continue to impress with such little room for error.
Thanks for reading.
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Also read part one on offense, written last week: