The NHL’s Central Division saw some of its teams try to improve defensively this offseason
The battle among NHL fans over which team has the best overall defense is something that can never be solved or quelled. Everybody has an opinion on what constitutes good defense, how much value you should put into offensive defensemen and the like.
Thankfully, I’m here to sort this out for the NHL’s Central Division teams. And I’m always right, so there’s no way my conclusions can be shot down. (Please shoot down my conclusions in the comments section.)
We know our Chicago Blackhawks made a concerted effort this offseason to improve the defense, while the Nashville Predators made a major splash on the blue line. Other teams re-signed young players in hopes of keeping the back end strong now and in the future.
Where does this leave the seven teams ranked heading into the 2016-17 season? I offer my estimations.
No. 7: Colorado Avalanche
There’s just not a whole lot to be happy about in Colorado pertaining to the defense. And in front of a goaltender who goes from All-Star caliber (mostly against Chicago) to hot garbage (mostly against anyone else), that’s a bad setup.
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Tyson Barrie and Francois Beauchemin are the best of this bunch. Barrie is offensively solid, though his possession numbers have been trash the last two seasons. Beauchemin can also provide some scoring, but his puck-holding numbers suffered heavily from a lot of defensive-zone starts last season.
Nikita Zadorov is young but already on his second NHL team. Patrick Wiercioch is far from the answer to Colorado’s blue line problems, as he’s just a glorified bruiser. And Fedor Tyutin was a guy you could bury in Columbus’ third pairing for years on end.
That’s just not a great that’s going to do a lot for you, nor is it one that will be able to keep up with its forwards’ collective speed. It’ll limit some of the offensive push from the group, then get it in trouble when play turns the other way.
Next: Number 6