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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bruins Defenseman Analysis

I just reed a good column about Alberts in today's Boston Herald. It gave me the idea of a little blue line analysis.

Zdeno Chara- The General. He was brought to eat lots of minutes but he was also brought for his great work ethic and his leadership. A great signing for the B's considering the youth at the blue line and the fact that there's more prospect (Lashoff, Stuart) to come.

Brad Stuart- Since his arival in Beantown, he's stepped up big time and his game has reached a new level according to many hockey writers (espn, RDS, TSN). Iv'e always consider Stuart as a work in progress. I liked him in San Jose and I was surprise that he was included in the JT since a defenseman take a lot of time to reach their potential. TSN rated him as a potential #2 D-man; I think he will become a solid #1. Expectations will be very high this year, but the presence of Mara and Chara will remove pressure on him. I expect a very good season from him.

Paul Mara- Mara is a tough client to evaluate. Some peoples like him, some don't. In Phoenix, they said that he had tough time in his own end but he showed in the pre-season, that it's not the case. He will, certainly, contribute offensively but expect him to work on his defensive side because that's what the B's need the most.

Andrew Alberts- He played in a lots of games last year but was clearly not the favorite of the coach. Alberts is a stay-at-home defenseman and from what Iv'e seen from him so far is good. He improved his "own end" game and will have to be careful about penalties. He improved his foot work and he's not afraid to hit the guy in front of him. I think he deserves a spot on that blueline.

Milan Jurcina- Played a lot, last year, since Sullivan liked him a lot. He has a hard shot for sure but, in the pre-season games, he showed that he needs to work on his speed and footwork. The best example was the one-on-one against Latendresse where he was undressed but the young rookie beat him. It will be a tough decision in his case considering that you have veterans like Dempsey or York who can play his role.

Jason York- Experience, experience, experience. This guy have more then 700 NHL under his belt and his presence will help the young D-man. I expect him to have a spot on the team as a 5th or 6th D-man and from the few clips I saw from him, he didn't look foolish at all.

Matt Lashoff- A prospect well rated by the TSN staff. He has good speed and takes very good decisions in his own end. I still think he have a chance to make the team as a 6th defenseman. People will blast me as they will say that he's way too young but remember what we said about Mark Stuart last year; he's not ready. So not ready that this guy finally had a regular spot on the blue line.

Mark Stuart- He's on the shelf right now but he showed, last year, that he can play with the big guys. He will probably stay in Providence all year considering the fact that he will have to rehab and the fact that there is depth at the blueline. So, there's nothing to rush here and the team should give, to this good prospect, the time to heal and play good minutes in providence.

Nathan Dempsey- The fifth wheel, the spare tire. He's a 7th defenseman. I don't know how he's doing in the pre-season since I didn't see anything from him. That said, I don't see him on the regular roster of the team.


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