Tag: NHL Defenseman

Mark Giordano Should 100 Percent Win The Norris Trophy This Season

I know your thoughts after reading this title are probably either, (1) I am a moron or (2) you think I am going some where with this. Hear me out, I am not saying he is going to win the Norris trophy as in he is a shoe-in and no one else compares but, what I am saying is that he should win it.

Taking a look at the other candidates and top defenseman in the NHL at the moment they are all in their mid-late twenties or early thirties and then there is Mark Giordano who is 35-years-old, a 14-year veteran and still producing at same rate as a mid-twenty year old.

Giordano is having one of the best seasons of his career, he is on pace to well exceed his 2015-16 when he had 21 goals and 56 points in 82 games. Giordano has 52 points in 49 games (1.06 points per game), leads all defenseman in plus/minus (+29), second in assists (41) among all defenseman, tied third among all defenseman in goals (11), second in points (52), tied sixth in power play points (18), and 13th in time on ice among defenseman with 24:45.

Aside from all the “important” statistics that essentially decides the Norris trophy winner, what Giordano brings to the Flames in terms of leadership and experience has made them the team they are and a reason the Flames are currently 1st in their division and one of the best NHL teams right now.

Intangibly speaking Giordano has it all, a great leader, a great role model on and off the ice, plays the game well, never gets in trouble, leads the Flames back end year after year as well as the whole Flames team in general. Giordano has the full package and not to say the other defenseman like Brent Burns, John Carlson and Kris Letang don’t but Giordano is a 35-year-old defenseman playing like he is twenty years old still. With how quickly this game is changing in terms of speed and style of play, the fact Giordano can still dominate the blue line and be a top three defenseman in the NHL towards the end of his career and closer to 40-years-old then 30, is remarkable.

Get this one right NHL, if Giordano continues this pace and is a top-three defenseman at the end of the season. Do the right thing, make the right choice and pick your 2018-19 Norris Trophy winner to be Mark Giordano.

 

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Erik Cernak’s unexpected rise continues to provide depth on Tampa Bay’s blue line

Erik Cernak is here to stay, at least as it is now in Tampa Bay. Young defenseman was not even expected to play this season but he already played in 16 NHL games this year.

Coach Jon Cooper talked about him last weekend and expressed his surprise about the young Slovakian d-man’s rise. Cooper said, that based on the training camp, he did not expect Cernak to get NHL anytime soon. Yet he has played 20 games on a very high level.

Cernak was more than a solid substitute of right-handed veteran defenseman Anton Strålman. Strålman is an excellent defenseman with plenty of experience with the age of 32. Cernak played solid, collecting +8 rating and 5 assists.

If there is any injury doubt in the remainder of the season, Erik Cernak should be Tampa’s first choice replacement. But looking further than this year, Cernak might be a very reasonable solution for the Lightning.

Young defenseman a healthy solution

Coming next July, the Lightning will have approximately 12 million in their salary cap space to sign so many key weapons. Most importantly Brayden Point, but also trio of experienced veteran defencemen – Braydon Coburn, Anton Strålman and Dan Girardi.

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Everyone is pleased with Cernak in Tampa

You cannot resign all of these guys if you are the Bolts. And now you will have just three available defencemen signed – McDonagh, Hedman and Sergachev. And… Erik Cernak, still being under his entry-level contract.

I assume that the Lightning will give up on at least one of the three mentioned UFA-to be defencemen. If Tampa Bay needs one of those replaced immediately, here is 21-years old Slovakian D-man to play.

If Cernak is ready to play a full 82-game season for the Lightning, there should be no problem at all and he can be both effective and nice solution for the salary cap hell, which is coming to Tampa Bay starting next July.

Notable Defenseman Free Agents

As we went over some goaltenders and forwards, we cannot forget about the position in the game(biased opinion) in hockey. Defenseman. Here are some noteworthy free agents that could be of use to many teams.

Mike Green: Most noticeable among defenseman out there this year due to his All-Star appearance, and 33 points in 66 games. Mike Green has spent the last three seasons in Detroit scoring 35, 36, 33 points in each season. Coming over from Washington where he spent 10 years, Green is now 32-years-old in a game that is transitioning to a much faster and younger style the veteran defenseman has seen more so top-four minutes in recent years opposed to his number one d-man duties in Washington. While Green has dealt with some injuries throughout his career, he is a reliable number 5 defenseman on any NHL roster. Green is capable of producing 35-45 points depending on the team. Green does, in fact, see a lot of his minutes and points on the power play so that is a must for whatever team he is searching for. If Green does not stay in Detroit, he will find a job elsewhere.

Toby Enstrom: I believe if I am not mistaken it was said that the Jets were not interested in signing Enstrom. Enstrom played in just 43 games scoring just 6 points. After dealing with injuries last season Enstrom never really established himself as a force on the Jets backend. With a cap hit of 5.7 mil Enstrom services will be used elsewhere. Enstrom is 33 years old spending his whole career with Atlanta/Winnipeg. Therefore Enstrom knows no other atmosphere. It will be an adjustment for the veteran defenseman but where Enstrom goes next, I don’t think he’ll be receiving 5.7 mil due to the fact his best came back in 2010-11 when he collected 51 points.

Dan Hamhuis: Hamhuis spent the majority of his career with Nashville and Vancouver after being sent to Dallas in 2016-17 where he collected 16 points in 79 games, Hamhuis was on edge heading into this season. But as he collected 24 points in 80 games, he may find himself back in Dallas. Breaking up the d-core right now would not be the best bet for Dallas but with the signing of Stephen John, Hamhuis $3.75 mil cap hit may be hard for Dallas to swing if they want another scoring forward. Hamhuis has been a solid borderline 4 defenseman but a solid number five d-man. Hamhuis has been around the 25 point mark his whole career. If Dallas won’t budge on the 35-years-old a little high asking price someone out there (Buffalo) may budge.

Lucas Sbisa/Calvin De Haan: These two are put in the same grouping here because they are both around the same age (27-28) and both could be finding themselves elsewhere next season. De Haan missed a majority of 2017-18, only playing in 33 games, and he was on a one year deal coming into this year. Therefore who knows the Islanders commitment to him. Sbisa as well played in 30 games this season with Vegas, he tallied a solid 14 points in the time he got in the lineup. These two provide a ton of upside due to their left hand, young age and relatively hungry to make an impact on an NHL roster. De Haan could be back with the Islanders but everything needs to get worked out with Tavares first. As well as for Sbisa he could be back in Vegas but they have more important signings at the moment.

Other note-worthy defensemen: 

Kevin Bieska

Alexi Emelin 

Jack Johnson: rumored to be going to Pittsburgh… for an AAV of 3.2 million. 

Paul Martin: Recently bought out by San Jose, 37, only playing in 13 games last year…

Andrej Sustr

Nick Holden

Tomas Hickey