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LGR4GM

Sabres Best Defender Right Now?

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Who's our best defender. I mean the guy you'd want out there when we have a lead late in a game. 

I think it's Jokiharju. 

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Joker and Scandy have been solid. 

Not McCabe, not Risto, not Dahlin (pre injury) , not Miller

Montour has been good.  Bogo is tbd. 

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I think I would say Jokiharju, which is incredible considering his age and the other pretty good D on the roster. What a great trade.

One related note:  Since Bogo’s return, he has played more mins than Risto in 3/5 games and they seem to be spreading the D TOI around more evenly.  I think that’s a positive development.

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When Scandella is mentally engaged the way he was last night, it could very well be him (just like the mentally engaged Sheary from last night is the Sheary we need). I'll agree with others on Jokiharju.

The question posed re: well, are the Sabres better off than they were four games ago (with Dahlin) is a dandy.

Edited by PASabreFan

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Honestly don't know that they have 1.

A case could be made for any of Jokiharju, Scandella, Montour, or even (ducks) Bogosian (ducks again).  Each of those 4 are playing close to a solid #3 D-man game nearly every night and each (well not so much Bogo as he hasn't been in enough to have a bunch of them) has had just enough brain farts to say they're only playing as a 4.

But even Ristolainen, McCabe, and Miller have been overall about a 4.

It's a darn shame that Hutton seems to have to give up at least 1 bad goal / game because this D group (including Dahlin too) is the best from top to bottom that the Sabres have had since at least the mid-70's and likely ever.

(And as much as we like to criticize Botterill for not converting some of that excess into needed forward help, Jason did put that together.)

 

 

If absolutely had to chose the #1 would flip a coin between Brandon and Henri.

Henri might get the edge for having been healthy all season

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3 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

Who's our best defender. I mean the guy you'd want out there when we have a lead late in a game. 

I think it's Jokiharju. 

That's a huge indictment of our D group that a rookie with 38 games of experience entering this season is our best D.  I don't completely agree.  I think Montour is a better player, but he has been mostly excellent this season and deserves a growing role on this squad.  

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24 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Honestly don't know that they have 1.

A case could be made for any of Jokiharju, Scandella, Montour, or even (ducks) Bogosian (ducks again).  Each of those 4 are playing close to a solid #3 D-man game nearly every night and each (well not so much Bogo as he hasn't been in enough to have a bunch of them) has had just enough brain farts to say they're only playing as a 4.

But even Ristolainen, McCabe, and Miller have been overall about a 4.

It's a darn shame that Hutton seems to have to give up at least 1 bad goal / game because this D group (including Dahlin too) is the best from top to bottom that the Sabres have had since at least the mid-70's and likely ever.

(And as much as we like to criticize Botterill for not converting some of that excess into needed forward help, Jason did put that together.)

 

 

If absolutely had to chose the #1 would flip a coin between Brandon and Henri.

Henri might get the edge for having been healthy all season

Agree almost entirely with this read. The one caveat I might have is that it is tough to say Henri has been the best when he has not been asked to play in many tough minutes or situations yet. He’s been the most consistent in his role.

I’ve been a little disappointed with Miller and McCabe has dropped off from a good start, but neither is a black hole. Scandella has bounced back very nicely and Jokiharju has been a revelation. Montour and Bogo and Risto have been good.

No one in there is a #1, but I think we have 8 guys who can play 2-5. It’s the best group of defencemen we’ve had since before Janik and Jillson got called up.

Edited by dudacek
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I wrote before this season that Miller was not very good defensively.  I'm not surprised at all that he has been a healthy scratch and often a D liability.  I am disappointed that with Dahlin out, that he hasn't received some 1st PP PT.  This is where the guy excels and if we want to get more out of him, he needs to get some time there.

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Just now, GASabresIUFAN said:

I wrote before this season that Miller was not very good defensively.  I'm not surprised at all that he has been a healthy scratch and often a D liability.  I am disappointed that with Dahlin out, that he hasn't received some 1st PP PT.  This is where the guy excels and if we want to get more out of him, he needs to get some time there.

Good call. A strong point shot from the middle of the ice would create more chances for Sam (and Jeff If he gets is spot back) and that’s a Miller strength.

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3 minutes ago, dudacek said:

Agree almost entirely with this read. The one caveat I might have is that it is tough to say Henri is been the best when he has not been asked to play in many tough minutes or situations yet. He’s been the most consistent in his role.

I’ve been a little disappointed with Miller and McCabe has dropped off from a good start, but neither is a black hole. Scandella has bounced back very nicely and Jokiharju has been a revelation. Montour and Bogo and Risto have been good.

No one in there is a #1, but I think we have 8 guys who can play 2-5. It’s the best group of defencemen we’ve had since before Janik and Jillson got called up.

But he hasn't been as sheltered as it seems.  He's actually gotten a fair amount of PK time and lately it seems any of the 7 guys dressed could be facing the other team's top unit.

Agree that it's tough to say he's been their top D man as the sample size is small and to a degree he has been sheltered.  Which is why I started with the comment that there arguably hasn't been a best D-man.  And sample size keeps me from going with Montour as well.  (Take away the 4v4 & PP right after Dahlin got injured &) he's been their best IMHO but he's only played about 10 games and was sheltered the 1st couple and even got bumped to F 1 game.

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4 minutes ago, GASabresIUFAN said:

I wrote before this season that Miller was not very good defensively.  I'm not surprised at all that he has been a healthy scratch and often a D liability.  I am disappointed that with Dahlin out, that he hasn't received some 1st PP PT.  This is where the guy excels and if we want to get more out of him, he needs to get some time there.

Either Montour or Miller should be on the top PP; both process situations quicker than Ristolainen does and are better passers.

Miller has the slightly harder shot, but he also seems to be sending it off the mark more often than other D-men.  I'd expect Miller's defensive liabilities are why he doesn't get bumped to that single D-man unit and the debacle that that 1 4v4 / PP turned into keeps Montour from there.  But, should either get to actually practice with that unit, they should be better working at the point than Risto would be.  Now that they're past that brutal 5 in 7 stretch, maybe that will change.

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10 hours ago, LGR4GM said:

Who's our best defender. I mean the guy you'd want out there when we have a lead late in a game. 

I think it's Jokiharju. 

So were you looking for best overall defenseman or which defenseman is the best at actually defending? 

6 hours ago, Taro T said:

Honestly don't know that they have 1.

A case could be made for any of Jokiharju, Scandella, Montour, or even (ducks) Bogosian (ducks again).  Each of those 4 are playing close to a solid #3 D-man game nearly every night and each (well not so much Bogo as he hasn't been in enough to have a bunch of them) has had just enough brain farts to say they're only playing as a 4.

But even Ristolainen, McCabe, and Miller have been overall about a 4.

It's a darn shame that Hutton seems to have to give up at least 1 bad goal / game because this D group (including Dahlin too) is the best from top to bottom that the Sabres have had since at least the mid-70's and likely ever.

(And as much as we like to criticize Botterill for not converting some of that excess into needed forward help, Jason did put that together.)

 

 

If absolutely had to chose the #1 would flip a coin between Brandon and Henri.

Henri might get the edge for having been healthy all season

You threw in Dahlin a bit later in the post but, especially considering the offensive side of the game, if that is being considered in this discussion, and considering how much our PP misses him, if McCabe and Miller are playing at a #4 level Dahlin is too. He's been better overall than McCabe certainly and I'd argue Miller as well. 

I don't really think one guy has separated from the pack. I'd lean towards Scandella (weird) or Jokiharju I guess if I had to pick 1. If Dahlin's game even returns this season to what it was year 1, he's out best D-man again. But he was indeed slumping pre-injury even if he looked to be finding his way out of it.

He's still 4th overall in team scoring after missing 3 games. 6 more points than the next closest d-man. He's also a plus 2, tied for 4th for d-men on the team with Joki. I know I'm apparently the Dahlin guy but he's somehow become underrated around here now if he isn't being mentioned in at least the same breath as most of the other D-men on the team.  

- - - 

As a side note, I found it interesting looking at the stats that Eichel is a plus 6, and Reinhart is a -4, considering they generally are playing together. 

Edited by Thorny

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7 hours ago, PASabreFan said:

When Scandella is mentally engaged the way he was last night, it could very well be him (just like the mentally engaged Sheary from last night is the Sheary we need). I'll agree with others on Jokiharju.

The question posed re: well, are the Sabres better off than they were four games ago (with Dahlin) is a dandy.

No. If even for what he brings on the PP, which we desperately need to be better. We aren't better without him, he's not our worst defenseman right now. 

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34 minutes ago, Thorny said:

So were you looking for best overall defenseman or which defenseman is the best at actually defending? 

You threw in Dahlin a bit later in the post but, especially considering the offensive side of the game, if that is being considered in this discussion, and considering how much our PP misses him, if McCabe and Miller are playing at a #4 level Dahlin is too. He's been better overall than McCabe certainly and I'd argue Miller as well. 

I don't really think one guy has separated from the pack. I'd lean towards Scandella (weird) or Jokiharju I guess if I had to pick 1. If Dahlin's game even returns this season to what it was year 1, he's out best D-man again. But he was indeed slumping pre-injury even if he looked to be finding his way out of it.

He's still 4th overall in team scoring after missing 3 games. 6 more points than the next closest d-man. He's also a plus 2, tied for 4th for d-men on the team with Joki. I know I'm apparently the Dahlin guy but he's somehow become underrated around here now if he isn't being mentioned in at least the same breath as most of the other D-men on the team.  

- - - 

As a side note, I found it interesting looking at the stats that Eichel is a plus 6, and Reinhart is a -4, considering they generally are playing together. 

Expect that when he returns he'll get included in that 'playing at about a #4 level' grouping.  Maybe he'll look like a 3, maybe a 5.  Not really sure where he'd slot through to going out injured - but doubt it would've been in that 1st grouping.

Provided he doesn't get skittish about carrying to puck due to the cheap shot (and there is no reason to expect he will), he actually could be playing at a higher level overall than he was prior to the injury.  I'd seen signs he could be coming out of his funk since Montour came back; don't think he was there yet, but he was working through some of the issues. 

The time off with the ability to watch some film and live action could result in a resurgence when he comes back.  Hoping it does.  It could also relieve some fatigue if he'd been suffering from that as well.  (Don't know if he was or not; but not playing up to his own expectations would certainly seem to be wearing.)

 

And, really, none of this is an indictment of his potential.  That is still sky high.  Just a reflection on the eye test from this observer 's view on how he's played to date.

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26 minutes ago, Taro T said:

Expect that when he returns he'll get included in that 'playing at about a #4 level' grouping.  Maybe he'll look like a 3, maybe a 5.  Not really sure where he'd slot through to going out injured - but doubt it would've been in that 1st grouping.

Provided he doesn't get skittish about carrying to puck due to the cheap shot (and there is no reason to expect he will), he actually could be playing at a higher level overall than he was prior to the injury.  I'd seen signs he could be coming out of his funk since Montour came back; don't think he was there yet, but he was working through some of the issues. 

The time off with the ability to watch some film and live action could result in a resurgence when he comes back.  Hoping it does.  It could also relieve some fatigue if he'd been suffering from that as well.  (Don't know if he was or not; but not playing up to his own expectations would certainly seem to be wearing.)

 

And, really, none of this is an indictment of his potential.  That is still sky high.  Just a reflection on the eye test from this observer 's view on how he's played to date.

Right, I don't have an issue with him not being included by someone in that first grouping. Just wanted to make the point relative to McCabe and Miller. 

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... so while the defenseman are playing better as a group this year, our PK is not.  The inability, or unwillingness,  to clear out the front of the net falls on this  group. 

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Jack is the best defender on the team.  He's also the best forward.  He's that good.

Edited by Doohickie

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4 hours ago, Pimlach said:

... so while the defenseman are playing better as a group this year, our PK is not.  The inability, or unwillingness,  to clear out the front of the net falls on this  group. 

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the PK has improved with Scandella and Bogosian back.

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38 minutes ago, dudacek said:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the PK has improved with Scandella and Bogosian back.

Was Vesey on the PK earlier in the year? He's been noticeable on the kill lately. 

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12 minutes ago, bob_sauve28 said:

Was Vesey on the PK earlier in the year? He's been noticeable on the kill lately. 

Yes

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5 hours ago, dudacek said:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the PK has improved with Scandella and Bogosian back.

Totally. Asplund is also part of that to a lesser extent.

I'm not sure we have 1 stand out defender. It varies from game to game. Jokiharju is definitely a pleasant surprise but on any given night any one of the rest stand out and some of them drop off. I likely won't get agreement but I still don't see what the raving over Montour is for. he has skill and can move the puck, offensive threat, but he makes mistakes in his own end and is not strong in front of the net. Most of them however, are still weak in front of our own net except maybe Bogo.

I'd still like to see us settle on set pairings where 1 of the 2 is more of the puck mover type and the other is more of the stay at home clear/cover the front of the net type of guys. In that regard, Montour can work out, but he needs to be paired with a steady physical force. At this point I'm not sure we have enough solid "defenders" and I guess we wont' see steady pairings until JBot moves somebody.

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21 minutes ago, PerreaultForever said:

Totally. Asplund is also part of that to a lesser extent.

I'm not sure we have 1 stand out defender. It varies from game to game. Jokiharju is definitely a pleasant surprise but on any given night any one of the rest stand out and some of them drop off. I likely won't get agreement but I still don't see what the raving over Montour is for. he has skill and can move the puck, offensive threat, but he makes mistakes in his own end and is not strong in front of the net. Most of them however, are still weak in front of our own net except maybe Bogo.

I'd still like to see us settle on set pairings where 1 of the 2 is more of the puck mover type and the other is more of the stay at home clear/cover the front of the net type of guys. In that regard, Montour can work out, but he needs to be paired with a steady physical force. At this point I'm not sure we have enough solid "defenders" and I guess we wont' see steady pairings until JBot moves somebody.

I'm mostly in agreement with you re: Montour.  I don't see his play as materially better than Scandella's for sure.  Or Bogo to date.  Or Miller for that matter.  It seems right now we have 5 or 6 defenders that are pretty equivalent.

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