That's a really well thought out article- good points. Now can we get him to tell us what's wrong with 5-6 d-pairing?
I don't know the writer, but I'll take a shot at it.
The easy answer is Ballard, Rome and Alberts' inability to play the right side.
It's not much of a problem when Salo plays with Edler, because then the top 2 pairings are stabilized, and it makes it easier to hide the 3rd pair and find more favourable match-ups. But when one of the top pairings begin to struggle, there's more pressure on the 3rd pair, and that bottom pairing's mistakes are magnified due to seemingly cascading mistakes.
I have to say, I'm really surprised none of the left-handed d-men on this team can fairly comfortably play the right side. Yes, it's favourable to have a right-handed player on the right-side, but given the disproportionate number of left-handed d-men compared to right-handed ones in the league, nearly every team employs a left-handed d-man or two on the other side.
Rome and Ballard can be decent on the right side as long as they're on the 3rd pair and play protected minutes, the problems arise when Rome or Sulzer is paired with Edler and have to face stiffer competition.
The automatic reaction is to point to the absence of Salo's talent, but more than anything, it's due to him being a capable right-handed d-man. Of course, Salo is great defensively with high hockey IQ, and he has great passing ability, but if as long as the Canucks can get someone on the right-side who can handle top 4 minutes, the defence as a whole and the 3rd pair should improve significantly.
Some suggest Tanev is being showcased, and that may very well be the case, but my automatic assumption was for him to play on Edler's right side to stabilize the defence. Tanev doesn't need to do anything extraordinary when paired up with a talent like Edler, he needs to maintain his poise and confidence, and just make simple and safe plays under pressure. Tanev also has great hockey IQ for a young player and he's a fantastic skater. Not too diminish Rome, but Tanev is a much better fit on Edler's off side.
In regards to Rome, he has been pretty bad since he came back from injury, but that's not uncommon. We tend to be harder on him and more disparaging due to Ballard's situation and the confidence the coaching staff has in Rome, but in fairness to Aaron, he's a really solid 5-6 D-man. Rome is a pretty underrated player and that's because the perception is that the coaching staff is overrating him. Regardless, I wouldn't worry too much about Rome being a problem for this team, and if anything we should be happy we have a capable player like him playing for peanuts.