Strangelove wrote:I keep looking at our dee thinking WTF Gillis, best shot a Cup in Canuck history and you didn't manage to pick up that beast defenseman we so desperately needed! I hope a miracle occurs and our Top 4 stay healthy but I wouldn't bet on it the way Gillis seems to have done.
I have basically been wrong about everything to do with our third pairing and Keith Ballard since last season, so my track record on the subject is less than steller. Since I'm bored, here are my two cents on the subject anyway.
Andrew Alberts has basically been unplayable in the playoffs in the past. To be honest, I'm not even sure why he's still here. I guess he provides "size" and "physicality", but what I see mostly is a pylon who takes bad penalties. He can grow a nice playoff beard though.
Aaron Rome has been a decent depth defenseman and has had many nice games and nice outings. Maybe I pick on this player too much, but Rome seems to make an error on 50% of his shifts. I know AV disagrees, but this is not a player I have much confidence in. AV likes him because he's "tough" and "gritty", which is true to a certain extent. I really want to like Rome, and believe me I've tried, but I still cannot forgive him for his shortcomings. It's almost like he's trying too hard sometimes or trying to do too much. Every game I'm like "Rome, you're not good, stop trying to rush the puck up the ice." or "Rome, why are you behind the other team's goal line?"
Chris Tanev has been one of the nicest surprises in years. This kid deserves to be playing in the NHL, and should be on the Game 1 roster. That being said, he's still a rookie and has blemishes. Tanev provides zero offense and zero physicality, which are things we expect to see from our defense. He plays the right side, which basically guarantees him a spot this post season. IMO Tanev is where Gillis is taking a gamble. I think we can survive with a Rome/Tanev third pairing, but God help us if Salo goes down because Rome/Alberts and Rome/Gragnani and fucking terrible
Gragnani is another rookie who has blemishes, except he has zero physicality, and it appears, very little defensive acumen. I have to think this player is viewed as a work in progres and will not be relied upon when the games get serious. From what I have seen, every one of our depth defensemen is more trustworthy than this player.
Which brings me to Ballard. Ballard was very effective in Phoenix. I don't know what happened, but he had a bad year last year. He has not provided good value relative to his salary. That being said, I am of the opinion that AV and Bowness havent utilized this player effectively. For example, why is a player with a pretty solid offensive pedigree given zero powerplay time over offensive duds like Alberts, Rome and Tanev? Why was a healthy Ballard not playing in the SC Finals when guys like Edler and Ehrhoff were seriously banged up? These are things I'll never know, but I thought this player was having a decent bounce back season and has looked a lot better this year than last.
Personally, I would trust Ballard a heck of a lot more than Alberts, Rome and Gragnani. I would be reasonalby happy with a third pairing of a healthy Ballard/Tanev going into Round 1.
I have been assuming that Ballard is going to be back soon (maybe a little *wink wink* take some more time to get healthy Keith so we can add some salary at the deadline?) since GMMG made zero effort to upgrade our defensive depth at the deadline, but what I'm hearing is that this may not be true. If Ballard is not going to be healthy, then Jeez Louise Gillis is gambling.
Then again, the coaches don't play Ballard when he is healthy and playing well, so what the hell do I know?