Many participants in this board, as well as other Devils forums have been highly critical of the Devils D. Certainly, there is room for improvement there, and this is not the D of the pre-lockout Devils. However, my position is that the offensive ability of the defense is a much bigger liability.
The Devils rank 18th in Goals Against / Game. If you take out the anomaly of the ridiculously high number of SHG, which is not really a defensive issue, they would move up a few notches.
In goal scoring, the Devils rank 27th. I'm a simple guy, and when I see that a team is middle of the pack in scoring defense, and at the bottom in scoring, there's a pretty clear indication of where the problem lies.
So what to do to get the scoring up. Many will point to Kovalchuk and Parise. While it would also be great if their numbers were a bit higher, I don't see this as the biggest cause of the issues. It is in part made up for by Elias, who is probably scoring more points than we might expect at his age, as he is on pace 70 this year.
You have several other teams doing well this year that have guys leading the team that are not that far ahead of the Devils. Minnesota's Mikko Koivu leads their team with 26. Tyler Seguin leads Boston with 26. Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards were right around Elias' numbers.
The Devils defensive core is where the numbers clearly stand out, in terms of contributing to the offense. The Devils D in total has 25 points. In contrast, let's take a look at just the TOP 3 Defensemen other top teams - Flyers 45, Bruins 40, Panthers 58 (whoa), Penguins 38, Rangers 38, Black Hawks 44, Red Wings 45, Blues 32.
There is alot of talk about lines, and Kovy and Zach not fitting together, Tedenby needing to move around, etc. To me the biggest problem is there is NOBODY on the blue line who can help set up and take the pressure off the forwards. Fayne has probably been the most consistent overall. Greene has to be viewed as a big disappointment. Larsson leads the team and shows promise, but its a pretty undesirable situation to be depending on a rookie to be the man.
Personally, I hope and think Taormina will help. But that is not enough. And the problem is there is nobody else on the roster who appears to have the potential to do so. Definitely not Volchenkov, nor Salvador (on a separate note, clearly based on his performance Bryce should not be offered a new deal after this year). Tallinder is really a big letdown here, he has two points for the season. Ugh.
A move is going to need to be made for a d-man who can at least ad a moderate amount of offensive punch. The only options I can really see are trying to deal Tallinder and perhaps a prospect for somebody, anybody. More than a third of the season is now burned, some of the issues are becoming clear. Action should come soon in my view, hopefully in January. Thoughts?
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