"Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

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"Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby Rugbymuffin on Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:17 am

1st off, I see there is a thread on Letang.........53 pages long! You guys are crazy....in the good way but crazy.

I want to say that Kris Letang is not worth it, but also I am still quite ignorant of the game of hockey. I am an ex-rugby player, and life long football fan. I only recent became addicted to watching hockey (5yrs). Never played hockey, which sucks, but it also means there are things I just simply don't "see".

So, this is really not a question about Kris Letang, more of a general question. Yet, it applies because the Penguins seem as if they are going to sacrifice a lot to keep him. Is it worth that sacrifice ?

Are defensemen like Letang, who are more offensive minded, and can move the puck up the ice on the power play that special ? Are they that hard to find ?

Cause in my personal opinion Letang has regressed the last two seasons. I don't think his play is where it needs to be, and I believe it is more of a mentality issue then anything. But again, just me and my ignorant take on it.

So what say you ?

Again, this is not so much a question about Letang as it is on the value of a puck-moving, offensive defenseman.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby Beveridge on Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:35 am

I'm going to track down Mikey's post on this because I find it the most eye opener on why he is valuable.

mikey287 wrote:
Importance now becomes inventory vs. acquirable assets if Letang does not have a future here.

You cannot settle in a situation like this. It is a franchise breaker to lose a #1 d-man of Letang's caliber. And I know we're a little salty because he's not Lidstrom and all that noise, and I respect that, he can be frustrating at times. I'm sure in 1983 some Oilers fan said somewhere, "we can't keep going on like this with Coffey...if only we had Langway..." Now, that's not comparing Letang to Coffey, but it's the idea of that #1 PMD. Note the effects on even the best player in the history of hockey:

Gretzky led the league in points for 8 straight seasons. In 1987 (the last year with Coffey on the Oilers), he led the league with 183 points, in second place was his linemate (Jari Kurri) with 108, then another teammate in Mark Messier at 107 and Mario Lemieux at 107. 71% more points than his next closest non-teammate.

Coffey leaves. Gretzky doesn't win the Art Ross for the first time that decade...his 149 points are still brilliant, but not only does it not need lead the league, it's barely above the pack, relative to Gretzky's previous exploits...Savard at 131, Hawerchuk had 121, Stastny at 111...in all that, 149 seems somewhat pedestrian (of course, he missed a few games, but still...). So, who led the league...Mario Lemieux with 168 points...and who was giving him the puck? Yup...weird. Coffey missed half the year, but was on a 119-point pace. Next season, healthy Coffey showed us what healthy Lemieux could do (that was Lemieux's 199 points in 76 games season).

Again, Letang is no Coffey. He's no Orr either (look at Esposito, with and without). But that's the importance to an offensive-minded team.

To give that away for a draft pick is ridiculous. I can't answer what it would exactly take, but I know what I wouldn't like back...there's no answer in this draft as far as I'm concerned. I don't care for Seth Jones all that much (really good, but not Letang good by any stretch) and the rest of the d-men largely have some sort of glaring weakness.

Now, is it essential for this organization to be getting another d-man of quality back? Well...what do we have...can Derrick Pouliot or Olli Maatta (namely, the former) do anything to help our cause...? I don't know that yet. It's a shame he won't turn pro next year where we could get a better idea of what we really have...that's a bold move to trust the organization's hopes to a draft pick that no one here likes because of a made-up number. To me, he reminds me of Brian Campbell when he was young. That's a #1 PMD. Will he ever reach that lofty status, I don't know, I wish I did, Shero wishes he did too.

But depending on the market we might have to make that leap of faith...eventually...

In any event though, it's not totally realistic for now. The team has a window in which to win and it's wide open. Now is not the time to be entrusting the keys to castle to a 19 year old. Now is also not the time to be moving your #1 PMD for a hill of magic beans...

The problem with a player like Letang and the whole situation is you never get back full value for what you gave up. There's no realistic scenario where we trade Letang for Doughty or Letang for Pietrangelo...it's not a video game. That can't happen.

Like you brought up with Jordan Staal, you settle a little bit (Sutter, a third liner) and you get a draft pick (hope to make up the difference). We noticed Staal's departure this year and the effect it had (well, hopefully we did...Staal did a lot of heavy lifting for us, with all due respect to Sutter)...that was a third line center for us...can you imagine the difference between having a #1 d-man and not having one!

The Flyers notice...Kimmo Timonen (their Paul Martin) had to lead their transition attack...second in line were Luke Schenn (can't pass) and Braydon Coburn (head up ass)...now look at their ES scoring from 2011 and 2012 to 2013...can't be an offensive team and not have a #1 PMD. I'm gonna say that about 250 to 400 times this summer I think on here, so I better copy and paste it now, but you can't do it...

I don't want to lose the asset, I don't want to lose the asset for nothing, but it's a tough piece to move if a reasonable deal can't be worked out...we might just have to let it ride and hope we win the Cup in 2014.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby AlexPKeaton on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:05 am

I guess a quicker answer rather than analyzing stats is that a puck moving defensemen is useful for gaining the offensive zone without turning over the puck. If a team doesn't have the ability to carry the puck into the zone in some controlled way, they either dump it in or turn it over. If you face a goalie who can move the puck well, dumping it in might be ineffective.

Typically a PMD is also an offensive defensemen, although not always. Paul Martin is a good example of a PMD who is not really known for his offense (although he is improving it seems). An offensive defensemen is someone like Karlsson who may net you 15-20 goals and a large amount of assists.

I think the rag on Letang is that he is without question a great PMD, but his offensive abilities are lacking. He doesn't setup one timers very well, he is slow to make decisions in the offensive zone, and his shot is not very accurate. So the question then becomes, would you rather just find another Martin level PMD (maybe someone already in the system) or pay Letang even more than Karlsson for less production. Both have question marks defensively, in my mind at least.

The real positive about Letang is that his conditioning is elite, dude plays 25 minutes a night easily, and still has gas left after a long shift for rushes up or down the ice. Between Letang and Martin, the Pens can have at least one PMD out on the ice almost the entire game.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby steelershark on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:25 am

so if Letang signs do we then trade Martin?
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby Crankshaft on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:25 am

steelershark wrote:so if Letang signs do we then trade Martin?


I sure hope not. He was our best actual defensemen last season.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby skullman80 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:26 am

steelershark wrote:so if Letang signs do we then trade Martin?


No. God no.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby meow on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:28 am

skullman80 wrote:
steelershark wrote:so if Letang signs do we then trade Martin?


No. God no.

You are allowed to have more than 1 puck mover on D.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby pfim on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:37 am

steelershark wrote:so if Letang signs do we then trade Martin?


No need to for next season.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby steelershark on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:48 am

I know Letangs contract will not start until next year but would we not be selling Martin at a high point.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby no name on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:53 am

The simple rule of hockey is defence can be tought. You really can't teach the natural offensive skills a guy like Letang has. So his value lies in his skill level like most well paid players.

In a small way offensive blueliners are a dime a dozen in minor league hockey, its the ones that prove themselves at the NHL level that are rare to find.

Some average players had offensive instincts so they might get you more points than other players with their skill. But take a guy like Letang who has all that skill and who has offensive insticts and you get a point per game guy. SO yes he is a rare find.

Teams who need help generating offence he is worth alot. Take a team like the Pens who led the league in scoring and gave up their fair share of goals and a Letang can be swapped out with a big defensive defenceman. OK your team might not score as many goals but your team might not give up as many either.

Not to mention the stable of young offensive minded D men we have in the system.
Last edited by no name on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby pfim on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:55 am

steelershark wrote:I know Letangs contract will not start until next year but would we not be selling Martin at a high point.


I think the Pens want to win, not sell assets at their highest value.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby pfim on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:56 am

Puck movers are like midfielders in soccer, transitioning from defense to attack. Not sure there are many better than Letang.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby Coozman1 on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:14 pm

But much like a mid in soccer, his job is to get the puck up TO the forwards and not always get caught pinching. Mids play almost exculsively 18 to 18.

Sure this is not old story but Letang should be getting the puck into the zone ad either passing to a forward or shooting on net but always above the faceoff circles (18 yard line). Sure occasionally, press home inside the 18 but ALWAYS get your ass back or you sit! Letang gets caught alot and when he does it usually leaves Crosby or Malkin playing defense. That's not good!!!!

pfim wrote:Puck movers are like midfielders in soccer, transitioning from defense to attack. Not sure there are many better than Letang.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby Wjsan on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:14 pm

Letang is the man, get it done for 7mill per and let's move on.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby MarioLives on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:40 pm

Wjsan wrote:Letang is the man, get it done for 7mill per and let's move on.



He was offered 7 million, 8 years 56m......he turned it down
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby pfim on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:42 pm

Coozman1 wrote:But much like a mid in soccer, his job is to get the puck up TO the forwards and not always get caught pinching. Mids play almost exculsively 18 to 18.

Sure this is not old story but Letang should be getting the puck into the zone ad either passing to a forward or shooting on net but always above the faceoff circles (18 yard line). Sure occasionally, press home inside the 18 but ALWAYS get your ass back or you sit! Letang gets caught alot and when he does it usually leaves Crosby or Malkin playing defense. That's not good!!!!

pfim wrote:Puck movers are like midfielders in soccer, transitioning from defense to attack. Not sure there are many better than Letang.


It's not a literal comparison certainly. There are only 5 skaters on the ice so Letang will take up different positions. With his speed you want him breaking out of the defensive zone, and sometimes that happens in front of the forwards because frankly, they can't catch up.

I don't see him getting caught pinching in the zone so much that he's a liability, certainly you want someone with his superior athleticism using his ability to keep pucks in the zone and his skating ability to recover. Most of what I saw in these playoffs was poor judgment moving the puck in the defensive zone, however, not anything to do with getting caught in the offensive zone.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby columbia on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:49 pm

Speaking of which, Pouiliot looks like he's 14:

Image
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby wondermoose on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:56 pm

pfim wrote:Puck movers are like midfielders in soccer, transitioning from defense to attack. Not sure there are many better than Letang.


Except in soccer, the midfielder isn't also the last man between the goalie and the opponent. Balance and timing are the keys to being a good transition defenseman and Letang picks offense far too often. My fear is, unless he receives some really, really good coaching and some tough love, he'll never learn how to slow down the game. If people want to talk about Paul Coffey or, even better, Nik Lidstrom, it should be mentioned how important it is to dictate the pace of the game.

I'm unsure of the ability for our prospects to step into the NHL, but considering we have the two best offensive players in the League, is it really necessary to have the best transition defenseman as well? At the cost of ridiculously poor defense from time-to-time? Methinks no.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby MarioLives on Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:01 pm

I think this all comes down to the fact that the Pens have decided to invest a majority of their money in 2 players. This will always then impact their ability to field a deeper more balanced team. Not saying it is right or wrong, but it is a fact.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby Crankshaft on Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:06 pm

MarioLives wrote:I think this all comes down to the fact that the Pens have decided to invest a majority of their money in 2 players. This will always then impact their ability to field a deeper more balanced team. Not saying it is right or wrong, but it is a fact.


Depends on how the salary cap fluctuates. If it goes back up to the high 60s-low 70s, they will be fine.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby no name on Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:14 pm

Crankshaft wrote:
MarioLives wrote:I think this all comes down to the fact that the Pens have decided to invest a majority of their money in 2 players. This will always then impact their ability to field a deeper more balanced team. Not saying it is right or wrong, but it is a fact.


Depends on how the salary cap fluctuates. If it goes back up to the high 60s-low 70s, they will be fine.


Damned if you do or damned if you don't.

You don't need a Letang to win, impliment a more defensive game plan on the back end and let the forwards come back a little. As much sence as Dans "Keep the puck out of your own end" system. Where puck movers are a must to move the play up ice. When another team knows how to respond to that you get what we had in the playoffs.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby Sarcastic on Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:15 pm

AlexPKeaton wrote:So the question then becomes, would you rather just find another Martin level PMD (maybe someone already in the system) or pay Letang even more than Karlsson for less production. Both have question marks defensively, in my mind at least.


That's exactly the dilemma that's going on in my head. Mikey had a pretty brilliant post above explaining why a guy like this is invaluable to a team and I personally have always had a giant woody for offensive/skilled defensemen. But if Letang wants that much money, I can't help but wonder about two $4 million d-men instead. I'm getting kind of angry at him too. Seems like he's trying to squeeze out every penny, instead of doing what Sid and Geno did in taking a bit less because they want to stay here. Does Letang even want to even play in Pittsburgh? I would tell him to accept a long term deal at $7 million and shut his mouth. But he wants close to $8. Yeah, dude, learn how to play better defense and to eliminate some of those mental mistakes first - and even then I'd have a problem going over $7.5 just because it would impact the team so much. I'm not happy.
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Re: "Puck Moving" Defensemen - Rookie Question

Postby Rugbymuffin on Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:03 pm

Thanks ladies and gentlemen.

Good answers, its appreciated.
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