Being in Calgary, I hear a lot of praise for Darryl Sutter and the defense corp he's put together for the upcoming season... and to some degree I sort of agree with that praise on a hockey level. But this Blog isn't just hockey... it's hockey pools. Points are what count in these pools and this is what I will concentrate on.
I have done a few mock drafts as the signings and trades have come in during the off-season and Calgary is nowhere to be seen in the top teams of scoring defensemen. Granted, saying that... it doesn't incorporate some of the younger talent that their potential might make them better picks. Saying that though... it is my experience that defensemen are usually safe names in people's memory more than fluke picks.
In the Western Conference, the Detroit Red Wings should be the dominant team in hockey pool defensemen. My mock draft has 5 out of their potential starting 6 to be taken in the pool. Niklas Lidstrom, Mathieu Schneider, Chris Chelios, Andy Delmore and Mathieu Dandenault are all good potential picks in the draft. Lets also not forget about Jiri Fischer, who has also seen a good year or two in the league. Now, granted, the Wings defense is a little aged, but they are proven point-getters despite being stuck at the blueline or deep in their own zone. A guy like Mathieu Dandenault could be a great final round pick... if he's still around.
In the East... no one compares to the Flyers. Kim Johnsson, Joni Pitkanen, Eric Desjardins, Mike Rathje and Derian Hatcher are the five that survived the mock drafts and just for size and strength, they do also have Chris Therien. Therien, not quite the pool threat as Detroit's 6th man, Fischer... but the other five are all worthy picks in the pool. Johnsson and Pitkanen are both natural scoring defensemen, Desjardins is a consistent point getter, while Rathje is coming along at his own pace in the point department. Get there fast if you want a Flyer as one of your defensemen, because there is a good chance that someone else is gonna catch on.
In the relatively poor department, if Jay Bouwmeester goes early... you can be pretty sure you can cast aside the rest of the Panthers corp. You can pretty much count out Washington all together, I'm thinking... the Capitals didn't register a single defenseman pick in my mock drafts. There is some talent there in Shaone Morrisonn and Steve Eminger, but they would need someone to pass to. That means Ovechkin is gonna have to score a whole lot of goals to make those defensemen worthy picks in this year's pool.
As for the Flames, the mock draft wasn't kind on them at all. Only 2 Flames defensemen were taken in the mock draft, Roman Hamrlik and Robyn Regehr. Here in Calgary, there is a good chance most pools will see more defensemen taken from their beloved Flames... like Jordan Leopold and maybe Andrew Ference. But let's say you have 2 defensemen and are in the late stages of the pool... try and find Dion Phaneuf, he's an ace in the hole for this season. Odds are, there are a lot of people pencilling him in for a good year, so be sure to put him in your list in a place where you'd be happy to get him and if he went any earlier, you'd have picked someone just a bit better.