The left-wing lock was a defensive strategy popularized by Scotty Bowman and the Detroit Red Wings in the 1990s. In essence, it was very simple. If the opposing team gained possession of the puck, the left-winger would drop back with the defensemen. It helped reshape the Red Wings into a team that could frustrate opponents defensively as well as bury them on the scoreboard.
Today, I wonder if we poolies face another form of left wing frustration – an apparent scarcity of quality left wingers to draft. Call it the leftwing lockout if you will. But whatever you call it, within a matter of weeks we will all have to draft our teams for the coming campaign, so let's examine the potential problem.
Is There an Issue at LW?
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Are we in fact facing anything out of the ordinary with this year’s crop of LWs?
Like many of you, I’ve been messing around with Yahoo’s mock draft tool for the past little while (if you haven’t yet, give it a shot here…it will even email the results to you afterwards). Not only is it educational to plunk yourself into any draft position of your choosing, but, if you're like me, it's endless fun to use ridiculous aliases to draft under (so find a way to say 'hi' if you see something childish like ‘AnneMurrayMissesBryanMcCabe'sCanOpener').
Yet, as much fun as I was having being sacrilegious, I was disappointed with my drafting results. While I was privately congratulating myself for any number of steals, I felt I was consistently getting out-manoeuvred when it came to drafting LWs.
After several more iterations of questionable drafting, I read Ryan Ma’s "Enlightened You Shall Be (2010)" piece last week. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. Ma concludes that “right wings are massively deep and left wings are crazily not!” All I can say is, thank you Ryan for putting that down in pixels before I went insane.
Now, there are lots of outstanding LWs to choose from. And Momma Ovechkin herself would tell you that today's finest fantasy player is an LW. Folks like Ilya Kovalchuk, Daniel Sedin, Zach Parise, and Rick Nash are no slouches either. But I think Ma is on to something.
Here is a look at how the LWs are stacking up in some pre-season rankings.
Rotowire's Top 200 Rankings (Sept 9th)
DobberHockey Draft List 2010 (Sept 4th)