A Questionable Defense?

steve laidlaw




This week, the Eastern Edge will look at 10 Eastern Conference teams that have unsettled situations or are dealing with untimely injuries to key defenders.


Boston Bruins


The trading of defenseman Johnny Boychuk definitely hurt the team, but combine that with a projected four to six week knee injury suffered by the Bruins Mister Everything, Zdeno Chara and that is a bitter pill to swallow. The early returns look like Dougie Hamilton will get increased ice time, including where it matters most, with the man advantage. In the game Chara was injured in and the next, Hamilton received the most power play ice time on the team, recording his first power play point of the season. He is tied with Torey Krug with five points, leading the Bruins back end in scoring. Krug will also see increased responsibilities in the absence of Big Z, but likely won’t see as big a bump in scoring as Hamilton might.


Columbus Blue Jackets


No major surprises here except that David Savard is receiving top pairing ice time. Second only to Jack Johnson in overall ice time on the Blue Jackets, Savard is averaging 22:53 minutes per game, including 2:41 on the power play. He has three points in eight games so far this year, but was a big point producer in junior, recording 77 points in 64 games in his final season and had 31 points in 60 AHL games in 2012-13.


There is another interesting guy, but I’m just not sold on him. Tim Erixon is getting top power play minutes along with James Wisniewski. Erixon only has two points, one via the man advantage, despite all the extra minutes. To be fair, he scored 38 points in only 40 AHL games last year. This is a guy who was a first round pick (23rd overall) in 2009 and is only 23 years old, but he has to compete for offensive minutes with the Wiz, JJ, Savard, Tyutin and now Ryan Murray.


Florida Panthers


If you are looking at anyon