Ramblings – 28 Defensemen Who Could Reach 80 Points (Feb 07)
A couple of years ago, I posted this article and was asked to provide updated thoughts by a reader. Checking that article again, I found it interesting. Seeing the value of players then versus now. I thought I nailed it, though Fox is obviously no longer a "long shot". Hey – at least I mentioned him!
The arrival of Cale Makar, Fox, and to a lesser extent Quinn Hughes, has really changed the way teams are running their offense. I thought this was coming a decade ago, but it needed elite young defensemen to arrive and seize the league by the jockstrap and force the matter. And now, in this copycat league, you are seeing teams not only place high value in puck-moving defensemen, but using the ones they already have in more of an offensive manner (see Ekblad, Aaron). Because of this shift, I was forced to increase this list from the 20 names that I had here two years ago. We're going with a nice, even 28!
So let's dig in on the defensemen circa 2022.
28. Adam Boqvist – Step 1: Stay healthy. Step 2: Get a different coach or find a new team. The point-per-game talent is there with this guy, but he won't get 80 points if he plays only 70 games. He also won't get there while in the Columbus system.
27. Jakob Chychrun – Step 1: Stay healthy. Step 2: Hurry up and get traded! I actually see Chychrun's talent topping out in the high-50s or low-60s. But if he finds the right landing spot, his production could easily get a 30% boost. And one healthy season out of six isn't very reassuring.
26. Jamie Drysdale – So far my opinion on Drysdale has been rather tempered. Personally, I would be pretty surprised if he ever makes it to 55 points. I think of him more as a likely 50-point PP quarterback. But he's only 19 and I would like to give him a couple more seasons to show more so I won't rule him out just yet.
25. Tyson Barrie – Just four months ago, Barrie would have been in the "sure thing" category. Connor McDavid? A new contract in his back pocket? Coming off of a 70-point (equivalent) season in which he tallied 46 points in his last 48 games? Seems like a no-brainer. But now that he has his new contract, he can't seem to figure out how to help a team with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl score on the power play? And