Most overused defender in the Eastern Conference?
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In this edition of the hotstove we share our thoughts on the most overused defender(s) in the Eastern Conference.
He was once a pretty reliable top-4 guy. That is no longer the case. At 37 years of age, he is long past his best-before date and it shows every night. He severely lacks foot speed, which consistently gets him into trouble. He is not an effective puck mover in any zone. His defensive game is also very leaky. Among regular blue liners, he ranks last on Toronto in 5v5 shot and chance suppression on a per 60 basis. Despite all this, he averages a hair under 20 minutes a game and skates a regular shift alongside one of the Norris favorites in Morgan Rielly. I know the Leafs don't have many options on the right side but I think it's time to start experimenting. Moving Travis Dermott to his off-side, for example, seems like a good alternative.
Let's go off the board and look at Neal Pionk. He's played 517 of 5vs5 minutes and has the following:
He's not getting killed on PDO in either category so simply put he's being relied on and not doing enough for how much ice he gets.
The most overused defenseman in the east (and the NHL) is Ron Hainsey. He brings no offense to the table and is probably the worst player in the league defending on the rush. He can easily be beaten by any forward who tries. As bad as he looks, his numbers are worse. Morgan Rielly has some of the best numbers in the NHL and without Hainsey they skyrocket. He drags down the Leafs best dman while also being terrible. It's not a good situation and until I remember he makes $3 million bucks a year, I actually feel bad for him. ON the PK where skating is not a key component to success, he's not half bad, although I don't think anyone can be good enough on the PK to warrant playing when they are this bad 5v5. Even worse, he's a left-hander playing out of position so there is no reason not to replace him with Rosen, Borgman or even Marincin.
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