If you told San Jose Sharks’ coach Todd McLellan after last season that not only would he have one of the best defenses in the NHL going into next season, but that he would have too many good blueliners, he probably would not have believed you.
CSN’s Brodie Brazil wrote an article the other day on how the Sharks now have somewhat of a problem on their hands with owning too many equally-talented players on defense.
It seems that Brazil was maybe a little late to the party with this article, but nevertheless he addresses somewhat of a problem San Jose has.
However, is it really a problem to have too many good defensive players?
Even better, can we actually define the fact the Sharks have eight blueliners for seven spots a problem?
That is where Brazil is wrong.
As far as McLellan, the writers or anyone else with close knowledge of the team is concerned, the Sharks’ three lines are set, with the team carrying one other defenseman. That seventh blueliner is already decided.
The way the line look to break down once the season starts is as follows:
Dan Boyle/ Douglas Murray Marc-Edouard Vlasic/ Brent Burns Jason Demers/ Colin White
Jim Vandermeer will take the seventh spot.
There is not much debate against this. If anything, White would be the seventh defenseman and Vandermeer would pair up with Demers. However, McLellan would seem to go with a lesser version of the Boyle/Murray line in the form of Demers/White.
The finesse player paired with the physical defenseman has worked before as the Sharks will not waver from that.
It is ridiculous to say that a player like Vandermeer will have limited time on the ice, with him only playing in certain situations during a game. Also, it is equally ridiculous that a good young player like Justin Braun will not even be on the starting roster to start the season.
Braun is a third line defenseman on any other team in the NHL.
But that is how good the San Jose defense is.
The best way to look at this is that if the Sharks’ defense gets hurt or gets off to a slow start, there is that other player hanging in the wings.
For that reason, the Sharks’ defense will be consistently dominant for the entire season.
There is no dilemma here, just a team poised for a run at the Stanley Cup this season.
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