How about NHL's most valuable asset NHL iron on transfers

posted on 25 Sep 2017 09:11 by irononsticker

A year later, between Subban and the Nashville Predators' run to the Stanley Cup Final and the Vegas Golden Knights' stockpiling blueliners in the expansion draft, defensemen have never been more valuable. If you want to acquire even a serviceable D-man, it'll cost you.

It's not just NHL iron on transfers here. What else?

"I don't know if it's just the way that the league is going or the style of play that teams are having success with, but defensemen are at a premium," Hall said. "You have to draft them. If not, then you have to give up good players to get them."

Perhaps no player understands that better than the left winger, who was the first-overall pick in 2010.

"In Edmonton, for so long we needed defensemen. It was very obvious. Then I get to New Jersey, and what do we need? We need defensemen," Hall said. "Right now defensemen are certainly hard to find."

Since so many of the league's most dynamic players now occupy spots on the blue line, every team is looking for an elite defenseman. Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Drew Doughty have established themselves as franchise players by becoming the engines that drive their respective teams' offense from the back end. Any defenseman capable of making a swift tape-to-tape pass out of his own zone might have a place in the NHL.

When it came to defensemen driving the attack, the Predators' fleet-footed quartet of Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm proved crucial in Nashville's run to the Stanley Cup Final, in which it lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins. When those four generated offense, the Predators won. In fact, the Preds went 5-0 in the postseason when they got goals from Josi, who was named on Sept. 19 to replace Mike Fisher as the team's captain.

Fleury has witnessed firsthand the evolution of NHL defensemen. He backstopped the Penguins to a championship in 2009 alongside the defensive pair of Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill. Although the shutdown duo was typically matched against opposing teams' best offensive players, Scuderi and Gill weren't exactly known for their balletic skating stride. Pittsburgh relied instead on their keen defensive minds, toughness and stickwork.

Championship bonafides notwithstanding, the Scuderi-Gill combo represents where the game used to be.

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