Friday, August 22, 2008

Prospect Watch 2008: Defensive Wrap-Up

Here's what weird about the Aeros. As a group, we had (and probably will have again) the best defense in the league. Individually, though, when the Wild were in a severe pinch for d-men at the end of last season, Reitz was the only one deemed good enough for a call up.

So it's understandable that the list of defensive prospects is relatively short, but I still think it's wrong. Scott shouldn't be on there, nor do I think Scandella should be on there. I can't really justify the Scandella decision as I haven't seen him play, but as I've said, I'm skeptical.

Who should be there? I think you can make a case for both Brandon Rogers and Clayton Stoner.

Brandon played 4 years in college and has 3 years of AHL hockey under his belt, where this season he had a career year and secured his first NHL contract with the Wild for the next 3 years. Brandon has great hockey sense and I think his 4 goals/24 assists and +17 (the team-leading +/-) speak to his gifts.

He actually reminds me a lot of Nick Schultz, both on the ice and in the room (allegedly). They both play a pretty low key game but are effective and calm and good leaders.

Stoner had a tough year last year, playing only 56 games due to injury after injury, but he obviously also saw some benefit from the new coaching regime as his numbers went up significantly in 9 fewer games than last season. But like many defensemen, numbers don't really tell Stoner's story. His bread and butter is his gritty game. He's like Reitz without the offensive touch and, IMO, more hustle and self-sacrifice. Plus, he just seems like a really nice, earnest guy. What can I say? I've seen enough aloof, selfish players and I think it matters to have guys like this.

Tomorrow: Dimples!

2 comments:

"Dave Schultz"  August 22, 2008 at 8:55 AM  

it's true, Stoner is one of the nicest guys EVER. I enjoyed your analysis of all the prospects, well done!

Life_As_A_Redhead  August 22, 2008 at 2:53 PM  

I really have to say I enjoyed this so much. Thanks for doing it.

It's so hard to prove how good you are on defense with numbers.

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