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MHH's 2014-15 Avalanche Season Analysis: Part 5 - The Defense

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The D remains the soft underbelly of the Avs, and yet last season's was enough to get a Central Division banner.

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Will the defense be any better than it was last season?

SteveHouse:

The defense will be almost exactly the same which will be amusing as everyone whines about how much worse it is. WHOA #hot #take #hottake

c6hor8:

Will the defense be any better than it was last season? Johnson is a beast and I think he improves; especially with Stuart as a steady partner because Hejda can play with Barrie.  I think Barrie improves as he matures and even if Hejda slips, Holden is there to take his place.  I also think the Avs depth at defense of Holden, Guenin, Redmond, Gervais, Elliott, and even Siemens or hell Gersten at this point offers much better options in the 3rd pairing than Guenin-Sarich.

Mike:

Can't be worse, right? Right?  Seriously, Roy and Co. saw depth as the issue here and addressed that.  I'd be disappointed if we didn't get a dynamic rookie injection though because I think there's way more upside on the backend than in years past.

Sandie:

Yes, I do... again I've been consuming Kool-Aid. But the defensive core were young and even a few of the "older" players were fairly inexperienced. Roy had them buy into his system and it worked... somewhat. Having Roy and Foote build on what they taught last season will certainly help.

mfured20:

I think the D will be better than last season.  Even though (like I said in question 1), Brad Stuart is not what I hoped and prayed for, he is still decent at hockey.  I hope that a change of scenery will reignite him, and he will be strong for us.  I don't know how the D pairings are going to turn out, but I have always thought that Stuart would hang out with EJ on that top pairing, letting Hejda absorb some of Barrie's fluctuations and pushing everyone down a spot (addition by subtraction...?).  I think we are going to start to see some things coming together on D this year, like we saw them come together on Offense last year.  We aren't set yet, but we're getting there.

earl:

The starting defense 1-6 will be better than last year. Is Stuart the optimum #2? No, but to me the #2 isn't your 2nd best defenseman, he's the guy that complements the #1 and lets him do what he does best. Same thing goes for the #4. If Hejda's skills allow Barrie to make plays then we're all good.

The main battle in camp will be to see who Holden gets paired with. It could be damn near anyone as far as I can see. The second battle is to stay on the Avs roster. Also could be anyone. We will be sending a couple of good defensemen to Lake Erie, which is nice to have. Other teams might feel the same way and claim someone on waivers. That's not nice to have.

AJ:

I believe it will be, yes, albeit not significantly so. Hejda is a year older, EJ should be in his dominant prime now, Barrie should be fine, and Stuart, Holden, and everyone else who plays along the blue line are really wild cards. The team brought in a bevy of talented players as they continue to wait for top prospects like Chris Bigras and Duncan Siemens to make the leap to the NHL and I think it will prove to be a more talented and effective group than last year.

Andi:

Yes.  From what people are saying, Stuart looks to be at least a serviceable top 4 defenseman.  Considering the question mark we had playing with Barrie all last season, this is a definite upgrade that helps clarify some roles.  It also sounds like Redmond was a great find that should fill out our 3rd pairing, and Duncan Siemens is nearing call-up ready.  I still wouldn't call the corps "good", but it should be more adequate than last year's for sure.

Cheryl:

Absolutely it will be better. More experience, less Guenin. What's not to like?