Vulgar Opinions: Our Defense Is Screwed
It’s a pretty simple equation; with Andrej Sekera being “out some time,” we have Marc-Andre Gragnani, Brayden McNabb, and Mike Weber filling in the bottom half of our defense. That is…not good. Don’t get me wrong, I like each of those players, but let’s face facts. Gragnani has been on the bench for the last few games for good reason, Brayden McNabb is talented, but young, and with that comes oopsies due to inexperience. And then there’s Mike Weber, whom I feel many fans thought would be a magic fix to our Gragnani problem. Mike Weber is what he is, a third pairing defenseman with an x-factor (physicality) that makes him likable, but not significantly more talented. He’s still prone to the same poor decision making that Gragnani is (lest we forget his game-losing centering pass to the opposition last year), and is a downgrade in terms of hockey skills. You can argue that his toughness and willingness to get physical makes him more suited to play in the NHL and I would agree, but that doesn’t change the fact that both of them have to play and one of them (or a guy with 13 games of NHL experience) has to play second pairing minutes.
In short: Tyler Myers cannot heal fast enough. Not only that, but we need him to become the Myers of old, the one that can run away with the team lead in icetime, that can shut down the opposition’s best players, and that can provide some offense on top of that. We need him back to shift half the defense down a slot, where they’re probably best suited. (And the sad truth is we need him because the forwards not named Vanek or Pominville aren’t getting it done and someone needs to step up.) I also think we need him on the ice as much as possible because it’s become increasingly clear to me that we’re probably better off slapping an A on Myers’s chest for the foreseeable future (and Gerbe as well) than we are careening ahead with dumb and dumber up there on the second line.
Save us Tyler Myers, you’re our only hope.