Lidstrom is the "Best defensive defenseman in the league" in the same sense that Zetterberg is the best defensive player on this team. Neither are factually correct for anyone that isn't obsessed with Swedish Red Wings.
Who's better? And what have you got to support that claim?
Lidstrom gets beat and its swept under the rug. But if you bring it up, people reference his past performance. The fact is, you proved my point. The only player you had a problem with was Lidstrom. Rafalski, Ericsson, Kronwall, Lebda, Meech.. its a bit redundant don't you think?
BRB, drafting Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith and any other offensive defenseman from the Q who is 5'7 and 150lbs.
It gets swept under the rug because it happens less to Nick than to anyone else. League wide. If you're the best defensive-defenseman in the league, you get a bit of slack.
All things being equal, based purely on cap hit, id rather have Stuart more than any other defenseman on this team.
Lidstrom isn't a $7.45 million dollar player. Rafalski, despite DEM POINTZ, isn't worth $6.5 million. In the same sense Kovalchuk isn't worth $11 million to anyone but Atlanta. Ive got a feeling Holland was under the impression that Lidstrom was leaving last season or sooner when he signed Rafalski to his ridiculous contract WITH a NTC.
Kronwall isn't better than Stuart defensively and outside of the occasional center ice hit, Kronwall isn't as physical. Kronwall is obviously more gifted offensively but not nearly enough to make up for his defensive lapses.
In the cap era, you cannot spend $14 million on your top pairing and expect to compete.
Based purely on cap hit I'd take Meech's sub-$500K over anyone. Cap hit plus the play out on the ice? Nick. No ifs, ands, or buts.
The top pairing is the only thing keeping us respectable right now. Granted it could be around $8-9M and still be as effective (swap out Raf for anyone else), but thems the breaks.
Stewie's stats show a problem any shut-down defenseman's stats will show - he doesn't generate offense so his plus/minus suffers, and to make things worse he's often paired with sub-par offensive players thanks to the Wings' numerous injuries. The first half of the season, he was spot on. His plus/minus doesn't show it, but one stat doesn't tell the whole story. I'd wager a guess that he's one of the best on the back end if you measured his performance in goals against per minute of icetime. He took hard matchups consistently, dealt with whatever garbage linemate he had, and was the best damn PKer on the team.
He's fallen off badly lately, however. Some criticism is warranted. He was a premier shutdown defenseman up until the last several games, probably the only guy consistently winning his battles and taking his assignments properly. Now he's in a downswing. Too bad that as Lidstrom and Rafalski make a push, Stuart is at a low point and Kronwall reinjured himself.
It's always something... but Stuart will come back from it. All good players do.
Not even close. He's better than E, but that's about it.