i think there are several different ways to look at this.
but to me it has to be smith or dekeyser. we need one of them to permanently earn a top 4 spot to solidify the 2nd pairing. the first pairing was good last year. and since both ericsson an kronwall are veterans, there is no reason to think their play will slip significantly. so both just need to play this season like they did last year and our top pairing is solid. additionally, for whoever ends up in the 3rd pairing, they just need to play to that role. much less is expceted. but whoever ends up on the 2nd pairing will need to grow a lot.
because right now we hav 4 guys that all have question marks. quincey has played a lot of top 4 minutes in the nhl, but has just struggled so much since coming back. i am a quincey backer, and he did play well down the stretch last year, but i still worry if he is relied on as the 3rd defenseman. kindl had a great year last year and really showed his offensive side off. but i still worry that defensively he might be best suited for a 3rd pairing role long term. i hope i'm wrong as i really like kindl, but he would have to have another breakout year to legitimately become a 2nd pairing guy. and then smith and dekeyser i lump together. both have tons of upside. smith has yet to really look solid in the nhl, while dekeyser looked great but only for a very small sample size. so while either of them could grow into a legitimate 2nd pairing player (even as fast as this year) it is also possible they both struggle and are on the 3rd pairing or in the case of dekeyser, down in the ahl.
so thats why one of them would have to take it. as they have the biggest ability to make this years D corps a success or failure. personally i voted for smith. because we have seen such a variety in his play. so that makes him the x factor because he out of anyone has the most wide open season for expectations.
- Dabura likes this