|Goals against the CBJ in the last 5 games|
Something that I observed in the Colorado game is that they crashed the net against the Jackets with gusto, and with no apparent consequences. I had noticed this somewhat in the New Jersey game, and the Detroit game. So I looked at where goals had been scored against the CBJ in the last 5 games. The image does not include one blast from the point from Chara in the Boston game. Other than that, it shows the goal locations for all goals except for shoot out goals. So what does this mean for the CBJ? Especially next year?
Remember when Hitch was always talking about his 'shut down pair'? I don't think we have one of those anymore. Given our propensity to cough up leads lately, I think it is getting obvious that the other teams know the CBJ does not have a defensive pairing that is really capable of clearing the crease. We simply lack the size to effectively clear the crease. I think this really became evident after the trade deadline, when teams became more desperate and players more willing to go to the net and camp. Especially in the Colorado game, the CBJ 'D' was unable to deny possession to the Avs. I think our 'D' does a good job of intercepting passes intended for that area, and starting play in the other direction. But once the entry pass is made, we cannot deny possession, especially lately. Hejda and Tyutin do not constitute a 'shut down pair', no matter how much we might need them to do that.
In looking ahead to the summer, when a blueline reconfiguration seems highly likely, this tells us one important piece of information. The answer is not in Springfield. We need to add some size and snarl to our 'D' without sacrificing mobility. I love Grant Clitsome, but he is not going to clear the crease when there is a big forward in there. Lepisto might be a step in the right direction.
Other readers and bloggers may have good ideas about who would fill that 'size and snarl without sacrificing mobility' category in the upcoming summer, I haven't looked at that yet. But I do know that Moore and Savard do not fill that need, and I look for them to spend next year in the AHL continuing the maturation process at an appropriate pace.