We took a look at the forwards here, and now it’s time to take a look at the defense in the second edition. Since all the defensemen have played in 17+ games, they will all be accounted for. We’ll begin with a few notables.
*Grades weren’t given out by their total points, but rather by what we expect from them vs what they have shown us this year so far*
Ivan Provorov – D
When your number one defensemen is playing like he belongs on the bottom pair, you’re going to run into some issues. He’s 21 years old and playing in his 3rd season, so it’s expected he’d hit a slump at some point. After 31 games, he is still in his slump and hasn’t look confident. Aside from an earlier west coast trip this season when they went to Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim, and Arizona, Provorov has struggled mightily. Unforced turnovers, mishandling passes, blowing coverages, he’s going to have to figure this out himself and get out of it to justify the 24:55 TOI/GP he gets a night. I would also like to see him taken off the 2nd power play unit, which leads me to..
Travis Sanheim – A
After being misused by Hakstol last season and seeing him scratched and the sent back down to the AHL, it’s nice to see Sanheim getting his shot finally, and he has been the best defensemen so far this season. Against Calgary earlier this year, Sanheim scored two goals to tie the Flames forcing overtime, which the Flyers blew in 32 seconds. Sanheim has seen increased TOI/GP, averaging 16:07, which still has him as the least played defensemen. I’d like to see that increase as he should get time on the 2nd PP unit. He has more offensive skill than Provorov. He’s been our best defenseman this year. Play him like it Dave.
Shayne Gostisbehere – D-
To say Ghost has been a disaster this year would be an understatement. His 13 points in 31 games, good for a 0.42 PPG average is not what we want out of our best offensive defenseman. Over 82 games, that comes to 35 points. Already a defensive liability, Ghost has been struggling all over, just as Provorov has. Ghost has a hard time hitting the net with his point shot, and we saw that in his 2nd year. Ghost needs to get a handle on his shot and instead of always taking the big slap shot, I’d like to see him skate in with it and fire a wrist shot, or at least shoot for a rebound or deflection. Or just at least hit the net.
Robert Hagg – 18:38 TOI/GP 31 games played – C
Radko Gudas – 17:37 TOI/GP 29 games played – C
Andrew MacDonald 18:21 TOI/GP 16 games played – F
Christian Folin 17:22 TOI/GP 17 games played – F
By: Mike Bailey (@mbailey010)
photo cred: Getty Images