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Ian White The Key To Detroit’s Defense

from Daniel Wagner of The Score,

While most of the focus when talking about the Red Wings defence has revolved around Niklas Kronwall and whether he’ll be able to fill even a portion of Lidstrom’s shoes, I want to take a different tack. I think the focus on Kronwall is misguided and that the key to how the Red Wings will handle Lidstrom’s absence is actually Ian White.

Yes, I’m going to damn well talk about Ian White, because screw the lockout.

White was signed as a free agent last off-season to replace the retiring Brian Rafalski, stepping into Rafalski’s vacated role as Lidstrom’s sidekick, a position briefly held by Brad Stuart. Stuart is another Wings’ defenceman who has left the fold, signing with the San Jose Sharks. That means that only one-quarter of the Wings’ top-four from two years ago remains with the team: Kronwall.

Kyle Quincey and Carlo Colaiacovo are decent second-pairing options and Jonathan Ericsson can also fill that role. Also, the Red Wings hope that Brendan Smith can build on a 14-game stint in the NHL last season and become a number one defenceman, but he is still a long ways off. Kronwall is the Wings’ best all-around defenceman: he plays in every situation, is capable of scoring and setting up goals, and hits harder than anyone else in the league. He has yet to prove, however that he can be that number one guy.

That leaves Ian White. How well he plays will determine how successful the Red Wings’ defence corps will be next season.

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Comments

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

i have to disagree.. he makes some solid arguements for white as a player, but to say our D hinges on him I think it’s absolutely false.

I think this year Smith will be thrown in the fire.  Everyone dog’s his D but really, I can’t even count how many times I saw Kronwall flub a pass at the blueline that cost the Wings a goal or scoring opportunity.  Smith’s hockey IQ and “vision” is superior to Kronwalls.  His ability to anticipate plays is superior.  Does he take risks?  Sure, he’s a young firey guy who wants to produce.  He’ll get burned on some of them, but all the other Wing’s D have been doing the same with plenty of seasons under their belt, and I don’t think any have Smith’s vision.  I think his ability to adjust to the NHL will be the key to the season, not White.  This is also where the Wing’s “over-ripening” of prospects get put to task and prove it makes transitions easier for young players and doesn’t stifle their growth.  I personally think he’ll continue to build up his .5 pnt a game performance he gave last year.


And Ericsson would probably be the best fit with Kronwall in all honesty, his shutdown game is better than Kronwalls and Whites.  He’s also a big body that can move bodies in front of the net, he’s still mobile and has good passing skills and can jump up into the play, especially in the slot.  Smith and Ericsson will be the talk of the Wings D when the/a seasons starts

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/09/12 at 03:57 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

He’s a puck-moving defenceman who consistently posts solid Corsi ratings

Just the mere mention of the word “Corsi” almost made me stop reading. In fact, my first reaction was, “Hey, didn’t I block that idiot?” But once I realized I wasn’t reading a blabberfest from The Link Goes To Himself, I managed to continue.

Kronwall has always had Lidstrom ahead of him on the depth chart and has been effective in his shadow, but may struggle when faced with stiffer competition.

Last year, Nik played in all 82 games and had more goals, more assists and more ice time than TPH. He emerged from that formidable “shadow” and performed extremely well. Maybe it was because he realized he had to do that. Or maybe it was simply his time to take the final step in his growth as a defenseman.

Whatever the reason, I don’t have any reservations about Nik becoming the Wings’ next #1 defenseman. And I also don’t have any reservations about Ian White being his reliable #2.

I think this year Smith will be thrown in the fire.

Surely you mean next year, right HTO? Because there will be no NHL hockey this year – so sayeth the Garden Gnome.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/09/12 at 11:22 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

slip of the tongue OTC.  I believe you’re right.  Had a feeling since the beginning it was going to be like this.  I’ll be pumped when I actually get to see Smith play though and another year ina sup’d up AHL will def do him some good.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/09/12 at 11:31 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.