from Sean Gentille of The Athletic,
Pronger: Incredible vision. Great passer. I think playing at (Joe Louis Arena) his whole career was an absolute coup because of the boards. He didn’t have to get hit in the corners very much because the puck went right to the goalie. But he was incredibly elusive to begin with. He was hit like 10 times in his career because of how smart he was and how good he was, with the way he could control the game and make the right decision. I liken him to (Scotty Niedermayer and Al MacInnis). He’s not outmuscling people, but he’s still very strong on his stick. You’re not gonna move him off you. You’re not gonna outsmart him. You’re not gonna outmuscle him. He’s gonna use his leverage and be just incredibly smart.
Gentille: What was he better than you at?
Pronger: Hmm. I would say we’re equal in passing the puck. He played with the No. 1 power play all the time. He has better offensive statistics. Very accurate shot. And he had the benefit of playing with seven Hall of Famers for an extended period of time, which helps.
But you still have to be smart. You have to be smart to play with players like that because they’re smart too. A lot of times good players can’t play with other good players because they need to push guys in certain directions. Same thing with Stevie Y. (They) played there for 20 years. You’re gonna have advantages when you only play in one place and you have the same teammates and the same coaching staff and the same owner the whole time. All that does play a part. It’s not a knock on him and it’s not a knock on me. It just is what it is.
more ($), Pronger on other defensemen who finished above him in the recent Athletic player rankings...
from Kevin Allen of Detroit Hockey Now,
Before Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde answered a question about whether he would like to look at Simon Edvinsson in Detroit later this season, he paid his respect to his team’s chain of command.
“That’s a Steve thing,” he said. “(Steve Yzerman’s) job is to look and take care of the long-term picture.”
But if Yzerman promoted the 6-foot-6 defenseman Edvinsson, he’d be happy to play him.
“I’ll play all these young guys, because I think that’s part of the growth,” Lalonde said. “We saw it with Elmer (Soderblom). He grew immensely with his ups and downs early on. And he’s on a good track. Absolutely. The more the merrier. If it’s in (Yzerman’s) vision that part of the process of growth is to get these guys games, we’ll play them a ton.”...
Edvinsson’s growth has been steady. He has missed time with injury and illness, yet still boasts 18 points in 35 games. He ranks fifth among rookie AHL defensemen with his scoring rate of .51 points per game. Over his past nine games, he has six points and is +3.
Lalonde said the “upswing is there” for Edvinsson.
“A little more confidence in his game, assertiveness in his game, because you see the tools there,” Lalonde said. “I think he gets caught in trying to do too much at times. Basically, everything you saw here in preseason, I think his eight games were an unbelievable reflection. Some nights he looked NHL-ready to be a top four. There’s other nights you could see he’s gonna take some time. Trending well. That’s what the American Hockey League’s for.”
Yzerman can be a difficult read at times. He doesn’t often reveal his thought process when it comes to his strategy. But he has been clear about how he develops players. He likes to see them be highly effective in the AHL before coming to the NHL.
It seems like Edvinsson is almost there, but maybe not enough to warrant NHL playing time. If it plays out that way, some fans might be disappointed that Edvinsson doesn’t get any games this season.
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