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Monday Roundup

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Alright. You've all seen Mirtle's list of the best defensive defensemen so far, and we had a bit of a discussion on it in the comments on Friday. But let's go a little deeper and try to rank the seven defensemen (not counting Sergei Fedorov) the Caps have used so far this season based solely on their defensive play. Sure, to a certain extent it's silly to try to separate the defensive play from the rest of what these guys are doing, but we'll do it anyway - we thrive in the silly.

First up? Some of the NHL's real-time stats - hits, blocked shots and takeaways. Now, it's not enough to just rank the blueliners on raw numbers. Instead, we'll look at the numbers per sixty minutes of ice time, and not all ice time, but even strength ice time plus shorthanded ice time (since power play ice time is largely irrelevant for our purposes). Here, then are the rankings:

Hits (most per sixty minutes of EV + SH TOI to fewest)
  1. Erskine
  2. Jurcina
  3. Sloan
  4. Morrisonn
  5. Green
  6. Poti
  7. Schultz
Blocked Shots (most per sixty minutes of EV + SH TOI to fewest)
  1. Erskine
  2. Jurcina
  3. Schultz
  4. Morrisonn
  5. Sloan
  6. Green
  7. Poti
Takeaways (most per sixty minutes of EV + SH TOI to fewest)
  1. Green
  2. Sloan
  3. Poti
  4. Morrisonn
  5. Jurcina
  6. Schultz
  7. Erskine
Next up, we get a little deeper into the stats using Behind The Net's five-on-five stats, with explanations where necessary:

Quality of Competition (toughest competition to weakest - these are the players against whom the defensmen are playing)
  1. Schultz
  2. Morrisonn
  3. Green
  4. Poti/Sloan
  5. Jurcina
  6. Erskine
Quality of Teammates (weakest teammates to strongest - these are the players with whom the defensmen are playing):
  1. Erskine
  2. Sloan
  3. Poti
  4. Jurcina
  5. Green
  6. Schultz
  7. Morrisonn
Goals Against On Ice Per Sixty Minutes of Five-on-Five (lowest to highest)
  1. Erskine
  2. Jurcina
  3. Green
  4. Poti
  5. Sloan
  6. Schultz
  7. Morrisonn
Shots On Goal Against plus Missed Shots Against + Blocked Shots For Per Sixty Minutes of Five-on-Five (fewest to most - basically this is counting all shot attempts towards the Caps' goal)
  1. Poti
  2. Morrisonn
  3. Sloan
  4. Green
  5. Erskine
  6. Jurcina
  7. Schultz
Penalties Committed Per Sixty Minutes of Five-on-Five (fewest to most)
  1. Sloan
  2. Poti
  3. Schultz
  4. Green
  5. Erskine
  6. Jurcina
  7. Morrisonn
And a few ranking using Behind The Net's four-on-five stats, because penalty killers need some love too:

Goals Against On Ice Per Sixty Minutes of Four-on-Five (lowest to highest)
  1. Erskine
  2. Green
  3. Morrisonn
  4. Schultz
  5. Poti
  6. Jurcina
  7. Sloan
Shots On Goal Against plus Missed Shots Against + Blocked Shots For Per Sixty Minutes of Four-on-Five (fewest to most)
  1. Morrisonn
  2. Erskine
  3. Green
  4. Jurcina
  5. Schultz
  6. Poti
  7. Sloan
Finally, from our buddies over at Hockey Analysis, the individual defensive contributions of six Caps blueliners (sorry, Tyler - not enough games played, I suppose):
  1. Poti
  2. Erskine
  3. Green
  4. Jurcina
  5. Schultz
  6. Morrisonn
Whew - that was a lot of data. But here's one last piece - total even strength plus shorthanded ice time per game:
  1. Green
  2. Schultz
  3. Poti
  4. Morrisonn
  5. Erskine
  6. Jurcina
  7. Sloan
Armed with all the above stats - and, more importantly, what your eyes have told you, how do you rank the Caps seven defensemen from a purely defensive perspective? Here's my list:
  1. Poti
  2. Erskine
  3. Green
  4. Sloan
  5. Schultz
  6. Morrisonn
  7. Jurcina
By the numbers, Erskine looks very good, but they've come against the lowest quality of competition of any blueliner on the team, and his ice time is low. Poti's quality of competition is better, and I'm a big fan of the small number of shots against when he's on the ice, but he has been a relatively poor penalty killer. Green would rate higher if my eyes didn't tell me otherwise. The sample size on Sloan is small, but he has been solid. Schultz has struggled, though he has faced the toughest competition (perhaps Sarge - who is even younger than Green - isn't quite ready to take that next step in his progression and play the big minutes covering 52's back). Morrisonn has been a little snake-bit (see the very low number of shots against), but he has taken way too many penalties and simply hasn't kept opponents from scoring. Jurcina has been fairly similar to Erskine, but worse.

I'm spent (and am by no means wed to that list). What've you got?

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

The Caps are "showing who's boss" in the Southeast Division (hint: they are).... Hershey positively destroyed Bingo last night, and I mean "positively" - check out the Bears' plus/minus ratings on the night.