March 16, 2013; Tampa FL, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason (6) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Tampa Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Will Carolina Hurricanes Defense Be Mobile Enough?

Speed is a common trait in the new NHL. This isn’t the dead puck era anymore and teams need a blend of strength and speed if they want to be successful in games.

For the Carolina Hurricanes, this isn’t a problem on offense. They have big players like Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu, but also speedy players like Nathan Gerbe and Alexander Semin.

But on defense, a problem with mobility could arise. Tim Gleason is nearing his return, which means a younger, quicker defenseman could come out of the lineup. With that lineup shuffle make the Hurricanes defense mobile enough?

March 16, 2013; Tampa FL, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison (44) against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Tampa Times Forum. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For one, we already saw what a quick offense could do to the Hurricanes in the game against the Penguins two weeks ago. The forwards speed and transitions were too much for the Canes defense as they gave up the biggest number of goals this season by falling 5-2.

Of the players currently on the Hurricanes’ defense corps, Justin Faulk, Andrej Sekera and Ryan Murphy are all quick skaters. Brett Bellemore and Ron Hainsey aren’t fast, but do have satisfactory speed.

That leaves three defensemen with below-average speed in Jay Harrison, Mike Komisarek and Gleason.

It’s still not clear what the Hurricanes will do when Gleason returns, but it’s likely Bellemore and Komisarek sit with some type of rotation used by coach Kirk Muller.

If Harrison, Komisarek and Gleason all play in the same game, the Hurricanes could be in a bit of trouble. Two of those d-men would play together creating a shut-down pairing, but also one that could be burnt easily on transitions.

If only two of the three play a game, Muller could easily work something out in the lineup with Murphy and Hainsey playing the point with one of the less-mobile defensemen.

To sum up, Muller needs to watch who he plays on any given night. There’s ways to work around some of the lack of speed on defense, but if the slower defensemen play together, it could mean trouble for the Hurricanes.

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Tags: Carolina Hurricanes Jay Harrison Mike Komisarek Tim Gleason

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