These two form arguably the most complete defensive pairing in the NHL. Like our elite forwards, I probably don’t need to speak much on these guys. The only thing Slavin isn’t is a power play quarterback. Other than that, this pair is flawless.
Brady Skjei – Haydn Fleury
Other than his first ten seconds in a Carolina Hurricanes sweater, he’s been really good. He drives offense and skates well, and his breakouts are good too. I know many are still skeptical of giving up a 1st round pick for him, but I think this is going to pan out.
By now, we know not to question the Canes’ front office if they like a guy. I’m curious to see how he fares in his first full season as a Hurricane.
I know Svechinkov and Necas exist, but as far as I’m concerned, no one has taken more encouraging steps this season than Fleury. If he isn’t signed to some type of bridge deal this summer, we riot.
There’s frankly no reason he shouldn’t start next season as one of the six. I could see him losing out to one of the prospects, but one of the assumptions I’m operating under is that none of them steal the spotlight. That, and Fleury has ideal size and speed for defensemen. Our prospects are smaller.
Ah yes, my personal favorite Carolina Hurricanes defensive pair from a conceptual standpoint. They balance each other perfectly.
It’s disappointing that some are still hating on Gardiner. But, that probably won’t ever change. He’s been nothing short of awesome since Dougie went down, and he really seemed to be settling in. I don’t see a scenario we let him go yet because he’s valuable on the power play, and his puck distribution is elite. As you can see below, he’s found himself recently.
Pesce is my favorite defenseman on the team for all of the little things he contributes to a complete team game. Also, how can you not love his contract? He consistently shuts down top lines in his own end. His offensive game has grown each season, even if it’s not always reflected in his point totals.