Aug. 7, 2019
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<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>swinny</b></div><div>I agree that the blueline needs an upgrade. Hard to disagree.
My take on this sits on the readiness of Bernard-Docker and/or Thomson. Both have had cups of coffee and haven't exactly looked out of place when drinking their double-double.
Now, what everyone hasn't mentioned is that this is a team in 2022-23 that should be able.to drive play with much more effectiveness than last season, which in turn, may improve the defense (usually nor spending as much time in your own end will do this).
Still, a right side of Hamonic (who ideally is 3rd paring) and Zaitszev (who ideally is 3rd pairing) leaves a hole in my world. It is possible one of the kids plugs the hole, but then we talk about the lack of experience lol.
Given all this, the team will be in the mix for sure. The Atlantic just got super competitive, and, none of the top 4 teams got better. No one is running away with this division imo. It is going to be a dog fight. As long as the Sens compete, they will be in the weeds.
If they add an experienced RD, I think it changes the conversation.
Leafs fan's opinion, take it for what it is worth.</div></div>
A lot here rides on JDB/ Thompson/ Branstrom.
If JDB or Thompson can come into camp and play to a NHL level where they are playing any kind of meaningful minutes early in the season, then it makes it a lot easier to move a Zaistev, and move Hammonic down, and there is less pressure to bring in a more established 5-6 D man like a holden to fill out the roster spot.
If Branstrom comes in this season and proves like he has shown flashes of that he is ready to be an every game top 4 D, then that also changes things. I think Sanderson - Branstrom could be a very strong pairing but the coach isn't gonna run that pairing a lot this year. However, if Branstrom stays in the top 4 all season then you really are gonna have less pressure to move for another top 4 D.
So depending on if the first, second or both scenarios play it really changes what time of D man and the options available to bring in. Ideally, you would like to see the D core filled internally with prospects like Thomspon, JDB and Sanderson full-time taking big steps, but you have to have other options available because this is the least likely scenario.