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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Season in Review: John Erskine

John Erskine has consistently become one of the main pieces of the Washington Capitals defense.  Sometimes he is overused, sometimes he is underused.  No matter the case, John Erskine is a much needed man on the Caps blue line.

Is he the best defenseman?  No.  Is he even the second best?  Probably not.  But, is he the worst?  The answer is definitely a no.  

The guy brings one thing to the Caps defensive corps:  Tenacity.  He is one mean, mean dude.  He looks like a truck driver, hits like a Mack truck, and can score an occasional goal, whether it’s a muffin towards the net or an Erskine cannon shot.  He is one of the most underrated fighters in the league, throwing all 220 lbs of him into each and ever not-so-nice punch.  

Now, we have another mean guy on the blue line in Oleksy, but before it was simply just John Erskine.  Next season, he has to continue to bring that grit to every game.  He’s gotta knock guys around in front of the net, win board battles and minimize mistakes.  Oh, and the occasional Erskine fight is always
welcome.

This is entirely not his fault, but there is absolutely no reason for Erskine to be a 2nd line defenseman.  He simply should not be playing alongside Carlson.  Erskine is good, but he will serve best on the 3rd line with minimal minutes.  He averaged 18:28 minutes in the regular season, and 19:27 in the postseason.  That is simply too much time for Big Erskine.  His style of play doesn’t require boatloads of ice time.  I’m not ragging on Erskine, he absolutely should play each game.  I just don’t think he should be playing on the 2nd defensive unit.  He would serve best on the 3rd.

Earlier this year, Erskine signed a two-year,  $3.9 million contract.  That’s a fair price for someone who, barring any relatively major blue line signing this offseason, will be expected to play consistently throughout the year.  And an Erskine sighting is always welcome at the Verizon Center.

Video Provided By:  Fred Murtz

Grade:  B


3 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:53:00 PM

    No way; D tops. Have you been watching any of the west coast teams play? Erskine couldn't keep up with these guys if he were tied to them. He should #7, tops.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for reading!

    I would tend to agree with you in the case of most teams. On the majority of NHL rosters, Erskine would be the odd man out. However, the Caps do not have that many d-men waiting in the wing that are better than Erskine.

    The realistic choices: Kundratek, Schilling, and Orlov. This year, it certainly could not have been Poti or Schultz, he is better than both of those two. What the three I mentioned above lack is experience. They have a combined 96 games played in the regular season, 0 playoff game experience. Erskine is arguably the most experienced Caps d-man on the team. That is NOT GOOD, but it’s the truth. I was simply saying he’s the 3rd line defenseman on this team.

    I think Erskine can hold his own. He’ll never be the best, but what he does bring to the table benefits the Caps, more so than what Kundratek, Orlov, and Schilling would have brought this year.

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