Tuesday, November 8, 2011

San Jose Sharks: Todd McLellan Tinkering With the Defensive Third Line

The San Jose Sharks have clicked as a team, simply said. Martin Havlat has made an impression that second line and the team is continually growing together to gain chemistry with one another as the season is progressing.

Something things are taken care of and have become a staple night after night on the ice, and others not so much.

The top two lines on offense are as good as they come in the NHL these days. However, the penalty kill could use some work, and even the third and fourth offensive lines could be contributing much more.

As much as they creep under the radar, the third line on defense in another part of the Sharks' game that could use some work.

Coach Todd McLellan has appeared unhappy with what he has seen from a defense that was supposed to be ranked with some of the best in the NHL. However, Jason Demers has been a disappointment and Colin White is flying to far under the radar to even be noticed on the ice at times.

McLellan's frustration with the line has caused him to make several changes, most of which happen on a night to night basis now. On any given night, we can see Demers, White, Vandermeer or Braun back-skating against the opposing team. McLellan may not even have a clue which defensive pairing works best on this line, and if he does not know, then what hope is there for the rest of us.

I am going to take my best shot, though.

Here are the third line pairings that give the Sharks the best chance to win.

3. Jason Demers/ Jim Vandermeer

Jason Demers has slowly become a regular for a healthy scratch these days, which goes to show how aggravated with him McLellan is. There were such high hopes with him coming into this season that most cannot help but feel disgust toward someone so set-up to thrive in San Jose.

Demers has played in seven of the team's 13 games thus far, tallying just two assists and a +/- of -6.

Vandermeer has played in just four games so far, but has made a mark on both defense and offense with two assists and a +/- of +3.

Is it time to give Vandermeer a shot?

As long as Demers let's him.

This would be a nice pairing of moderate offense and a good defense, which may just work for a struggling Demers.

2. Justin Braun/ Colin White

We have seen this pairing over the past couple weeks, and it has seemed to work for the most part.

McLellan, at this point, is just trying to find anything and everything that will work on this line, which is why Braun is getting his shot at claiming a starting role on this defense.

Braun has flown under the radar, as well, but he is someone who keeps a flow on the ice with minimal damage to result.

Pairing him with White gives a "tough guy" mentality to this line, as Braun is no slack at 6'2."

Braun supplies the offense and White supplies a force in front of the net, which has panned out quite well for the Sharks so far.

1. Jason Demers/ Colin White

We all know this has not worked so far, as coming into the season this was the starting pair on the third line.

I have documented the struggles of Demers in the previous slide, which is more on him than anyone else playing with him.

White is a player that goes about his business on the ice, and maybe that has not worked well with Demers so far.

But how could this not work?

Demers is the young talent with decent finesse ability on both defense and offense, and White is the bully in the trenches intimidating players.

In McLellan's wildest dreams, this pairing was the lesser version of Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray. However, Demers has not played up to par, and White is still creating chemistry with anyone and everyone that gets penciled in with him on the third line.

As much as Demers has stunk it up, this is the best defensive pairing available on the third line for the Sharks, and McLellan should give it more of a chance to succeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment