A lot of people have joined the anti-Bieksa bandwagon and it’s something I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around. At times it honestly seems like people want to get rid of Bieksa more than Andrew Alberts, but it seems unfounded to me. There’s a few things that Bieksa brings to the table that I really think the Canucks benefit from and with the additions of Hamhuis and Ballard, Bieksa’s role is going to not only change but be defined with new specifics.
On a blue line that sees a lot of defensive prowess, none of the Canucks defenceman can be classified as offensive defenseman. Edler, Ehrhoff, Salo, Hamhuis, Ballard, Rome, O’Brien and Alberts make for a full defense core, but Bieksa’s offensive mindedness and tendencies are in my mind the perfect complement to the defensive talent that the Canucks carry on the back end. He’s been unfortunate with not one but two tendon lacerations, but there’s no doubt that his drive and commitment to this team is amongst the best in the locker room.
Aside from the offensive element he brings to the blue line, his compete level is something that the Canucks really benefit from. He’s an aggressive blue liner, something that stands out amongst the more passive nature of players like Salo, Ehrhoff and Edler to name a few.
With the addition of Hamhuis and Ballard though, Bieksa’s role becomes a lot more specific to the team. He needs to embrace the gritty side of his game. There’s nothing better than a fired up Bieksa. Bieksa needs to be the physical force we’ve seen him to be in the past and bring his physical presence and element to the Canucks’ game.
I’ve not sold Bieksa out yet. In my books he’s got two strikes. While he can defensively worrying sometimes, there’s a reason we have Luongo and our blue line is amongst the best blue lines in the league. Bieksa’s is not expendable yet. The Canucks don’t have needs that are so pressing that his value needs to be capitalized on and his role is one that in my mind complements the host of blue liners the Canucks currently have.