Canucks Midseason Marks: The Defense

(Contributions from J.J. Guerrero and Matt Lee.)

Now that the Canucks have reached the official halfway point of the 2010/2011 season, we take a look back and give the players their midseason marks.

Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks

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Dan Hamhuis: The Smithers native has been everything the Canucks wanted in a top defenseman – excellent skater, positionally-sound defensively and good puck-mover. Hamhuis often plays against opposing team’s top lines, but is also on pace to match his career-high point totals.

Grade: A-

Kevin Bieksa: Bieksa is perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the Canucks’ season. Playing injury-free for the first time in three years, he’s dug himself out of a deep doghouse and re-established himself as one of the team’s best defensemen and leaders. He has 8 points (3 G – 5 A) and a +10 rating in his last 8 games.

Grade: B+

Alex Edler: Take a quick look at the NHL leaderboard and you’ll see 24-year old Alex Edler among the top-25 in NHL defensemen in points (25), total ice-time (989:55), average ice-time per game (24:08) and plus-minus (+10). No, the Canucks don’t have a Norris Trophy candidate yet but maybe – just maybe – they’ll have one in Edler soon.

Grade: A

Christian Ehrhoff: Ehrhoff had an outstanding first campaign with the Canucks last year and he’s continued that trend this season. While it doesn’t appear he’ll eclipse his team-best +36 rating from last season (+10 this year), the German is still a safe bet for 45+ points.

Grade: B

Keith Ballard: Some of the hype around trading for Keith Ballard in the summer was diminished when the American was hampered by the lingering effects of hip surgery and further when he sustained a concussion. But since getting back to full health, Ballard has been a solid defensive presence.

Grade: C+

Andrew Alberts: The whipping boy of playoffs past has re-acquitted himself to the fans with some surprisingly strong defensive play. Alberts has been a nice fit on the bottom pairing and if he keeps his game simple, will stay there.

Grade: C

Aaron Rome: Alberts’ improved play has pushed Rome further back down the depth chart. It doesn’t help that Rome’s play has regressed in the last few games he’s played. He’s only appeared in 24 games to date.

Grade: C-

J.J. Guerrero

Founder and Executive Editor of Canucks Hockey Blog. Proud Canadian, hardcore Canucks fan. I would like nothing more than watching the Canucks win the Stanley Cup. Against the Leafs.

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