Flyers Faithful asked Sarah Baicker from CSN Philly, Anthony SanFilippo from the DelCo Daily Times, Geoff Detweiler from Broad Street Hockey, and our very own Nina G five questions about the ’11 Flyers’ season. We are very grateful that they took the time to share their opinions and predictions with us. Each day of this week, we will run the answers to one of those questions. Today’s question is:
Which of the following defenders will emerge as the best: Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, or Andrej Meszaros?
Sarah Baicker: Matt Carle. It’s funny – Carle’s quiet consistency is often unnoticed in the face of the Flyers’ more glamorous blue-liners (read: Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen), but his confidence and reliability cannot be overlooked. He really won me over during the postseason last year, when he managed to contribute offensively, and was never a liability on the ice. Last season’s plus-19 rating and 35 points will be hard to beat, but similar stats will help further identify Carle as the best out of the three.
Anthony SanFilippo: Coburn is the easy answer. Carle is a product of his partner – which isn’t a slight, but he looks that much better playing with Pronger. Then there’s Meszaros who will certainly be better than he was in Tampa. But as I said before,Coburn will be the best of the three because he has certain attributes you can’t teach, namely size and speed.
It’s a deadly combination for a blue liner, especially one that is 6-foot-5. Coburn is faster than most of the Flyers’ forwards, is a smart hockey player, and seems to be coming into his own from a physical aspect.
He’ll never be a Chris Pronger, who can bring it at both ends of the ice, but he can certainly be one of the sport’s premier hammers on defense as he comes into his prime, which is just starting to ripen this season.
Geoff Detweiler: While it helps that he plays with Chris Pronger, Matt Carle will prove to be the best of the three. He plays in all situations and excels in one-on-one play. Braydon Coburn should have a better year, but he’s slowly turning into a defensive defenseman with marginal offensive game. Because of Carle’s two-way ability, he’ll emerge to be the best.
Nina G: I’ve been the most impressed by Matt Carle. I think being paired with Pronger did wonders for his confidence and that continued to carry through without Pronger. I think if each player hit their ceiling Coburn would be the best of the three, but I’m not sold on his offense. Ultimately I could see them all end up being solid #3 defenseman.