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Position-by-Position Preview: Defensemen

Monday, October 12th
Position-by-Position Preview:  Defensemen

As we continue the position-by-position preview, we?ll keep the progression from the back to the front going. Last week, we had the goalies for you. They?ve posted the statistics at various levels, and bring a combination of youth and experience. As far as the guys protecting the goaltenders go, there is certainly youth. But with the departures of defensive mainstays Darrell Hay, Kory Scoran, and Travis Wight, it?s going to be up to some less-experienced players to take on increased responsibilities. With the current team?s group of forwards being deeper than any in recent memory, the defenseman will not have to shoulder too much of an offensive load. Weston Tardy figures to be this squad?s top defenseman and leader when the season opens on Friday night. The Colorado College alum only has one season of ECHL action under his belt- he played 61 games for the now-defunct Augusta Lynx in 2006-07- but he spent the last two seasons logging significant minutes in Sweden. Now a fourth-year professional, he could have more offensive responsibilities than he has at any time in his hockey career. Guillaume Monast is coming off a productive year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and will likely be looked to for continued production from the points on the power play. While the offensive style he?s used to playing in the ?Q? will not translate directly to the professional game, the Dallas Stars assignee will be able to use his smooth skating and crisp passing ability to continue leading breakouts. The same goes for Brendan Milnamow, a Texas Stars (AHL) contract player. Milnamow debuted with the Steelheads late last season, and plays a steady style that will make him a nightly fixture in the lineup as long as he?s in Boise. The familiar faces returning to the defensive corps are Kyle Radke and Riley Weselowski. While both players? willingness to play up on the wing gave Coach Laxdal some roster flexibility last season, both bring very different attributes to the table. Radke?s toughness and locker room presence made him a favorite of fans and teammates alike last season, but many around Qwest Arena the past few weeks have taken note of the work Radke did in the offseason; he?s in great shape entering 2009-10. Weselowski also says he?s in great condition after missing the conclusion of last season with a knee injury. Back in full health, Weselowski still possesses the same point shot fans will remember from a season ago. Cody Lampl is also figuring into the mix on defense. The Ketchum kid?s competitive nature was very noticeable in the October 9th preseason game in Logan, Utah, when he dropped the gloves with the Grizzlies? Mark Pavli, and showed a willingness to not only throw his weight around, but absorb some hits on the boards as well. The offensive prowess of the forwards and the stable goaltending on this team will greatly benefit the defense early in the season, but one more veteran blueline presence could make this one of the better groups in the ECHL. Stay tuned; we?ll cover the forwards on Thursday.(Insight courtesy of Voice of the Steelheads, Doug Plagens)

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