Today as I sat in an array of waiting rooms I found myself perusing @predfans and stumbled on a debate over which of our top two defensemen was better. The popular opinion today was that Ryan Suter is better than Shea Weber. Really, it is not debatable, they are a pair and work as a pair. Together they are great, hopefully we will never have to. Weber is a much more physical presence on the ice, and has a slap shot that can only be matched by one. However, Suter is unbelievable at covering for Weber when he pinches. They are two different players who are the perfect fit to play with each other.
As the debate raged on, an article was posted for all the group to read. Naturally, to keep my mind off the looming dentist appointment I clicked on the article, and to my surmise, I found myself cruising the "Bleacher Reports." (article at www.bleacherreport.com/articles/593803-duncan-keith-brent-seabrook-ranking-each-nhl-teams-top-defensive-pairing ) The article ranks all of the top defense pairings in the league. The bleacher guys gave us some respect and ranked the Weber-Suter pairing as the number two pairing in the league. The number one pairing... Lidstrom-Rafalski. Now I love history just as much as the next guy, and both of those guys will go down in record books, but Lidstrom and Rafalski are at the twilight of their glorious careers. Yet again, I am raising a moot point, since Rafalski retired earlier this summer making the number one pair non-existent.
Not that it really matters, but that means that when the season starts, we will have the number one defensive pairing in the league, according to "the bleacher reports." The question is will they actually be the leagues top pairing. The answer is as yes. No team has made dramatic improvement in the defensive zone. Doughty and Johnson could make a run, as well as Seabrook and Keith. However, with Suter in a ufa contract year, and Weber possibly in a contract year as well, I'm betting on a historic year out of the pairing.