Predicting the Sharks’ Defensive Pairings and Stats

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First Defensive Pair

Sep 27, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Alex Stalock (32), defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44) and defenseman Justin Braun (61) defend as Phoenix Coyotes center Kyle Chipchura (24) attacks during the first period at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

#44 Marc-Edouard Vlasic – 82 GP – 7 G – 24 A – 31 P – +36 – 34 PIM

#61 Justin Braun – 80 GP – 6 G – 20 A – 26 P – + 27 – 20 PIM

Why this works: Braun and Vlasic developed into a really good defensive pairing last season for the San Jose Sharks. They are both two-way defenseman with a slight emphasis on defense. Usually a player like Vlasic or Braun would be paired with someone like Mirco Mueller who is a two-way defenseman who has a slight emphasis on offense, but since this pair has been so successful in the past it would not feel right breaking them up.

This is a very safe pair. They are rarely going to make a defensive mistake and they can sure hold their own on the offensive side of things too. In my previous article I predicted that Vlasic would win the Norris, and I’m still not going back on that. This is the Sharks’ shutdown pair. These are the two defenseman that you put out in the final minute of game 7. I really would like to think of this pair as #1a because the next set is not too shabby either.