A hockey defenseman’s main purpose is to protect the netminder and his team’s net from the opposing team’s attack. They play a crucial role in keeping the puck out of the net and creating scoring opportunities for their team. Defensive players work very hard, use their sticks wisely, and are usually known for their long, difficult hits. Because of this, scouts want to see if a player has the strength, quickness, and the willingness to learn how to protect the netminder’s goal.
Every team needs strong defensemen who can compete more effectively with the other team. Scouts look for players who they believe can handle their business physically. They want to see if a defenseman can lay a solid power play and clear the crease effectively. Additionally, they want to see how a player handles themselves while playing a physical game. Players who are larger in size tend to draw more hits and are usually the stronger players.
Willingness To Learn
While the strength of a hockey player is important, so is their willingness to learn. Good defensive players are always looking to improve their game and get better at protecting the puck and creating offense. They learn from their mistakes and are always eager to improve. Additionally, scouts want to see if a player is willing to admit their mistakes and correct them. A good hockey player knows they are never finished learning and will always be improving.
In the same way that a football or basketball player has to have good instincts and keen awareness to play those sports effectively, a hockey player needs to have “hockey sense” to play the game at a high level. Good defensive players know when to stay back and when to charge forward, know how to position themselves to cut down on the amount of space an opposing player has to get the puck past them, and know when to use their body and which body parts to use when engaging an attacker.
A Full Kitchen
While strength, speed, and a good shot are certainly important, scouts also want to see if a player can cook a steak, make a quick and efficient sandwich, or handle other basic food prep tasks. Being a good teammate is almost as important as being good at hockey, and scouts want to make sure that the player they are selecting can bring something extra to the table. Does the player have a good attitude? Does he like to have fun? These are just some of the things scouts look for in a hockey player.
In today’s NHL, there are many different roles players can take on, and not all of them require them to be a giant human being. With the increased usage of technology and big data, teams can now get a good sense of a player’s potential without needing to see them on the ice every night. Hockey analytics have taken the game by storm, and with more and more teams relying on statistics to make scouting reports and formulate gameplans, the importance of good defensive players cannot be understated.