So, Turns Out We’re in Love with Stay-at-Home Defensemen

In BOS, SAL, SCA, SFS, Special Features, VAN on December 4, 2011 at 10:54 am


You wouldn’t think we’d love our solid-yet-unspectacular defensemen, but the numbers don’t lie.

We’re head over heels. We’d marry those guys and their good positioning and their low point totals if we could.

They’re our unsung heroes, our stay-at-home defensemen. And they have to do all the laundry, darn it.

Take a spin through the franchise games played leaders throughout the league and you’ll see: in many franchises, real longevity comes not from being a high-end sniper or silky setup man but a stay-at-home blueliner toiling away in the muck.

5. Mattias Norstrom

Norstrom never managed more than 17 points in a single season during his GWMHL career. In his day, he was one of the league’s best defensive defensemen, and after 12 seasons he’s the South Carolina Fire Ants franchise leader in GP with 832. (But not for long: Milan Hejduk and Marian Hossa are both poised to surpass him early this season.)

4. Darryl Sydor

Calling Sydor a “stay-at-home” defenseman is a bit misleading, considering he holds the league’s all-time worst career plus-minus. He put in several solid offensive seasons early in his career, but as time wore on his role became – allegedly – more defensive. The fact that he racked up nearly 1000 games (944, to be exact) with the San Francisco franchise is a testament to… something. We’re not sure what, actually.

3. Scott Hannan

Hannan’s the only player left from expansion Vancouver‘s inaugural year. He was drafted in 1999 and has been a steady – and mostly invisible – fixture on the blueline ever since. Hannan has a commanding lead as the Night Train’s all-time GP leader (694 to second place Filip Kuba’s 629). He’s also the only active Gump player on this list.

2. Chris Therien

If you look at the Boston Banshees franchise leaders, you see the Gump Hall of Fame calibre talent you’d expect: Paul Kariya, Daniel Alfredsson, and… Chris freaking Therien. At 610 games, Therien is the third longest-serving member of the franchise..

This came up in Google when we searched Sylvain Lefebvre. So we used it. Duh.

1. Sylvain Lefebvre

At 747 games, Lefebvre was 145 up on second place Pavel Datsyuk heading into this season. And in the last five seasons of his completely unremarkable career with the Salem (nee Columbus/Richelieu/Chesapeake) franchise, he scored exactly one goal. It was in ’99-’00, and we have no doubt it was scored on an end-to-end rush, top-shelf. It’s probably what saved us all from Y2K.

Honorable Mention: Okay, so he’s not a defenseman, but he is maybe the weirdest franchise GP leader in the entire league. Stephane Yelle, a defense-first forward and penalty-killer who played all 829 games with Charleston and its predecessors, is well over 200 games ahead of the closest active Chief.


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