Angus’ 2013 Prime Cuts (Part 3 of 3)

by Dobber Sports on May 8, 2013 | (0 Comments)



The final installment of my 2013 Prime Cuts roster unveils the top six forwards, the top defensive pairing, and the starting goaltender.

Welcome to the sixth edition of my end-of-season Prime Cuts roster. To make this team, a player must have made a significant contribution to his respective NHL team in 2013 (especially relative to expectations). I want to reward players who came out of nowhere to produce, but at the same time I also want to recognize stellar performances from elite talents.


I used advanced stats, regular stats, and the “eye test” (watching games) when forming my analysis and opinions on the below players. I didn’t adhere to a salary cap, but I did my best to fit players into the proper role. You won’t find Erik Karlsson on the third defensive pairing, and you won’t find John Tavares centering line four.


Here are the past five Prime Cuts rosters:



I (tried to) remove my own biases (players I like and dislike) when putting this team together, and the selections are 100% subjective. You may disagree on a player or two, but I hope my explanations provide enough reasoning for the “why” behind each pick.



The Second Forward Line:


Pascal Dupuis – Derek Stepan –PA Parenteau



Dupuis’ career high in goals is 25 (he set that mark last season). In the lockout-condensed 2013 regular season, he scored 20 goals in 48 games. But it isn’t just about the goals with Dupuis. And this season, it wasn’t just about how he was benefitting from Sidney Crosby feeding him passes, either. Dupuis has quietly developed into one of the best two-way wingers in hockey, and he stepped his game up when Crosby went down with a broken jaw. The fact that he is playing the best hockey of his career at the age of 33/34 serves as a nice reminder that not all players decline or age the same way. Don’t sell your veterans because their age starts with the number ‘3.’ Sometimes they will surprise you.


Speaking of quiet emergences – Stepan has developed into a top line center under John Tortorella in New York. He averaged 20:55 of ice time this season, and was relied upon in all situations. Stepan had 44 points in 48 games – like Jonathan Toews and Logan Couture, he is a very “heady” player. Stepan thinks the game of hockey at an elite level, and that has allowed his offensive and defensive abilities to shine through in the Big Apple. He turns 23 this summer, and his best days are still ahead of him. And that is great news for the Rangers, but not so much for the rest of the NHL.


PA Parenteau and Matt Duchene were arguably the only two bright spots in Colorado in 2013. Many wondered if Parenteau would be able to produce without John Tavares as his center. The Avalanche took a $16 million gamble that he could, and Parenteau made them look very smart for it. Parenteau matched his 2011-12 goal total (18) in 2013, in 32 less games. He is the perfect fit for Duchene, as well. Parenteau is an east-west player who sees the ice very well. Duchene is more of the north-south variety, and he loves to shoot the puck. Parenteau is going to assist on a lot of Duchene goals for at least the next three seasons.


The First Forward Line:


Taylor Hall – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane



It took us a few years to figure it out, but Hall is the best player on the Edmonton Oilers. And it isn’t even close. The question of him flirting with the 50-goal mark isn’t one of if, but when. He is as powerful a skater as you will find in the NHL, and he is starting to figure out how to pick his spots better, too. Hall was very frequently the best forward on the ice in every single game he suited up for this season.


Toews and Kane don’t need much written about them that we don’t already know. Toews is one of the best two-way forwards in the game, and should be in the mix for both the Selke and Hart this year. Kane has taken his offensive game to another level, and he makes plays with the puck that most players could only dream of pulling off (especially his patented skating-in-full-stride-no-look-spin-o-rama-saucer pass). Toews and Kane are the two major reasons why the Blackhawks are once again the class of the NHL, even with significant chances to the supporting cast since the 2010 Stanley Cup victory.


The Top Defensive Pairing:


Christian Ehrhoff – PK Subban



Why Ehrhoff? Why not Ryan Suter? Or Kris Letang? Well, I don’t think players should be punished just because they play on awful teams. And what Ehrhoff did on an abysmal Buffalo team this year was nothing short of herculean. I am convinced that losing Ehrhoff is a significant reason why the Canucks have tumbled since 2011, especially on the power play. He is such a dynamic player with the puck on his stick. If you are a numbers person, here is why Ehrhoff should have warranted some Norris attention with his spectacular 2013 season.


Speaking of dynamic, PK Subban quickly quieted his doubters with a stellar start to the 2013 season. Subban missed camp after holding out for a big contract (one he never received), but he shut his mouth and put the work in, and he was arguably the most dominant defenseman in hockey this season. He didn’t see the same amount of even strength minutes as the other top defensemen in the league (he was given more of a power play focus), and that may hurt his cause when the Norris winner is announced in a little over a month.


Let’s prorate Subban’s 2013 numbers over a full 82 game season, shall we? 20 goals, 51 assists, 71 points, 105 PIM, 240 SOG, and a whopping 49 power play points. For those of you keeping track at home… that would be a fan-freaking-tastic fantasy season from a defenseman.


The Starting Goaltender:


Sergei Bobrovsky



If the Hart Trophy was awarded to the most valuable player (it is, but generally the voters tend to favour skaters), Bobrovsky would win it going away. He was the best goalie I saw in 2013, and he routinely kept the Blue Jackets in games that they had no business being in. And the numbers back this up. Simply put, he was the best goalie in the NHL in 2013. I'd like to be all hyperbolic and say it wasn't even close, but Niemi wasn't too far behind. Those two were the best 'tenders in 2013.



The Final Roster:


Taylor Hall – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane

Pascal Dupuis – Derek Stepan –PA Parenteau

Brandon Saad – Nazem Kadri – Brendan Gallagher

Brandon Prust – Boyd Gordon – Carl Hagelin


Christian Ehrhoff – PK Subban

Brenden Dillon – Jonas Brodin

Patrick Wiercioch – Jake Muzzin


Sergei Bobrovsky

Ray Emery


Coach: Paul MacLean


Follow Jeff on Twitter @AngusCertified




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