It is a strange situation to figure and two years in a row raises some questions for sure...
Just in case it interests anyone (not that it necessarily should - but it excites me), Iím off on a last minute roadie and will be catching games at Minnesota-Duluth (vs Denver) and North Dakota (vs Miami) for the first time this week. On top of that, North Dakota will be state 49 for me. Followed up with streaming UNH/UMass on Sunday, somewhere along the Great Plains or lost in a National Park. Nice little weekend...
Obviously Langway has a pair of Norris trophies, multiple Stanley Cups and is in the HHOF. He would easily been the career leading scorer among defenseman had he played four seasons at UNH. Heís a hard bar to reach...
As for his 18-20 year old seasons, and not to take anything away from him, it was the norm back then where as it was/is rather unusual for the times of Pesce and Gildon.
As for Pesce, he is growing into a top pair defenseman and, perhaps, one of the most underrated defenders in the entire NHL. I believe he was a very young 18 when he arrived at UNH but I donít have the numbers in front of me so someone can correct me if Iím wrong. Playing on such a deep defensive corp certainly shielded him but may have stunted his early impact as well...
Gildon has been UNHís best player for three years. Heís averaging .74 PPG already with a big year in front of him. I think his professional floor is 1-2 years in the AHL and then an extended career as a third pair defenseman and PP specialist. His ceiling is obviously much higher...
So, are these the best three defenseman in UNH history? Who else deserves mention or may, arguably, surpass any of the three...??
From an NHL perspective - both Kevin Dean and Bryan Muir had extended careers. Both won Cups. Bryan Muirís UNH career was cut short so he could play on the Canadian National Team (no small feat, clearly)...
Tim Burke, a Langway contemporary, IS the all-time leading scoring defenseman in UNH history. However, he played in a MUCH more offensive era than Gildon or Pesce and never played in the NHL. Though he has certainly carved out a nice career as an executive.
TVR is carving out an extended NHL career as a back end defender (does have a Cup) and scored 75 career points as an older defenseman at UNH. He and Gildon have identical .74 PPG marks - Gildon needs 21 points to match TVRs output (he should get there and as a notably younger player)...
Jamie Filipowicz scores 88 career points in three seasons on some of the best UNH teams to ever compete. However, he never skated in a single NHL game. I believe he is now a doctor at the U of Colorado medical center where my Aunt and Cousin work. Very impressive!
Have I missed anyone? Am I right or wrong about the top three...??
Last edited by Dan; 11-08-2019 at 09:17 AM.
congrats. I did not know this. He came to UNH as a 21 year old overage junior. Benefitted from the offensive players, and was more of a solid puck distributor.
Would the best - two-way/overall talent - from that era actually be Todd Hall? He would certainly have been the highest rated recruit coming into college. He played on two US WJC teams, but he played two years at BC, skated on perhaps the most disappointing UNH team ever (1995-96) and never made it in the NHL?
Steve OíBrien always seemed to play better than the sum of his parts for me, heís not in the conversation but he was very good for UNH around this time.
The 80ís are even hazier (Chris Grassie was my first hero athlete - but obviously he doesnít qualify for a list like this) and the 70ís never happened for me - which is why Iíd be interested in any arguments for or against other defensemen...
Probably the second best UNH defenseman I saw play in Durham was Brad Houston. Good luck trying to find stats on him. He played three years at UNH, opening up Snively in his senior year. Coached hockey three years and golf 28 years at Colgate, but other than that, I do not know much more. The guy had an awesome slap shot from the point; at least it seemed that way to me back then. :-)
Also, I've used hockeydb.com for a while now and never noticed this:
Are you guys brothers?
In the Ďwhat could have beení files, Keith Yandle would certainly be #2 on this list had he gotten into school...
Last edited by sonar; 11-08-2019 at 02:35 PM.
Let's Go SouzaCats!
Getting back to Blackburn, it has been kind of a weird start to the season for him. I didn't see his play in the Miami trip or the Bentley games so I picked up on him at Merrimack and BU this year. His game has been a little off to start the year, where I feel like (and I seem to think Souza has mentioned) that he relies on his ability to see the game as much or more than his natural skills it seems like he is a little behind to start off. If we rewind to last years thread in the first 5-7 games he was in this same "doghouse" on the 4th line for unexplained and to some (including myself) unfathomable reasons. Maybe the demotion was an attention getter as it did work out that way last year when he was then punched into the top six and went on to a pretty decent season.
I like his game but he has been a slow starter in two of his three complete seasons. I'm looking for him to get his rhythm back and as was previously mentioned become the net front puck hound that mashes in 10-15 goals from the area of the blue paint.
As for Max Gildon, I have often been a critic of his game mostly because I felt the mistakes were from overconfidence on his or his coaches part. I must say that while his offensive numbers are off the chart early on I am more impressed by his defensive awareness improvements. This is not to take away from the staggering G/A numbers and the percentage of team goals he is involved in, I'm just seeing a much more complete player and it is a joy to watch. His abilities carrying the puck out of the zone were well documented but he has tightened up on the miscues that were glaring in his first two seasons here. If it is our coaching staff that is helping him to refine his undeniable talent level, that would be a great selling point to talented players on the recruiting trail going forward. I'm not going to compare him to past players that I have never watched, we have enough historians here who can make those comparisons for me.
I donít go back to Brad Houston but Iíve seen every defenseman whose played at UNH since the Ď70-Ď71 season. Back in those days there wasnít much defense as Iím sure Snively will agree. In fact, back then Charlie Holtís primary requisite for a defenseman was his ability to carry the puck up through center ice and into the zone. In his time he had at least these guys, all who played forward in the NHL or WHA, play defense because of those skills - Guy Smith, Gordie Clark, Dave Lumley, Bruce Crowder, Andy Brickley, and Jeff Lazaro. Of the real defensemen back then, Tim Burke was the best. He had played defense at Melrose High and took the responsibility seriously. An All American, in a different era he definitely would have had a decent NHL career.
After that, the names kind of fly by. Kevin Dean for sure, Steve Morrow, no one mentioned Todd Hall, a transfer from BC, Tim Murray could move the puck, Filipowicz (nice to hear about him now, he and his parents were great people), Steve OíBrien, Christian Bragnalo was underrated, Garrett Stafford was real good but his off ice issues prevented him from being an All American, Brian Yandle was a second team All American twice, Pesce, TVR. And Brad Flashians, who was All American in 2008 and forsook hockey to go to Wall Street. Anyway, for a program that has emphasized offense over defense for the most part over the years, UNH has had their share of good ones. They are certainly the strength of the team so far this year.
Last edited by Greg Ambrose; 11-08-2019 at 11:02 PM.
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