Hello there, trade buddies!
So you've traded for Ben Lovejoy. Here's a quick pro/con regarding the Rev. We all (myself included) genuinely like Ben and want him to do well, so we'll go cons first.
- Ben is a very, very limited player. He is a textbook #6/7 D and maybe a #5 in an injury pinch. He'll never wow you and he'll seldom make you stand and cheer.
- His last two playoff series' were abysmal. He was arguably the worst player on the ice on a few games and one incident last year in our infamous series against Philly (although nobody was without blame there) made one of our owners launch a water bottle across the room. That owner was Mario Lemieux.
- Despite his generous size, he's pretty soft. Don't let the fight/facepuck game fool you. He looks big, but plays small (hey! Like Whitney!). Seldom throws his body around and cannot clear the crease.
- Turnovers. I debated putting this on the cons because it's the system he's in. Bylsma's system is basically NORTH-SOUTH OUTLET BREAKOUT PASSES MOVE THE PUCK GO NORTH KEEP GOING NOW! That doesn't suit Ben, and he turned the puck over a decent amount because of it. In a different system, he should be more comfortable.
- Ben is a very smooth skater, especially for his size. You can't be a slow, plodding defenseman in Bylsma's system and Dan looooooooved Ben. He spent six years with him between the AHL and NHL and played him at times relentlessly against our will. Keeping Deryk Engelland eating nachos while the Lightning rented condos in our crease in the 2011 playoffs, for instance. But yes, Ben moves very well for a bigger defenseman.
- While he may not be an offensive dynamo, he can definitely pitch in offensively. He won't dazzle, but if there's a smart pass to be made or an ample shooting opportunity, he'll take it. He's not shy about putting the puck on the net.
- Strong on his skates. The Colin MacDonald boarding a few games ago when he was smeared into the boards notwithstanding, Ben is sturdy. He may not lay the lumber often or at all, but he won't be pushed around or knocked off his skates easily.
- Usually smart in his own end. Very positionally sound. Good with his stick and while not physical, will use his size as leverage and forcing bad angles.
- Last, but not least, Lovejoy is an absolutely awesome dude. A guy who's just so thrilled to be an NHL player. Watch the 24/7 clips of him, he's just a fantastic guy. The Ducks seem to have a locker room of good dudes, and you'll NEVER have to worry about him bringing that down. He's an "aw shucks" dude who will do anything asked of him and will give it 110% every time. We expected him to be moved, but we were all kind of sad to lose such a great guy but happy for him to get an opportunity. That's rare, because we can be assholes.