Let me first start off by saying this is not a blog entry bash Kevin Bieksa. I’ve done plenty of Bieksa bashing in my day, and I was not in favour of bringing him back to the team this year (until Sami Salo had his “floorball” incident). That being said, he has all the tools to be an excellent defenseman.
Lets start with the positives. This season begun with new captain Henrik Sedin appointing Bieksa as one of his four alternate captains. That raised a few eyebrows, but if Henrik thought that highly of him perhaps there is more to Bieksa than what many Canucks fans see. From there, Bieksa has been put with Dan Hamhuis in the Canucks top shutdown pair. Let me also say that Bieksa has been more consistently aggressive to start the season and we’re seeing a lot less “casual” play out of him, at least through three games.
Bieksa has played reasonably well through three games, but I just can’t see him as the top choice to shutdown the other team’s top line. If and when Sami Salo returns from injury, I would say he would be the best option to play alongside Dan Hamhuis in the shutdown pair. Until then, I see Alex Edler or Keith Ballard (once he’s fully recovered from off-season surgery) as a far better option.
Kevin Bieksa is simply too slow and not intelligent enough to play against the best players in the league on a regular basis. If he continues to play as he has thus far, he’ll be a perfect guy to have in their second or third pairing.