OK, I know what you are thinking. Here we go again. Section 312 loves Bieksa and won't shut up about him. That's a fair criticism. I do really like Bieksa and what his game brings to the Canucks overall dynamic. He has been our second best D man this year in my opinion.
Sexy Swede, that was for missy and my love of alliteration, Alex Edler leads the way and is having an All Star calibre season based on his play and the stats. He ranks 7th in plus minus for D men in the top 25 for scoring. In other words only the elite Doughty and Lidstrom types produce offense and steady D at a level higher than Edler. But just behind our handsome young Swede sits Kevin Bieksa. Despite a slow start Bieksa now sits at 15 points. He is 8 points behind Ehrhoff in that category but just one behind in goals scored despite taking far fewer shots. In fact KB also has far fewer missed shots. While Ehrhoff has an incredible 96 shots this season he also has a team leading 59 missed shots. Kevin has just 70 shots and only 30 missed shots. Bieksa also has 10 points in his last 10 games while Ehrhoff has 9 points in that same stretch. But keep in mind Ehrhoff is on the first PP unit with the Sedins and Kesler who make up 2 of the league's top 5 point getters and 2 of the league's top 5 goal scorers. When you look at some of the other stats like blocked shots and take aways the story becomes even more clear. Bieksa is second on the team, behind only Edler, with 61 blocked shots. And while Kevin does lead the team in giveaways, 7 ahead of Ehrhoff and 8 ahead of Edler, he also leads in takeaways. In fact Bieksa and his partner on D Dan Hamhuis are one two in that category with 27 and 23 respectively. Edler is third with 20. Where is Ehrhoff you ask? 4th with just 9 takeaways. On balance Bieksa has just one more giveaway than takeaway. Ehrhoff has 12 more giveaways than take aways. Combined with the shot stats I talked about earlier it is clear to me that Bieksa makes better use of the puck than Ehrhoff.
Oh and Bieksa also leads the team in plus minus at a whopping plus 16 which ranks him 6th in the league for D men. In terms of zone starts Bieksa gets just 46.3% of his starts in the offensive zone while Ehrhoff gets 57.9% of his starts there. What's also interesting is that Bieksa finishes in the offensive zone more than he starts there finishing in the O zone 49% of the time. Ehrhoff actually drops to 53.3% of his finishes in the offensive zone. Bieksa and Hamhuis also lead the team in CorsiRelQualComp while Ehrhoff is near the bottom of the list. This stat, along with the 15 points, is what makes Beiksa's plus/minus so impressive. Bieksa also plays with worse team mates as well. (Big hat tip to behind the net as always for those stats)
So with all of that in mind. Bieksa or Ehrhoff? Who gets traded? Who gets re-signed? I am starting to think that we may want to keep Hammer and KB together long term. Edler is a beast and can dominate with anyone as his partner including perhaps Ballard. So do we let Ehrhoff walk? Can Ballard replace Ehrhoff on the PP? So many questions but the only thing I know is that Bieksa has been a beast and a MAJOR part of the reason the Nucks are on this recent run.