After covering the goaltending in part one, now we cover the defense.
Defense and goaltending tend to go hand in hand in hockey. Much like the Pats’ 2020-21 goaltending, the defense struggled at times.
Many different issues caused the Pats problems in the defensive zone.
We saw some great play by many of the defenders, some surprises, and some intrigue this year.
Injuries caused a lot of issues with the Pats, especially with the defense corps. Numerous defensemen missed games with various injuries.
The Pats played some great games defensively, but the team was prone to mistakes and turnovers which hampered them throughout the season.
Here are the 2020-21 Pats defensemen
Walker, an alternate captain with the Pats finished his career in the East Division Hub. The overager played in all 24 games scoring once and assisting on 10 others for 11 points. The Leduc, Alberta product finished his WHL career with 43 points (9G, 34A) in 187 games played between the Everett Silvertips and the Pats.
It was a coming-of-age season for the 19-year-old from Calgary. Evans was originally a 10th round Bantam pick in 2016 that has become an integral piece for the Pats. He had 28 points in 24 games in 2020-21 which was only three points shy of his career-best 31 points in 2019-20. He was voted the Pats Most Popular Player, Defenseman of the Year, and Player of the Year. His play garnered some attention from NHL Central Scouting, where he came in 192nd in North American skaters. Through 132 career games, he has 70 points (11G, 59A).
The 18-year-old Fort Collins, Colorado product had injury problems and was only able to get into 13 games in 2020-21 where he was held off the scoresheet. In 65 career games with the Pats, Mitchell has four points (all assists).
Another 18-year-old defender for the Pats was acquired from the Tri-City Americans in October of 2020.
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan product brought some experience to the Pats blueline, having played in 96 games with the Americans. A minor injury limited Cadieux to 17 games in 2020-21 where he notched three points (1G, 2A) while playing top-end minutes.
Injuries hampered Johnson’s season. The 10th round Bantam pick in 2018 was able to suit up for just nine games in 2020-21 where he picked up an assist. When the Scottsdale, Arizona product was healthy he was a top-four defenseman for the Pats. In 67 career games, he has 9 points (2G, 7A).
The 17-year-old rookie came into the season with just two games of WHL experience picked up during the 2019-20 season. The 8th round Bantam pick in 2018 from Edmonton could be deemed as one of the Pats’ pleasant surprises. With very few expectations, Berge played in 23 games and played well. He scored once and assisted on three other goals for four points on the season. He was named the Pats’ Scholastic player of the year.
Another 17-year-old rookie came in with limited WHL experience, having played in just one game. Taylor got into 10 games in 2020-21 and was held off the scoresheet.
One of two 16-year-old defenders with the 2020-21 edition of the Pats. The 17th overall Bantam pick in 2019 showed his offensive ability. Feist sniped five times and assisted on four others in 21 games. As the season went along, he played his way up the depth chart and was getting top minutes. Oh, and two of his goals were game-winners.
The other 16-year-old defender got into seven games in the Hub. In limited ice time, Dewitt, a big stay-at-home defenseman had no points.
A quick look at 2021-22
Walker was the only overage defenseman and has now graduated.
Led by Evans, the other eight defensemen that played in the 2020-21 season are eligible to play in 2021-22.
In the wings, the Pats have no signed defensemen coming in. The Pats are high on Texas defenseman Colby Woogk (155th overall in 2019). Carter Herman (71st) and Ty Plaisier (74th) are the Pats’ 2020 defense picks. They also have US Draft pick Brogan Young (27th overall).