Much of the talk about Canada’s defense has centered around either the guys not playing or the stellar play of Drew Doughty. One of the guys flying under the radar, however, is San Jose Sharks blue liner Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
As Arpon Basu at NHL.com shares, Vlasic has one big-time fan in Canada coach Mike Babcock.
“I just told somebody [Monday] morning that Vlasic is way better than everybody knows,” Babcock said. “He’s a really, really good player; Doughty gets to do anything he wants and Vlasic is always in a great spot. He’s a good defender, he’s become harder. He used to be a thin kid, now he’s a thick man. He’s hard, he’s smart, he skates, he moves the puck and he’s safe.”
Vlasic being the more defensive-minded half of a pairing with Doughty gives him a chance to shine in that role and that’s just what he’s doing.
Babcock referring to Vlasic as “safe” instantly makes him one of the more trusted guys on defense. The fact that he allows Doughty to have room to maneuver and help with the offense should make him Canada’s favorite defenseman.