A stay at home defenseman in hockey is a defenseman whose skillset is suited specifically for stopping the opposing team from scoring. In hockey, a defenseman typically has the responsibility of defending his net, while also contributing to the team’s offense.
A stay at home defenseman tends to be lacking in these offensive traits and instead focuses on the defensive aspects of the game. This style of defender is typically large, strong and always seems to be in the right position to stop the opposing team.
Strengths Of Stay at Home Defenseman
Now that we have established what a stay at home defenseman is let’s break down the traits that make them. To do this we are going to go through the strengths and weaknesses of your prototypical stay at home D-man.
Size And Strength
One of the most common traits you will find with these defensemen is that they almost always have size and strength. Your typical stay at home defenseman is going to be noticeably taller and heavier than most players on the ice.
This gives the defenseman advantages in several aspects of the game. If they are looking to protect the puck in the defensive zone these players can use their large frame to shield it.
Their strength also allows them to win battles in front of their not ensuring forwards do not get open on the doorstep.
And of course, their size also allows them to lay large hits on opposing players when they leave themselves vulnerable. Since these players often give up some speed due to their large frame, they use physicality and size to make up for it.
Another key aspect of a defensive defenseman is his awareness. This style of player always seems to have an idea of where the opposing players are and where they need to be to stop them.
Since these defensemen aren’t fast they aren’t often able to make up ground on opposing teams forwards. This means in order to stop them consistently they need to maintain a good position and be aware of what is going on around them.
Additionally, since these players don’t often step up into the offensive zone they are rarely out of position.
Another strength of stay at home defenseman is that these players always have a great defensive stick. This means that these players are able to effectively stop the opposing teams by using their stick in a defensive manner.
Whether it is swatting away a pass in front of the net, poke checking an incoming forward or batting a dump in out of the air. These defensemen consistently use their stick effectively to keep their defensive zone clear.
Weaknesses Of Stay At Home Defenseman
Like any other style of hockey player, these defensemen have their share of weaknesses. Below we’ll cover the parts of the game that stay at home defensemen seem to lack.
Speed is the most obvious and accurate weakness of this style of defensemen. Virtually every stay at home d-man is going to be on the slower side of things in the NHL.
Oftentimes this lack of speed is why these players tend to stay in their own zone and rarely join the rush. Though since these players excel at staying in the right position this lack of speed doesn’t hurt them much defensively.
Though it certainly has a negative effect on their offensive upside.
This type of defenseman does not usually have the greatest shots in their arsenal. When it comes to accuracy and placement this is not the sort of player you want taking the shot for your team.
These defensemen usually lack the ability to score with wrist shots and often fail to accurately hit the net.
That being said their large frame and strength often give them a lot of power on their slapshots. This power does not result in many goals but every once and a while these players will still chip inoffensively.
Though goals from this style of play rarely make the highlight reel and often feature a deflection or two on their way to the net.
The final weakness we are going to cover of stay at home defensemen is their puck handling. This weakness isn’t to say that these players cannot handle the puck at all but rather that they are weaker at this part of their game than others.
In the defensive zone, these players can often confidently maintain possession of the puck and make short passes to their teammates. But you will not see a defenseman of this nature cutting through defenders or pulling off toe drags.
These defensemen usually know their limits and tend to not spend too much time carrying the puck themselves aside from the neutral zone.