An offensive defenseman is a player that is known more for their ability to help their team score rather than defend. Though these players still protect their team defensively it is their ability to contribute offensively that sets them apart from the crowd.
Being an offensive defenseman does not mean that a player is lacking ability defensively. But rather that their game is more focused on contributing on offense than stopping the opposing team.
Strengths Of An Offensive Defenseman
One of the best traits of offensive defensemen is their ability to carry the puck. Compared to stay at home defensemen an offensive defenseman is going to spend much more time with the puck on their stick.
This type of player not only effectively handles the puck on breakouts but also carries the puck coast coast. It is not uncommon for an offensive defensemen to lead a rush and attempt to beat several plays via stick handling on their way to the opponents net.
The top tier of offensive defenseman often have the puck handling ability of first line fowards. This makes them extremely dangerous in the offensive zone or when joining the rush.
Speed is another trait that is almost always part of an offensive defensemans makeup. Oftentimes the biggest factor seperating these players from playing a more defensive game is their speed.
This speed allows them to join rushes often resulting in odd-man rush scenarios for the offense. This increased speed also allows these defensemen to spend a little more time in the offensive zone.
As it can often allow them to make up some ground if they need to rush back to their net in a hurry.
Shooting is another strength of this style of defenseman. The majority of defenseman have are limited quality slapshot that finds its way to the back of the net every once and a while.
This is not the case with offense defenceman. These players often have all types of shots in their repotoire. This includes backhands, wrist shots, and of course qualiy slap shots from the point.
You can expect a high-quality offensive defensman to not only have power on their shots but also the accuracy to pick corners. This makes a defenseman of this style especially handy on power plays.
Weaknesses Of An Offensive Defenseman
Positioning is one of the areas of hockey in which offensive defenseman do not always excel. Since these players often find themselves pushing up into the offensive zone they are often caught out of position.
Since these players are often offensive-minded they are not always aware of the potential risks they are taking. A single rush by a defenseman can easily lead to an odd-man rush towards the other end if the defenseman turns the puck over.
This sort of risk verse reward is something a team has to take into account when playing this style of defenseman.
Though this is not always the case the majority of these players struggle to match the physicality needed to play the defensive position.
You will notice that stay at home defensemen often dominate the area in front of their net easily pushing away opponents looking to set up in front of the goalie. Offensive defensemen often struggle with duties like this as they often do not have the frame or strength to get this job done consistently.
Fighting For Puck Possession
Puck battles are another way in which these defenseman may be behind others at their position. Whether it is fighting for pucks in the corner or stick checking an incoming winger offensive defensemen are not often as skilled at this portion of the game.
Stay at home defensemen are proficient at this skill, this is often why these two styles of defenseman are considered polar opposites of each other.