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Erskine is ‘top four’ on Washington’s blue line, says coach Oates

Sep 17, 2013, 4:33 PM EST

John Erskine Getty Images

Veteran defenseman John Erskine is in no jeopardy of losing his spot in the Washington Capitals’ top four, according to head coach Adam Oates.

“He’s not losing his job,” Oates said, per CSNWashingtoncom. “He’s not. It’s not even up for grabs. He’s top four on our team.”

Erskine is a big, tough defensive defenseman who led all Washington blue-liners with 91 hits last season while providing what forward Troy Brouwer calls “that presence on the ice.” (See: image to the right)

The Caps do, however, have a couple of young d-men in Dmitry Orlov and Tomas Kundratek; hence, the speculation about Erskine’s role with the club for 2013-14.

Washington’s three other top-four d-men are Mike Green, John Carlson, and Karl Alzner.

Related: Watch Erskine rob the Jets…twice

  1. billyhauntswizards - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    it blows my mind that Orlov or Kundratek can’t take Erskine’s spot. He should be bottom 4 and nothing else. He’s a good positional player but not much else.

  2. mpops86 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Extrapolate that. Top Four implies top 120 D man in the league. There aren’t two GMs in the league who believe that – no way.

  3. lowenni - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    I love Erskine. He’s the ideal 5/6 D man and provides fights and hits. That being said, during the playoffs his foot speed became a noticeable weakness. He simply can’t keep up with most players and sometimes finds himself out of position. He’s a solid depth D man, but as a top 4 D playing 20+ minutes a night his weaknesses become obvious. Also, he’s paired with John Carlson. Carly needs a D partner who can recover and make up for Carlson’s inevitable turnovers or pinches. Erskine can’t skate fast enough to let Carlson have the offensive freedom he needs to blossom into an elite defenseman. Let Orlov have that 4th spot. Scratch Hillen, put Erskine with Oleksy.

    • jdouble777 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Precisely. I could not agree more. Love the guy’s passion and glad he is on the team but if there are others with more talent they need the playing time.

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