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Phantoms report cards: Doing defense (part two)

Continuing to talk defense

Casey Liberatore / SB Nation

New week, new installment of Phantoms report cards. We talked about the first half of the defense corps last week, and we’ll be rounding things out today. Let’s get right into it!

Zach Palmquist. 66 GP, 3 G, 11 A, 14 P

Grade: D

Palmquist was brought in to start this season and he came in with some expectations. As a plus-skater, we had hoped that he might also serve as a plus-puck mover, fortifying one of the team’s weaknesses, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. He spent the season largely in the third pair rotation, where he was fine, but not much more. He had his moments where he was exposed and his defensive zone coverage left something to be desired, but all in all, he was fine enough in the third pair role. But it’s as we said with regards to James de Haas in the same role, he was fine enough, but he also didn’t do much else to move the needle.

Philip Samuelsson. 67 GP, 4 G, 11 A, 15 P

Grade: B+

We talked in our last article about how Phil Myers was able to take a step forward this season, and part of the reason for that, outside of the work he did on his own, was the fact that he was paired with a partner who was defensively sound and gave him a bit more space to work with. Another of the new additions for this season, Samuelsson came in and overall played a pretty quiet, stay at home defensive game. And, while that tends to be a phrase that can get thrown at players and coded to mean “not actually really good at anything,” but this is one of the rare cases where we actually say stay at home defenseman and mean exactly that. He was brought in to form a strong defensive foundation, and he did just that. It isn’t really fair to ding him for lack of offensive production when that wasn’t really part of the deal to begin with. The only real ding, then, comes with the fact that he wasn’t really able to move the needle on breakouts, particularly down the stretch when they really needed it. We could say this about just about everyone, to be fair, but we do still have to say it here. Oh well.

David Schlemko. 26 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 8 P

Grade: B-

And this gets a little hard to parse through—Schlemko came in late in the season and wasn’t able to play a ton of games with the team (20 tends to be the marker for when we can start feeling really comfortable making some reads on players, so we’ve just passed that point), but he also came in at a point when the defense was really starting to struggle, failing to move the puck up-ice consistently, shooting themselves in the foot and getting stuck in their own end. And maybe this goes both ways—the context is hard to strip out, but Schlemko also wasn’t a huge difference maker in this transition game. So what are our final feelings, then? He was fine, all in all, and he was able to chip in some additional offense, which was nice. Presumably, he’ll be with the team again next season, so we’ll (hopefully!) get a better look at his true ability and impact. But for now, he was just fine.

Reece Wilcox. 65 GP, 3 G, 17 A, 20 P

Grade: D+

And we’re wrapping up our talks about our third pair rotation and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the overall feelings on his season are pretty familiar. Overall, he was fine in a third pair role, but he didn’t do a whole lot to look like he was dominating in those minutes, if you will. Wilcox does get a little extra bump in his grade for taking a step forward, personally, and activating on the rush more often than he did last season. It didn’t help him bring his goals total up (he scored three last season too), but it got him a few more chances, and we do love ourselves some personal growth.

All stats via