By Habster

    Canadiens fans are learning quickly that Roman Hamrlik is a definite upgrade over Souray Souray when you consider overall play. Hamrlik doesn’t panic when he is forechecked in the defensive zone, doesn’t get beat one on one (isn’t a pylon like Souray was) and rarely gets caught out of position.

    Roman Hamrlik was an offensive defenseman when he was drafted first overall in the 1992 by the Tampa Lightning and was a defensive liability his first 7 seasons in the NHL with a combined plus/minus rating of -139 during that time (he had 7 straight seasons of minus rating, averaging -19).

    How things have changed since the 1997-98 season when Hamrlik became a more complete defenseman and developed his game. Since that season, he has only had one season where he was a minus rating (During the 2000-01 season, he was a -21 with a terrible NY Islanders team which didn’t have too many players in the plus department) and he has averaged a +9 since the 96-97 season (+93 over that time, excluding the 2000-01 season).

    Quite a metamorphosis for an offensively gifted defensman when he was originally drafted by Tampa Bay. Like an aged wine, Roman Hamrlik is only getting better with age which bodes well for the Montreal Canadiens.