Wrapping up the defensemen (finally!) we get to John Erskine. Here's essentially what Erskine is: a great defenseman as long as he doesn't have to move. The more he has to move, the more trouble you are in. On the PK, Erskine can clear the net while his partner goes in the corners and causes havork among the other team's PP elsewhere. The quicker the pace of the games, the more Erskine looks out of place. Erskine has one other big problem, injury. Erskine missed a lot of time last year with an assortment of injuries, including a broken ankle and a dislocated thumb. If he can stay healthy, he'll be fine.
While his liabilities may include his mobility and his tendency to be injured, his strength is his physicality. Erskine is by far the Caps toughest defenseman, and his willingness to hit and fight have endeared him to the hearts of other fans. The teammate that has benefited the most from playing with Big John Erskine is Steve Eminger, who looks like a much more confident player since he started partnering with Erskine during last season. Look for Erskine to see time on the third pair against the more physical teams, but to also see some time in the pres box this upcoming season until the numbers work themselves out.