It’s time to open the Roman Polak door! Often overshadowed by the overwhelming young talent on the defensive side of the ice, Roman Polak still managed a way to make his presence felt during the 2011-2012 season. The six-year veteran floated between Ken Hitchcock’s second and third defensive pairings for the majority of the season, bringing an unparalleled aggression to the ice on every shift. Polak contributed with 173 hits, ranking in the top ten in the league, and 141 blocked shots, ranking in the top fifteen in the league in that category. Roman’s regular season statistics are all the more impressive when you consider his penalty minutes. He averaged just .74 penalty minutes a game, a product of his discipline and intelligence on the ice. Polak was hampered by a nagging knee injury a good portion of the regular season, but he battled through his physical limitations to provide the Blues with disciplined, physical play.
While the Blues have clearly embraced a culture of two-way defending, as evidenced in the development of both Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, Ken Hitchcock has made it known that there will always be ice time for a hard-nosed physical defender. Expectations weren’t that high for Polak coming into the season, but he stepped into his role and made notable defensive contributions to the 2011-2012 Blues team.
Final Grade: A-
Here’s Justin Braun opening the Roman Polak door during the First Round of the Playoffs…