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Noel Acciari is Rhode Island’s greatest, largest, defense-first son

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The Ocean State’s NHL representative had another hard-hitting, big boy hockey year, and we will miss him dearly.

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

I’m gonna miss Noel Acciari.

For one thing, he was one thing that a lot of big, tough fourth liners aren’t; responsible with the puck, and good enough at getting it up ice that the nu-merlot line could genuinely consider themselves a threat on the ice every once in a while. And it helped that they had an absolutely ridiculously bruising body in Acciari to help out.

Of course, that isn’t the only thing that helped Acciari be the defensive stalwart that he was, it was just the thing you noticed the most. Where he had underrated skill was in his stick checking and in getting clean turnovers of the puck by simply enforcing his will without the need to hurl a body into the boards, as the smartest man in the room found among Acciari’s highlights:

and of course, he could show some offensive flash here or there:

The thing is, of course...he was still a defense-first forward playing on the fourth line whose primary positive trait was that he was enormous. His actual skills with the puck? Pedestrian at best, abysmal at worst, but he was never really the one to do the shooting/scoring on his line. He had Kuraly and Wagner for that.

Still, it would’ve been nice to have a little more scoring flash down the stretch, as Bruce Cassidy sometimes would lean on his line to set tone and while the tone was set...it sometimes backfired as the goals that were expected didn’t come. It’s the nature of the beast, I’m afraid.

Acciari was the latest fourth liner to be picked up from Boston to go play in Florida this offseason, so the pressures of having anybody watch him play defense is certainly off his back, and he gets to hang out in the summer sun all day if he so chooses.

For what it’s worth? I hope he has a great year.

In the Playoffs:

Well the big man scored short-handed, that was fun.

But the thing that will remain the biggest, and unfortunately most memorable, controversial, and most talked about part of his playoffs...was him getting blatantly tripped. And since no call was made and he was sitting there stunned on the ice, the Blues scored.

I really hope he has a great year next season because if this becomes his defining moment in hockey history, that will just suck beyond words.

Aggregate Grade: 5.6/10

Jake’s Grade: 5

Dan’s Grade: 7

Sky’s Grade: 7

Adam’s Grade: 5

Shawn’s Grade: 4

Acciari’s biggest strengths were in his physicality, and in the moments where he could use that to his advantage? so much the better. But for the most part, he was just the ultimate workhorse, no nonsense fourth liner. And I wish him all the best in Broward County.

Fancystats and Visual:

Low Danger in the offensive zone sure, but good luck getting shots off while he’s in front of Rask.
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