Defensemen are essential components of any good team.
From youth to the pros, having a long-pole that can flat out erase the opposing team’s best player is what every coach dreams of. Those players become increasingly rare as you advance through the ascending levels of the game.
By the time you get to high school, those high-end defenders are called upon to do much more than just play one-on-one defense. In the modern game you need to be able to handle the ball, be a leader down low, and know when to help or slide -- and when to stay put.
In the summer club circuit, the defensemen with the best ball handling get more reps at LSM. The poles who are more cerebral become second and/or help defensemen.