The Northeast Division has an impressive crop of young defensemen that are about to enter into their prime. Spearheaded by Tyler Myers, P.K. Subban, Luke Schenn, and Erik Karlsson, and they likely will be joined by Dougie Hamilton in another year or two. There has been much debate as to which one of these guys is the best rearguard, but i'm going to keep this strictly about numbers. Obviously that doesn't tell the whole story, but it will give us an indication as to who is further along the path of becoming the franchise lynchpin they are all expected to be. They will be ranked off of last years statistics in 6 categories with a total aggregate ranking as well. Subban was in his first full NHL season last year so he has a slight disadvantage, but he is also the oldest of the 4 players.
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Even Strength Points
Karlsson 24 points
Myers 23 points
Schenn 22 points
Subban 20 points
Karlsson 21 points
Subban 18 points
Myers 14 points
Schenn 0 points
Average Time on Ice
Aggregate Ranking (position ranking in each category totaled up and ranked by lowest total sum)
Myers 2+3+1+3+2+3= 14
Schenn 3+4+2+1+3+1= 14
Karlsson 1+1+4+4+1+4= 15
Subban 4+2+3+2+4+2= 17
While Myers and Schenn tied for the best aggregate score there is also a lot to like out of Subban and Karlsson. Karlsson has the gaudier offensive numbers at this point, but Myers had similar numbers the year before and all four of them are likely to continue trending upward in point totals as they are all 21 or 22 years of age. Schenn dominated the hits and blocked shots department, and all of his points came even strength. He is shaping up into a Ken Daneyko type defensemen with better offensive upside. I found it surprising Subban didn't lead a single category, but again it was his first full season in the NHL. Karlsson is looking like he can provide Ottawa with that ever elusive Power Play quarterback, but equally impressive were his 24 even strength points which also led this group. Nobody is going to mistake him for Derian Hatcher out there but Erik's got to improve his physical play a little bit finishing way behind the pack in Hits and Blocked Shots despite leading the group in ice time.
Were i to be starting a team from scratch and given the choice of one of these four, i would choose Luke Schenn. I'm old school and there is just no substitute for a rock solid defensive defenseman who can log big time minutes and wear down his opponents. Myers is a close second and he's probably the best all around of the group...not necessarily the greatest at anything but very good at everything. Karlsson is the X-factor and if he can improve his physical game slightly and tighten up in his own end (though a lot of that falls on his teammates as well) he could end up being the best of the group. Subban's development will be judged more on this upcoming season as it is hard to gauge him solely on one year, but you gotta love the energy he infuses into his club. The concern with Subban is that he might be more of a power play specialist and even though he racks up more hits than you'd expect he isn't as physically imposing as he could be, he just needs to pick his spots better. He reminds me a lot of Brian Campbell...and that's not a bad thing.
If you were a GM who would you choose?
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