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North Bay, ON • Canada • 26 Years Old • Male

Top Five NHL Defenseman

Posted 11:37 PM ET | Comments 27
It is no secret that having an elite level defenseman has endless benefits. Modern day hockey involves a 5 player attack more than ever before. Having a smart, skilled player who can jump into the rush opens up a lot more options for the team. The position has evolved significantly, and offensive D-men are much more prevalent. However, in this article we will be focusing on the best defenseman with regards to all aspects of the game. As skilled as Subban and Karlsson are offensively, one way players like them will not make this list. Similarly, players who excel defensively, but lack an offensive game will not make the list either. As much as I like Marc-Edouard Vlasic and similar players, they will not be making the cut. I pursued players who dominate all areas of the game, and have very few weaknesses.

5. Alex Pietrangelo: This guy makes my list because he is already proven at the young age of 25. He has eclipsed 40 points four times, and 50 points twice. I have selected Pietrangelo because of his stellar hockey IQ and defensive prowess. He is a big bodied defenseman who uses his size extremely well. He is a quick skater given his size, and he is very quick with the puck. He has achieved all this while playing in the central division, which was easily the best division last season. He always matches up against the oppositions top line, which makes his success that much more remarkable. I expect these trends to continue as he matures with age.

4. Mark Giordano: Unlike many of the players on this list, Giordano has been through some serious struggles to get where he is today. He was never drafted and it took quite some time for him to find a permanent spot with the Flames. Giordano might have taken a long time to develop, but he has solidified himself as the best player on the Flames. and earned himself the captaincy. In his last two seasons, he has played 125 regular season games, putting up 95 points and going plus 15. His offensive output has increased significantly without any negative impact on his defensive game. He makes my list because he is able to perform regardless of the situation. He is a born leader and has done wonders to make his young team better on and off the ice.

3. Drew Doughty: Since being drafted second overall in 2008, Doughty has been one of the best defenders in the league. He possesses all the abilities to contribute at both ends of the ice. He is an extremely good skater for his size, and uses that ability to take away time and space in his defensive zone. Offensively, he is a natural power-play quarterback. He has unbelievable vision and a great shot which leaves the opposition scrambling. Despite the terrible season for the LA Kings, Doughty posted 46 points playing without his usual partner Slava Voynov; who was suspended by the team in October for off-ice issues. I anticipate that Doughty will be at the forefront of a Kings bounce-back season.

2. Shea Weber: He is one of the most physically dominant players in the NHL. The captain of the Predators literally has no weaknesses in his game. He moves well, throws the body, and is a very intelligent defender. He has surpassed 40 points in each of the past 7 seasons, and even reached 56 points just two seasons ago. This offensive production has a lot to do with his shot. Besides Zdeno Chara, Weber likely has the most lethal slap shot in the game. This threat from the point opens up a lot of extra space for his teammates. What separates Weber from many defenseman out there, is his ability to lead his team. He is not only a spectacular talent, but he always sticks up for his teammates. His team first mentality combined with his physical dominance puts Weber in a league of his own. He was an easy selection for my top 5.

1. Duncan Keith: There is no question that Duncan Keith is currently the best defenseman in the world. He excels at every part of the game and is a pure winner. The three time all star has won three Stanley Cups, 2 Olympic gold medals, 2 Norris Trophies, and the Conn Smythe trophy. He is one of the best skaters in the league, and possesses phenomenal quickness moving both forward and back. He has unparalleled hockey IQ and can play both penalty kill and power-play. I anticipate that he will dominate for another 4 or 5 years as he has yet to slow down with age. Offensively, he is no slouch either. He quietly puts up 40+ points each season, and has even broke the 60 mark on two occasions. In my books, he is the most important player to the Chicago Blackhawks success, and will continue to shine on their blue line.
Filed Under:   Keith   Piterangelo   Weber   Doughty   Giordano   Defeenseman  
July 27, 2015 12:49 PM ET | Delete
Sorry, but PK and Karrlson should be on this list.
July 27, 2015 1:26 PM ET | Delete
Hedman too
July 27, 2015 1:26 PM ET | Delete
Doughty Weber Keith Gio PK
July 27, 2015 2:16 PM ET | Delete
Subban and Karlsson are too risky. They are average in their own zone and are not very good at defending bigger, stronger players. I only selected players who are reliable both defensively and offensively. I would have chose Hedman as my fifth pick well before PK or Karlsson.
July 27, 2015 2:37 PM ET | Delete
PK and Karlsson do not belong above any of those defencemen.
July 27, 2015 3:30 PM ET | Delete
I would argue Hedman over Giordano, but PK and EK do not crack the Top 5....although they are like #6 and #7.
July 27, 2015 3:45 PM ET | Delete
I wish my comment would post
July 27, 2015 3:47 PM ET | Delete
wtf is mySQL Error in statement
July 27, 2015 4:24 PM ET | Delete
It happens when you use a lot of special characters, like semicolons and what not. I am glad you guys agree with me with regards to PK and Karlsson. If I were to do top ten, Karlsson and PK might make it along with Burns, McDanagh, and Hedman.
July 27, 2015 7:57 PM ET | Delete
July 27, 2015 10:32 PM ET | Delete
Hedman over pietrangelo but I agree with the rest
July 27, 2015 10:49 PM ET | Delete
yup... i forgot that the norris (voted on by people who actually know hockey) is only for the best offensive dman... thats why it makes sense to leave off pk and ek who have won 3 of the last 5 between them... nice of you to take a break from posting on tsn to be here tho. weber at 2? not even the best dman on his team last year. and if pietrangelo gets in for his age then... hedman is that much better
July 28, 2015 12:44 AM ET | Delete
If you ask Tanner, it goes OEL, OEL, OEL, OEL, OEL
July 28, 2015 8:13 AM ET | Delete
Hedman has only been elite for two seasons, where as Pietrangelo has been extremely consistent since entering the league. I believe Pietrangelo is a better defender as well. Karlsson is probably the best offensive D-man in the league, but it seems as if he shows up half the time. He put up 74 points just two seasons ago and mysteriously went -15. I would never doubt the skill of the guy, but his consistency and defensive ability are questionable.
July 28, 2015 9:54 AM ET | Delete
Great Blog. I agree with your top 5 and justification. Habs and Sens fans are just butthurt. I would love to have either PK or EK on my team but they do not exemplify what this list represents. They won Norris trophies on offensive ability alone, which I will add is tops in league. The way Hedman played this past year, he would make this list real soon.
July 28, 2015 10:20 AM ET | Delete
Good list. 100% agree on Keith.
July 29, 2015 3:19 AM ET | Delete
I say give it 2 more years and Barrie will be up there with Suban and Karlsson. Although not the best defensemen they will probably be the most offensive defensemen.
July 30, 2015 1:36 PM ET | Delete
Message Posted
July 31, 2015 10:57 AM ET | Delete
lol how can people be saying Karlsson or Subban are as good as a defensemen?! We all know that the norris trophy is now just being awarded to the defensemen that has the most points, not the best d-man! Karlsson is a minus 19 in his career, ya thats awesome. He is a very skilled forward playing defense. There are many forwards in the nhl that could put 50-60 points playing defense. Its why Karlsson will never win in the playoffs and why Subban was in the top 6 for team Canada.
August 1, 2015 6:14 PM ET | Delete
Keith, Doughty, Weber, after that about 8-10 guys all of similar value, if not similar style. Hedman could be the best of those in the next 2-3 years. Two guys I was really impressed with in the playoffs not mentioned thus far: Cam Fowler and Roman Josi.
August 1, 2015 8:00 PM ET | Delete
Hedman could probably make the jump this season or next. Cam Fowler is a great player, but I do not believe he is well rounded to make a list like this one. Josi is tremendously underrated and deserves more recognition. Unfortunately, he does not compare with a Duncan Keith or Drew Doughty.
August 4, 2015 11:25 AM ET | Delete
Either way, nice work, Mike
August 7, 2015 10:23 PM ET | Delete
What about Schenn?
August 7, 2015 10:26 PM ET | Delete
Couple of years and it will be Hedman and Jones, but for now great choices
August 11, 2015 8:16 AM ET | Delete
For sure. Jones is starting to look better and better each season. I think Hedman is right on the doorstep as it is. If it was a top 6 list, he probably would have made the cut.
August 14, 2015 7:42 AM ET | Delete
Karlsson, Hedman, Pietrangelo, Subban, Weber Gio is always hurt, Keith has a great supporting cast and Doughty is a bit of a head case
August 15, 2015 6:43 AM ET | Delete
I personally think that well rounded defenceman are far more valuable that purely offensive guys. I can understand the argument you are trying to make. However, leaving Duncan Keith off this list would seriously discredit your reasoning. I can guarantee that none of the hockey experts would leave Keith anywhere outside the top 3.
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