6 – Ryan Suter
His usage dipped last season to 26:55 per night, but Suter is the biggest workhorse in the game, playing a half-hour of hockey most nights. That workload could cause the 13-year deal he signed with the Wild in 2012 (which still has eight years) age rather ungracefully, but for not he’s among the game’s most reliabable players. Suter and Jared Spurgeon are one of the best defense pairings in the NHL.
7 – Roman Josi
Nashville’s fearsome foursome on the backend of Josi, P.K. Subban, Mattias Ekholm, and Ryan Ellis was the story of last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Josi is the best of this group.
8 – Kris Letang
What made the Penguins run to a second straight Stanley Cup title last season even more remarkable was the fact they got it done without this guy in the lineup. When healthy, Letang is as good a defenseman as any in the game. Only problem is he’s never been able to stay on the ice, missing an average of nearly 26 games over the last six seasons. Hopefully one of these years he’ll be able to have a full season at 100 percent so he can show just how good a player he is.
9 – Duncan Keith
Not sure how many years Keith has left at the level he’s currently playing at (for the Blackhawks sake, hopefully a few), but at 34 he remains one of the game’s premier defensemen. He’ll be leaned upon even more heavily this season with Niklas Hjalmarsson gone.
10 – Seth Jones
Wouldn’t be surprised if Jones was the best defenseman in the league in a couple of years. Since being traded to Columbus from Nashville in January 2016, Jones has taken on a bigger role on the back end and has responded with flying colors. The 22-year-old – who turns 23 next week – has one of the hardest shots in the league.