Defensemen: 6-10

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.

Advertisements

Stat of the Day: Shea Weber Leads NHL in Goal Scoring Among Defensemen since 2005

While he came at the expense of P.K. Subban, defenseman Shea Weber has been a tremendous acquisition for the Montreal Canadiens.

In seven games, Weber has three goals and nine points while averaging 25:59 of ice time per night. His plus-12 rating leads the NHL; the next-closest is Detroit forward Darren Helm, with nine. The Canadiens are out to a 6-0-1 start.

Weber’s greatness, of course, is no secret. Prior to arriving in Montreal, he spent 11 seasons in Nashville. Over the 11-plus seasons, he’s scored 169 goals, which is tops among all NHL season going back to his 2006 debut. The output, which has come in 770 games, leads second-best Dustin Byfuglien (152) by 17.

Only Chicago blue liner Duncan Keith – who has multiple Stanley Cups and Norris Trophies to his credit – and the recently-retired Dan Boyle have more points than Weber’s 452 since he came into the league. However, he’ll become second in short time, as he sits just two points behind Boyle. Keith is 12 points ahead of Weber, with 464.

Two things Weber doesn’t have (through no fault of his own)? A Stanley Cup and a Norris Trophy. Who knows, both could be crossed off the list this year.