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1. Erik Karlsson
Karlsson put together a quietly fantastic season in San Jose despite fighting through injuries. The Sharks controlled an insane 59.22% of the shot attempts and 58.88% of the expected goals with Karlsson on the ice at 5v5. Both ranked 1st on the team. Karlsson also produced points at a ~70 point pace. I think he's going to seriously contend for the Norris if he's fully healthy in 2019-20.
2. Mark Giordano
Giordano is a high-end possession driver who plays against top competition on a nightly basis. He also brings a lot of offense to the table having piled up 30 goals and 112 points over the last two seasons.
3. John Klingberg
Klingberg is one of the league's best puck movers and ranked 4th among all defenders in Goals Above Replacement (+27.4) from 2017-19, per EvolvingHockey.com.
4. Hampus Lindholm
Lindholm keeps tight gaps, is fantastic positionally, and excellent in transition. He won't put up crazy offensive numbers but very few players are as solid as Lindholm.
5. Brent Burns
Though Burns can be exploited defensively at times, he more than makes up for it with the offense he produces. Burns has averaged 21 goals and 75 points over the last four seasons, which is remarkable.
Honorable mentions: Roman Josi, Jared Spurgeon, Colton Parayko.
1. Erik Karlsson - I hate it when people say "and it's not even close" because it's such an internet cliche, but it really isn't close. When injured, he was still putting up better numbers than anyone else.
He went through a streak where he wasn't scoring and people started talking about if he was finished, so I looked up his stats at the time and he was close to a 60% possession player.
He is far and away the best defenseman of his generation and he continues to be the best in the NHL by about six miles.
2. Mark Giordano - he's the reigning Norris Trophy winner, and he's finally getting his due after being underrated for years.
3. Brent Burns - 83 points. He's ageless.
4. Colton Parayko - Won a Cup, and leads the NHL in WAR / 60 for a D.
5. Jared Spurgeon - Super underrated star player who deserves to be with a better franchise.
Honorable mention: Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Hampus Lindholm, John Klingberg, Oscar Klefbom,
Top-5 defenders in the Eastern Conference?
Top-5 wingers in the Western Conference?
Top-5 wingers in the Eastern Conference?
Top-5 centers in the Western Conference?
Top-5 centers in the Eastern Conference?