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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our rankings for the top-5 defensemen in the Western Conference.
1. John Klingberg
He has averaged 60 points per 82 games over the last three seasons and ranks 2nd to only Victor Hedman with a plus-49 goal differential at 5v5 during that span.
2. Hampus Lindholm
Lindholm doesn't get nearly enough credit for how good he is. His transition game is excellent and he may be the best defenseman in the league in terms of, well, defending.
Among 169 defensemen to log at least 2,000 5v5 minutes over the last three years, Lindholm ranks 1st in Relative Corsi For (+6.41%) and Relative Expected Goals For (+7.07%). He is a monster.
3. Drew Doughty
Every year he puts up 10+ goals, 40+ points, and plays sound defense while logging a crazy amount of ice in all situations.
4. Brent Burns
His play without the puck can be a little shaky at times but it's tough to argue with the ridiculous point totals he puts up on a yearly basis. Erik Karlsson is his only equal offensively.
5. P.K. Subban
He is one of the more dynamic offensive defenders in the league and his defensive game is far better than most give him credit for. There's a reason he plays a shutdown role on the team with the best defense in the NHL.
1. Mattias Ekholm is the fourth scoring option on his team's blue line and provides the best defense, while still putting up 30 + points.
2. Mark Giordano - He's getting old, but he still gives you 40 points every year and drives possession.
3. Oliver Ekman-Larsson - I remember reading a while back that his season from a couple years ago was one of the best advanced stats seasons of all-time. I also find his work as an underwear model quite impressive and I think this really helps to cement him as the third best defenseman in the West. He'd be considered better if his team hadn't been so bad all these years.
4. Ryan Suter. I used to argue that he was overrated, but now I learned differently and I think he's underrated. By Corisca's WAR model he is one of the best in the league and even though he's about 51 year old he is still putting up 50 points.
5. Josh Manson. He is defensively one of the best players in the NHL, and he happened to come somewhat close to leading the entire league in 5v5 points by a defenseman.
Was going to say Dougie Hamilton but...
1. Doughty- It's almost a tie with #2 but I like his overall game the best and that he's on a team that is less than good. He still shines even with his underlying numbers
2. Burns- The guy is so devilishly versatile that he can play forward while still being a defenseman, he's got more support around him than Doughty.
3. Klingberg- probably the most unsung guy in the west and maybe that's due to being on the Stars but he's damn good and better than most realize.
4. Subban- obligatory placement in the top five. He's good and some would have him ranked higher or not but he deserves the recognition. His image too a bit of hit in post season with some of his antics but he can play on my team any time.
5. Giordano- the guy is so smooth he's like cream cheese on hot rye. Will be interesting to see how he fares this year but even before Hamilton Gio was a beast.
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?
Which teams have had sneaky good off-seasons?
Which team has had the best off-season to date?