I am a hockey rankings bot. If you give me a player and the position they play, I will rank them in their tier according to how good of an NHL defensemen they are.
The “Best NHL Defensemen 2020” is a blog post that ranks the top 10 best defensemen in the National Hockey League. The article also includes a list of tiers for each player.
With the 2022 Winter Olympics rapidly approaching and NHL players still on schedule to compete, American fans are becoming more excited.
(Unless Patrick Kane is playing rugby in Beijing, it’s not over Team USA’s new sweaters.) However, USA Hockey has provided an answer to the nagging issue of how the men’s national team might appear if Mike Ditka designed the uniforms.)
The goaltender depth in the United States is superior than that of Canada. The club boasts forwards like Auston Matthews, which is fantastic, but hardly “Canada fantastic,” given that our northern neighbors might have Connor McDavid or Nathan MacKinnon on their second line.
The defense, though, is the most intriguing aspect of the probable Team USA lineup, since the rise of that position in this hockey country has been remarkable in and of itself.
Phil Housley, Brian Leetch, Chris Chelios, and Mark Howe are just a few of the country’s Hall of Fame defenseman. There’s a chance that the present crop may produce a few more.
Here’s a look at the current status of American defenseman, based on recent history and their season beginnings. We’ve categorized them into categories based on our own observations and feedback from people we questioned informally, including Chelios, who is now an ESPN studio commentator.
New York Rangers’ Adam Fox Boston Bruins’ Charlie McAvoy
They’re widely regarded as the NHL’s finest two American-born defenseman today. Fox, who won the Norris Trophy last season, has 107 points in 143 NHL games with the Rangers. McAvoy, 23, is still hunting for his first award, but with 134 points in 250 games and a 200-foot game, he’s the next best Bruins defenseman in a long line of greats.
The primary distinctions between the two are that Fox has been a power play ace, averaging 6.38 points per 60 minutes when he has the man advantage. McAvoy (4.05) is no slouch, and he has flourished since being handed the keys to the Bruins’ power play (7.87 this season). McAvoy is also praised for his strong defensive play in his own zone.
“Overall, McAvoy has the greatest game. He can play on the No. 1 power play, the penalty kill, a physical game against tough players, and a speed game against quicker players “According to one NHL veteran, “In the attacking zone, Fox is a fantastic player. He’s a fantastic defender. However, if he’s up against a tough defender in the corners, he may not get the puck as much as McAvoy.”
Those who are divisive
Washington Capitals’ John Carlson Chicago Blackhawks’ Seth Jones
Having a name that sounds like “Karlsson” might indicate excelling on offense while being punished for defensive flaws. Carlson, 31, is the only American-born defender with more points (349) since 2014-15, and his passing prowess has aided the Capitals both at even strength and on their lethal power play. However, he was only nominated for the Norris Trophy once, in 2019-20, when he finished second. Roman Josi, the season’s champion, was seen to have a more “complete” all-around game. Carlson couldn’t change that notion despite scoring 75 points in 69 games.
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For the last several seasons, Jones, 27, has represented one of the largest disparities between the analytics community and the NHL’s “eye test” doctrine, to the point that it’s become a case study in and of itself.
“Players like Jones require us to contemplate how spectacular displays of skill do not always transfer to macro-level on-ice outcomes; how a player might be incredibly brilliant at some highly obvious aspects but quietly poor in other areas,” wrote JFresh, an analyst.
After a shaky start with the Blackhawks, Jones is enjoying a strong season. “He enjoys getting up the ice and taking the initiative. He’s calmed down considerably since the beginning of the year. He’s playing a lot more intelligently now “Chelios said.
In a deal that begins next season, former Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has committed to Jones for eight years, $76 million, and complete no-movement protection. That pay did nothing to assist close the difference in perception. Jones is a superior defender than Adam Fox, according to one NHL veteran we talked with, but his contract with the Blackhawks obscures that fact.
“He’s a great defender,” he remarked, “but not at $9.5 million [against the cap].”
Olympians to be anticipated
Quinn Hughes is a forward with the Vancouver Canucks. Carolina Hurricanes’ Jaccob Slavin Columbus Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski
Jones has already been nominated to the United States Olympic men’s hockey squad for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Fox and McAvoy are expected to join him. Carlson, who played in Sochi and is one of the younger members of the old guard, is anticipated to attend.
These three defenders might compete for three more berths. Hughes, 22, is a dynamic offensive player with quickness and flair, yet his defense is still developing.
Hughes is 5-foot-10, and Chelios claimed he loves everything about him except his stature. “In the defensive zone, he’s not very difficult to play against, but he’s a fantastic puck handler. He’s a master at his craft “he said
Slavin, 27, has progressed from yearly “most underrated player” lists to become one of the NHL’s most admired defensive defenseman, and the ideal complement to Hughes and Carlson. “He’s incredible,” one NHL veteran remarked of Slavin. “Jaccob Slavin is my man if you’re looking for an all-around player you can put out there in any circumstance.”
Werenski has risen from the shade created by Seth Jones as his Columbus colleague. The 24-year-old inked a long-term contract with the Blue Jackets and started the season with 13 points in 16 games.
Chelios disputed the notion that Werenski had been eclipsed by Jones. “Contrary to popular belief, I believe the contrary is true. He’s a more complete defender, in my opinion “he said “I’m a huge admirer of his work. Size and power. He’s excellent in every way.”
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With the Jets, Trouba, 27, was an average defenceman with potentially excellent offensive potential. He didn’t reach his offensive potential in his prior two seasons with the Rangers. At the start of the season, his underlying figures were good, as he had seven points through his first 18 games.
Despite being a defensive defender, Murphy has made some offensive contributions. But that hasn’t happened this season: 0.3 points per 60 minutes through 19 games. However, with a Corsi for percentage of 35.8%, it hasn’t exactly been the finest ride for him.
Despite his notoriety, DeAngelo, who was let go by the Rangers last season, has reminded everyone why he was sought after: With the Hurricanes, he scored 16 points in 17 games, including six on the power play. He was brought in to assist replace the attacking void left by Dougie Hamilton, which he has done well. He is, however, a player whose offensive skill may help mask his flaws.
The following ones
Los Angeles Kings’ Mikey Anderson New Jersey Devils’ Luke Hughes New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller St. Louis Blues’ Scott Perunovich Ottawa Senators’ Jake Sanderson
Anderson (22), Miller (21) and Perunovich (23), who was just called up by the Blues, headline the next batch of American defenseman, which also includes two recent draftees in Sanderson and Hughes.
The past had been reliable. The moment is exceptional. The future of American-born defenseman seems bright with these guys and the rising stars who are still progressing.
Three things to remember regarding jerseys
1. The New Jersey Devils
The team is steeped in the heritage of hockey in the Garden State. Forged with the future in mind. #MadeInJersey | #NJDevils pic.twitter.com/5qj1eE8X7A
November 23, 2021 — New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils)
I grew up rooting for the New Jersey Devils. I understand the initial sadness supporters felt when they saw their all-black third jerseys, since they were so different from the ones we’d all anticipated when the team’s color scheme was changed three decades ago. There was no drastic redesign of the emblem or a threatening devil face on the front. It’s a jersey with the word “JERSEY” on the front and more white stripes than a 2003 playlist from an alt-rock station.
Disenchantment sets in when something doesn’t match what the mind’s eye perceives, and the dunk party starts. As much fun as it has been, I am unable to join the party because (shrug) I like them. Sure, I could use fewer stripes and a logo near the wordmark on the front — either a Devils emblem or a silhouette of the state. However, I admire them for their audacity. I appreciate how there’s some street art around. And I appreciate that the only major pro club with the state’s name in its namesake wears it proudly for the millions of us who respond “we’re from Jersey” when questioned about our geographic heritage.
Now, Devils, go build the hat that reads “HAT,” would you?
2. The United States of America
November 24, 2021 — USA Hockey (@usahockey)
It’s difficult to know where to begin with these national team jerseys, so I’ll concentrate on the ridiculousness of the third jersey, also known as a second blue jersey.
“Team USA’s alternative jersey sports a deep blue double stripe running over the chest and arms, drawing influence from American’muscle cars’ and historically aggressive hockey patterns,” according to the marketing text. Finally, Jay Leno has a hockey sweater!
The word “Driven By Pride” sits on the inside of the collar, and it’s designed to urge our athletes to win for their country… or purchase a BMW, which made that motto its marketing campaign in 2020.
3. Canada’s National Team
The is gearing up for yet another epic moment.
The #TeamCanada hockey jerseys will be worn as they battle for Olympic gold in Beijing 2022. https://t.co/Job1bxn4v2
pic.twitter.com/hJO2gB5vGZ Hockey Canada
November 24, 2021 — Team Canada (@TeamCanada)
The maple leaf on the front of Canada’s national team shirts looks like the rear of a turkey, so I’m not sure what they were thinking with this emblem. I hate that I’m the one who has to point this out, since it makes it hard to see anything other than the backside of a Meleagris gallopavo domesticus while watching Team Canada compete at the Olympics. I apologize profusely, but not sincerely.
The week’s winners and losses
Jared Bednar is the winner.
What a delightful surprise. Bednar, the winningest coach in Colorado Avalanche history, seemed to be on the verge of losing his job if the club collapsed again in the playoffs. If the Avalanche have another disappointing playoffs, general manager Joe Sakic will bench Bednar in favor of “the guy with the Stanley Cup ring.” (Think about Claude Julien or Mike Babcock.)
Bednar, on the other hand, has been extended until the 2023-24 season. That’s a vote of confidence in Sakic’s coaching abilities, as well as a hint that if Colorado can’t climb the mountain again, he won’t lose his cool. Adrian Dater has more on the subject.
Travis Green is the loser.
Can the Vancouver Canucks, who are on the verge of folding, ultimately pardon this guy from the apocalypse? Green’s hands aren’t clean in this disaster; with a.350 point percentage, this figures to be his fourth season in Vancouver with a club below.500. However, this version of the team’s issue is construction rather than coaching, and word on the street is that a complete regime change is on the way. A dispute among club owners, according to Patrick Johnston, may be delaying GM Jim Benning from accomplishing what should have already been done.
Calgary Flames are the champions.
On a recent road trip, the Flames haven’t lost in regulation in seven games (5-0-2) and shredded the Eastern Conference. We expected Darryl Sutter to bring this squad defensively in shape, and they’re now top in the league with a 1.90 goals-against average. The Flames, on the other hand, have a plus-30 goal differential due to their seventh-place team offense (3.40 goals per game). Last season, GM Brad Treliving’s decision to hire Sutter was a last-ditch effort. Occasionally, the throws connect for a touchdown.
New York Islanders are the loser.
The Islanders started UBS Arena with three consecutive defeats due to COVID-19 regulations and injuries, part of a seven-game losing run in which they were outscored 31-7. But, hey, there are 17 bars to take the sting out of it.
The home of Connor McDavid was the winner.
When your dog’s appearance complements your home’s décor
Take a look inside @EdmontonOilers star Connor McDavid’s (@cmcdavid97) snug, contemporary home, which his girlfriend Lauren designed. https://t.co/8hXQLEudu3 pic.twitter.com/vftBioS4m2
— November 23, 2021, Architectural Digest (@ArchDigest)
The issue with Connor McDavid’s home is one of perception. Architectural Digest described the space as “cozy,” which is akin to characterizing McDavid’s skating as “plodding.” This isn’t a residence that will keep you warm in the winter. This is an opulent luxury hotel with a canine companion. And that’s just OK! It’s beautifully designed and a show-stopper. Connor and Lauren, you do you.
Loser: The discussion of the discussion of the discussion of the discussion of the discussion of the discussion of the discussion
I’ve been taught for years that NHL players who say controversial things shouldn’t be booed by fans because they’ll flee like terrified little rabbits and never say anything noteworthy again. “Don’t goof on a player’s Architectural Digest spread or they won’t show us their homes anymore,” I’m hearing now.
We may as well prohibit booing during games if players demand 100 percent approval ratings for everything they do and say. Or, you know, presume they understand what it takes to be a renowned professional athlete, which is to be a repository for our exaggerated responses and feelings.
Headlines from the Puck
From your ESPN buddies
Neil Paine investigates the Seattle Kraken and speculates on what they could be this season.
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The “USA ice hockey” is a sport that is played in the United States. The NHL U.S. defenseman rankings are tiers of defensemen within the country, which can be seen on the official website for USA Hockey. Reference: usa ice hockey.
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