LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty took the top spot on NHL Network’s new countdown series Top 20 Defensemen Right Now this past Saturday night, ranking the best defensemen in the National Hockey League. Doughty, the 2016 James Norris Memorial Trophy winner, finished one spot ahead of two-time James Norris Memorial Trophy winner Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.
NHL Network’s Tony Luftman and E.J. Hradek counted down the best defensemen based on player performance over the past several seasons, with an emphasis on the 2015-2016 season. The ranking also weighted projected performance in the 2016-2017 season, taking into account players returning from injury and young players expected to break out. An embeddable video recap of the complete ranking, listed below, can be seen here.
NHL Network’s Top 20 Defensemen Right Now:
1. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
2. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
3. Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
4. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
5. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
6. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
7. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
8. P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators
9. Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens
10. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
11. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
12. Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
13. Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks
14. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars
15. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
16. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
17. Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers
18. Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
19. John Carlson, Washington Capitals
20. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks
Continuing its new slate of offseason programming, NHL Network will rank the best players across the National Hockey League in four new countdown series, starting with its lists of the best position players: Top 20 Forwards Right Now, Top 20 Defensemen Right Now, and Top 10 Goalies Right Now. Seven Hart Memorial Trophy winners, three Vezina Trophy winners and five Calder Memorial Trophy winners are among the ranking in NHL Network’s five-part series Top 50 Players Right Now, beginning Sunday, August 21 at 7:00 p.m. ET with players ranked 50-41. Following the completion of each show, viewers can visit NHLNetwork.com for videos on the latest rankings.