When it came to what it takes to be a “Top 10” NHL defenseman, it was all about scoring.
The most important factor is that you score.
And that’s what this column is all about.
So when it comes time to choose a Top 10 defenseman to follow in his footsteps, we looked at everything we could think of.
And here’s what we found.1.
Kris Letang and Connor McDavid: If the world had a choice between these two players, there would be no way to argue with the choice.
But as we’ve learned through the years, the world does not have a choice.
The best defenseman on the planet is going to be the guy who can score.2.
Pavel Datsyuk: If Datsuky were to get his second NHL hat trick this season, we’d all be talking about it, and not really think about anything else.
The one thing that really bothers me about Datsuk is that he doesn’t do much with his shot.
He gets in the box, and he gets it, but he rarely gets a shot off.
He doesn’t even try to score goals, as if it’s an automatic thing that he does.3.
Brent Burns: His first career hat trick in the 2010-11 season made him the second-best defenseman in the NHL, behind only Sidney Crosby.
Burns scored 23 goals last season, and his team, the Detroit Red Wings, were in the midst of a playoff chase when they made the playoffs.
But Burns, who turned 30 this week, still has the ability to score a goal.
He has the talent to score 20 goals or more, and is also capable of getting in the back of the net.4.
Johnny Gaudreau: The Flames’ captain had another big season in 2016-17, and we can’t forget his incredible postseason run.
Gaudy had 37 goals in 82 games and made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2005.
He was a force on the ice, too, averaging nearly four shots per game.5.
Tomas Plekanec: Plekanek has been an elite defender for the Devils for years, but it was his incredible 2016-19 campaign that made him a household name.
He scored 44 goals and made an incredible 82 games, and it was a breakout season.6.
Brad Marchand: A first-round pick in 2004, Marchand was one of the NHL all-time greats.
He finished with a record of 963 points, which is more than the next-best defensemen, who include Gordie Howe (945 points), John Carlson (924), and Bobby Orr (908).
Marchand had a career-best 56 goals, and was a huge reason why the Rangers won the Stanley War of Hockey.7.
Ryan McDonagh: The Flyers rookie was a massive upgrade over the team that drafted him.
McDonag’s .942 save percentage in 2016–17 was second only to Carey Price (1.98), and his .935 save percentage was second to the league-leader, Jonathan Quick (1:00).8.
Ryan Carter: The Penguins’ captain led the league in scoring with 59 goals, but that was a very impressive season for Carter, who had 52 goals and 76 points in 82 regular-season games.
He also won a Stanley Cup, which made him even more coveted.9.
Victor Hedman: He was arguably the NHL MVP for the 2017-18 season.
Hedman led the NHL with 1,826 points, tied for third with Sidney Crosby, and had 10 power-play goals, while leading the league with a career plus-minus rating of plus-14.10.
Joe Pavelski: Pavelski is a two-time Hart Trophy winner and two- time Norris Trophy winner.
He is considered one of, if not the best defenseman in hockey history.
He led the Stanley Cups with eight goals, which was a career high, and also finished second to Crosby in scoring.11.
Nicklas Backstrom: He has a career goal total of more than 1,500, and in just his third full NHL season, Backstrom was a dominant force.
His goal total in 2016, his best since 2010-13, was his best ever.
He had 27 goals and 57 points, a career best, and led the Rangers to the Stanley Championship.12.
Brad Richardson: The Rangers’ captain was one the most dominant players in the league during the 2016-16 season.
Richardson finished with 40 goals and 83 points in his career, and won the Hart Trophy as the league’s best defenseman.13.
Alex Ovechkin: The Capitals’ superstar has led the way offensively in his three seasons in the Capitals lineup, and with his scoring, Ovechuk is one of only three players to score 1,000 points in a three-year span.