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Super 16

Super 16: Top defensemen playing in Stanley Cup Qualifiers

Hedman, Josi, Carlson among best in rankings

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

The NHL Return to Play Plan was announced May 26. The League moved into Phase 2 of the plan with the opening of training facilities for small-group workouts June 8. Phase 3, the opening of training camps, is scheduled for July 13. This week, the Super 16 covers the top defensemen of the 24 teams that will play in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning was ranked first by seven of 13 voters as the best defensemen among the 24 teams that are part of the Return to Play Plan.

Hedman was ranked No. 2 by the other six voters, which gave him enough points to finish at the top of the Super 16, eight points ahead of Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators, who was ranked No. 1 by five voters. John Carlson of the Washington Capitals received the other No. 1 vote.

Video: Super 16: Top Defenseman on Remaining Teams

To create the Super 16, each of the 13 participating staff members put together his or her version of what they think it should look like. Those were submitted and a point total assigned to each.

The defenseman that was selected first was given 16 points, the second got 15, third 14 and so on down to No. 16, who got one point. 

Here is the Super 16:


[RELATED: Super 16: Top goalies in Qualifiers | Super 16: Top centers in Qualifiers]


1. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Total points: 202

Season stats: 55 points (11 goals, 44 assists) in 66 games

Career playoff stats: 48 points (seven goals, 41 assists) in 84 games

Hedman won the Norris Trophy in 2017-18 and finished third in the voting last season, when Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames won it and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks was second. Hedman also was third in the Norris Trophy voting in 2016-17, behind Burns and Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators. Hedman has helped the Lightning reach the Eastern Conference Final four times (2011, 2015, 2016, 2018). They reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks. He is third among defensemen since the 2016-17 season with 244 points (56 goals, 188 assists) in 292 games, behind Burns (271) and Carlson (250). Hedman also is third among all skaters in plus/minus (plus-86) since 2016-17, behind New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin (plus-91) and Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (plus-88).


2. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

Total points: 194

Season stats: 65 points (16 goals, 49 assists) in 69 games

Career playoff stats: 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) in 71 games

Josi was first on the Predators and second among NHL defensemen (Carlson, 75 points) in scoring this season. He set NHL career-highs in goals, assists and points despite the Predators' season being cut short by 13 games when it was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He's third among defensemen in scoring in the past three seasons with 174 points (45 goals, 129 assists) in 226 games, behind Carlson (213) and Burns (195). Josi had a 53.3 percent even-strength shot-attempts percentage (SAT), even though he started 49.5 percent of his even-strength shifts in the offensive zone. He also averaged 25:47 of ice time per game, the most among returning defensemen.

Video: EDM@NSH: Josi tees up and hammers puck home


3. John Carlson, Washington Capitals

Total points: 185

Season stats: 75 points (15 goals, 60 assists) in 69 games

Career playoff stats: 60 points (18 goals, 42 assists) in 107 games

Carlson led NHL defensemen in scoring for the second time in three seasons, after leading them with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists) in 2017-18. He's scored 213 points (43 goals, 170 assists) in 231 games the past three seasons, 18 more than any defenseman. Carlson helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018, when he scored 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 24 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


4. Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues

Total points: 142

Season stats: 52 points (16 goals, 36 assists) in 70 games

Career playoff stats: 45 points (seven goals, 38 assists) in 83 games

Pietrangelo was sixth among defensemen in scoring this season and averaged 24:11 of ice time per game. He's seventh among NHL defensemen with 447 points (108 goals, 339 assists) in 741 games the past 10 seasons. He helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup last season, when he led defensemen with 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 26 games, including six points (one goal, five assists) in Games 4-7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins. He scored the game-winning goal and had an assist in St. Louis' 4-1 win in Game 7 at Boston. He could be among the most sought after unrestricted free agents this offseason if the Blues don't re-sign him.


5. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

Total points: 140

Season stats: 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists) in 61 games

Career playoff stats: 80 points (21 goals, 59 assists) in 132 games

Letang is a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017), even though he missed the 2017 playoffs because of an injury. He is fifth in scoring among NHL defensemen in the past 10 seasons with 458 points (106 goals, 352 assists) in 591 games. Among defensemen to play at least 100 games during that span, Letang's 0.77 points per game is second behind Karlsson (0.85). Letang averaged 25:44 of ice time per game this season, second behind Josi among returning defensemen.


6. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets

Total points: 124

Season stats: 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) in 56 games

Career playoff stats: 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in 27 games

Jones was on pace for a fourth straight season of at least 40 points before fracturing his ankle Feb. 8. He is expected to be healthy when the Blue Jackets reconvene for training camp, which will put his 25:17 of ice time per game back in their lineup. Jones scored nine points (three goals, six assists) in 10 playoff games last season.


7. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames

Total points: 88

Season stats: 31 points (five goals, 26 assists) in 60 games

Career playoff stats: Four points (one goal, three assists) in 13 games

Giordano didn't have the same type of season he did in 2018-19, when he won the Norris Trophy, scored 74 points (17 goals, 57 assists), and was plus-39 in 78 games. He's still one of the most utilized defensemen in the NHL, averaging 23:53 of ice time per game this season. He also led Flames defensemen with a 52.9 percent SAT (minimum 10 games), showing he was able to turn good defense into offensive chances. He missed more than three weeks with a hamstring injury sustained Feb. 4 but returned Feb. 27 and played six games before the season was paused.

Video: CGY@MIN: Giordano banks home PPG off defender's stick


8. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

Total points: 86

Season stats: 50 points (12 goals, 38 assists) in 57 games

Career playoff stats: Six points (one goal, five assists) in 10 games

Makar was seventh among defensemen and second among NHL rookies in scoring this season (Quinn Hughes, 53 points). His 0.88 points per game was third among defensemen (minimum 20 games), behind Carlson (1.09) and Josi (0.94). Makar is a favorite to win the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. Makar won the Hobey Baker Award last season as the top NCAA men's hockey player and three days later made his NHL debut in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round against the Flames, scoring on his first shot on goal.


9. Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes

Total points: 85

Season stats: 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) in 68 games

Career playoff stats: 11 points (zero goals, 11 assists) in 15 games

Slavin had a 55.4 percent SAT this season and 107 blocked shots (4.03 per 60 minutes), meaning he was creating opportunities on the offensive end and shutting them down on the defensive end. He averaged 3:06 of shorthanded ice time per game for the Hurricanes' fourth-ranked penalty kill (84.0 percent). His reputation grew during the playoffs last season, when he averaged 26:10 of ice time per game to help Carolina reach the Eastern Conference Final, which it lost to Boston.


10. Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens

Total points: 81

Season stats: 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 65 games

Career playoff stats: 31 points (14 goals, 17 assists) in 65 games

Weber is one of the most accomplished defensemen never to win the Norris Trophy or the Stanley Cup. He is seventh among active defensemen with 570 points (218 goals, 352 assists) in 990 games. He missed six games because of injury, and had he stayed healthy and the season not been paused, he would have become the 11th active defenseman to reach the 1,000-game milestone.


11. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild

Total points: 68

Season stats: 48 points (eight goals, 40 assists) in 69 games

Career playoff stats: 29 points (six goals, 23 assists) in 78 games

Suter has been among the most reliable and durable defensemen since he entered the NHL with the Predators in 2005-06. He is fourth in games (1,142), third in total ice time (28,751:12) and ice time per game (25:11), and fifth in points (588) among active defensemen. Suter also never has won the Norris Trophy or the Stanley Cup.


12. Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks

Total points: 56

Season stats: 53 points (eight goals, 45 assists) in 68 games

Career playoff stats: N/A

The 20-year-old led NHL rookies and was tied for fourth among defensemen with Tony DeAngelo of the New York Rangers in scoring this season. His style appears to mirror that of Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, a Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP and three-time Stanley Cup champion. Hughes scored 25 points (three goals, 22 assists) on the power play, tied with Neal Pionk of the Winnipeg Jets for third at the position behind Torey Krug of the Bruins (28) and Carlson (26).

Video: VAN@NYI: Hughes wins it in overtime for Canucks


13. Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues

Total points: 52

Season stats: 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 64 games

Career playoff stats: 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in 57 games

Parayko has become one of the fiercest defensemen in the NHL, particularly because of his size (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) and how well he moves around the ice. He scored the same number of goals, assists and points this season that he did last season, but in 16 fewer games. He led the Blues with 106 blocked shots and St. Louis defensemen with 87 hits averaging 23:00 of ice time per game. Parayko helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup last season by scoring 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) and averaging 25:07 of ice time in 26 games during the playoffs.


14. Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins

Total points: 41

Season stats: 32 points (five goals, 27 assists) in 67 games

Career playoff stats: 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 41 games

McAvoy, in his third NHL season, led the Bruins in total time on ice (1,551:56) and time on ice per game (23:10). He was Boston's first option among defensemen in overtime, playing 23:46, or almost six minutes more than their next defenseman, Krug (17:38), and scored an overtime goal. He's scored 92 points (19 goals, 73 assists) in 184 NHL games.


15. Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes

Total points: 35

Season stats: 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in 47 games

Career playoff stats: 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in 38 games

Hamilton was on the way to his best NHL season when he fractured his left leg in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 16. He hasn't played since but should be healthy when the Hurricanes reconvene for training camp. Hamilton was first in shots on goal (170), tied for second in goals, second in plus/minus (plus-30), fourth in points and fifth in points per game (0.85) among NHL defensemen when he was injured.


16. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars

Total points: 33

Season stats: 32 points (six goals, 26 assists) in 58 games

Career playoff stats: 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 26 games

Klingberg scored 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his first 28 games and 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) in his final 30. Since debuting in the NHL in 2014-15, he is 10th among defensemen with 291 points (58 goals, 233 assists) in 425 games.

Video: EDM@DAL: Klingberg buries Benn one-timer for PPG


Others receiving points: Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets, 32; Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars, 31; Torey Krug, Boston Bruins, 24; Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers, 16; Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs, 11; Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton Oilers, 10; Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks, 9; Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights, 8; Nate Schmidt, Vegas Golden Knights, 5; Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins, 5; Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes, 2; Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets, 2; Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers, 1




1. Roman Josi; 2. Victor Hedman; 3. Seth Jones; 4. Kris Letang; 5. John Carlson; 6. Alex Pietrangelo; 7. Jaccob Slavin; 8. Colton Parayko; 9. Mark Giordano; 10. Ryan Suter; 11. Shea Weber; 12. Charlie McAvoy; 13. Zach Werenski; 14. John Klingberg; 15. Dougie Hamilton; 16. Cale Makar


1. Roman Josi; 2. Victor Hedman; 3. John Carlson; 4. Cale Makar; 5. Colton Parayko; 6. Mark Giordano; 7. Kris Letang; 8. Seth Jones; 9. Shea Weber; 10. John Klingberg; 11. Oscar Klefbom; 12. Torey Krug; 13. Jaccob Slavin; 14. Ryan Suter; 15. Josh Morrissey; 16. Morgan Rielly


1. John Carlson; 2. Victor Hedman; 3. Roman Josi; 4. Kris Letang; 5. Alex Pietrangelo; 6. Seth Jones; 7. Quinn Hughes; 8. Ryan Suter; 9. Jaccob Slavin; 10. Torey Krug; 11. Cale Makar; 12. Ivan Provorov; 13. Oscar Klefbom; 14. Duncan Keith; 15. Shea Weber; 16. Morgan Rielly


1. Victor Hedman; 2. John Carlson; 3. Roman Josi; 4. Alex Pietrangelo; 5. Colton Parayko; 6. Mark Giordano; 7. Kris Letang; 8. Cale Makar; 9. Quinn Hughes; 10. Miro Heiskanen; 11. Seth Jones; 12. Zach Werenski; 13. Charlie McAvoy; 14. Jaccob Slavin; 15. Oliver Ekman-Larsson; 16. Morgan Rielly


1. Victor Hedman; 2. Roman Josi; 3. John Carlson; 4. Alex Pietrangelo; 5. Seth Jones; 6. Jaccob Slavin; 7. Kris Letang; 8. Mark Giordano; 9, Ryan Suter; 10. Shea Weber; 11. Miro Heiskanen; 12; Charlie McAvoy; 13. Colton Parayko; 14. Zdeno Chara; 15. Cale Makar; 16. Quinn Hughes


1. Roman Josi; 2. Victor Hedman; 3. John Carlson; 4. Jaccob Slavin; 5. Alex Pietrangelo; 6. Dougie Hamilton; 7. Ivan Provorov; 8. Seth Jones; 9. Shea Theodore; 10. Cale Makar; 11. Shea Weber; 12. Quinn Hughes; 13. Kris Letang; 14. Charlie McAvoy; 15. Miro Heiskanen; 16. Zach Werenski


1. Victor Hedman; 2. John Carlson; 3. Roman Josi; 4. Alex Pietrangelo; 5. Seth Jones; 6. Kris Letang; 7. Charlie McAvoy; 8. Cale Makar; 9. Shea Weber; 10. Dougie Hamilton; 11. Zach Werenski; 12. Mark Giordano; 13. Ryan Suter; 14. Miro Heiskanen; 15. Jaccob Slavin; 16. Ivan Provorov


1. Victor Hedman; 2. John Carlson; 3. Roman Josi; 4. Seth Jones; 5. Shea Weber; 6. Mark Giordano; 7. Cale Makar; 8. Quinn Hughes; 9. John Klingberg; 10. Kris Letang; 11. Duncan Keith; 12. Alex Pietrangelo; 13. Ryan Suter; 14. Zach Werenski; 15. Charlie McAvoy; 16. Miro Heiskanen


1. Victor Hedman; 2. Roman Josi; 3. Alex Pietrangelo; 4. John Carlson; 5. Kris Letang; 6. Jaccob Slavin; 7. Mark Giordano; 8. Ryan Suter; 9. John Klingberg; 10. Seth Jones; 11. Colton Parayko; 12. Nate Schmidt; 13. Shea Weber; 14. Cale Makar; 15. Charlie McAvoy; 16. Quinn Hughes


1. Roman Josi; 2. Victor Hedman; 3. John Carlson; 4. Kris Letang; 5. Jaccob Slavin; 6. Alex Pietrangelo; 7. Mark Giordano; 8. Ryan Suter; 9. Shea Weber; 10. Charlie McAvoy; 11. Zach Werenski; 12. Colton Parayko; 13. Seth Jones; 14. Cale Makar; 15. Quinn Hughes; 16. John Klingberg


1. Roman Josi; 2. Victor Hedman; 3. John Carlson; 4. Alex Pietrangelo; 5. Kris Letang; 6. Jaccob Slavin; 7. Miro Heiskanen; 8. Ryan Suter; 9. Seth Jones; 10. Cale Makar; 11. Quinn Hughes; 12. Shea Weber; 13. Dougie Hamilton; 14. Charlie McAvoy; 15. Mark Giordano; 16. John Klingberg


1. Victor Hedman; 2. Roman Josi; 3. John Carlson; 4. Kris Letang; 5. Shea Weber; 6. Alex Pietrangelo; 7. Cale Makar; 8. Quinn Hughes; 9. Seth Jones; 10. Zach Werenski; 11. Ryan Suter; 12. John Klingberg; 13. Dougie Hamilton; 14. Torey Krug; 15. Miro Heiskanen; 16. Mark Giordano


1. Victor Hedman; 2. John Carlson; 3. Alex Pietrangelo; 4. Roman Josi; 5. Kris Letang; 6. Seth Jones; 7. Mark Giordano; 8. Torey Krug; 9. Morgan Rielly; 10. Dougie Hamilton; 11. Cale Makar; 12. Quinn Hughes; 13. Colton Parayko; 14. Shea Weber; 15. Zdeno Chara; 16. Aaron Ekblad

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