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The NHL’s top defensive defencemen (2009-10)

Following up on my piece earlier this week on top defensive forwards, what follows is a statistical breakdown of which defencemen do the best job of keeping goals against down when they're on the ice.

The three stats I generally rely on come via Behind The Net and are quality of competition, goals against at even strength and goals against while shorthanded. Players also have to have played a minimum of 50 games and play regularly on the penalty kill (about two minutes per game).

Here's my list, using stats from after Tuesday's games:

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……….

Rk

NAME

TM

GP

QCMP

EVGA

SHGA

1

MARC STAAL

NYR

78

0.146

1.85

5.85

2

ROMAN POLAK

STL

77

0.102

2.44

3.64

3

ZDENO CHARA

BOS

78

0.121

1.99

5.28

4

BARRET JACKMAN

STL

66

0.108

2.51

4.77

5

NICK LIDSTROM

DET

78

0.060

2.29

3.67

6

CHRIS PHILLIPS

OTT

79

0.126

2.62

4.76

7

ANTON VOLCHENKOV

OTT

63

0.140

2.79

3.98

8

BRENT SEABROOK

CHI

75

0.099

2.44

5.60

9

CHRIS PRONGER

PHI

80

0.098

1.93

6.43

10

DEREK MORRIS

PHX

72

0.038

2.35

3.60

11

ROBYN REGEHR

CGY

78

0.085

2.31

5.92

12

TIM GLEASON

CAR

61

0.138

2.61

5.45

13

M-E VLASIC

S.J

62

0.021

1.72

4.39

14

DENNIS WIDEMAN

BOS

73

0.056

2.47

4.84

15

MATTIAS OHLUND

T.B

63

0.117

2.60

5.79

16

JOSH GORGES

MTL

80

0.022

1.85

5.08

17

COLIN WHITE

N.J

79

0.037

2.33

4.81

18

BROOKS ORPIK

PIT

71

0.081

2.69

4.61

19

TYLER MYERS

BUF

78

0.068

2.56

5.43

20

DUNCAN KEITH

CHI

79

0.085

2.83

4.73

21

HENRIK TALLINDER

BUF

78

0.067

2.47

5.88

22

JORDAN LEOPOLD

PIT

78

0.107

2.54

6.53

23

BRYCE SALVADOR

N.J

76

0.032

1.73

6.12

24

ED JOVANOVSKI

PHX

63

0.097

3.25

3.65

25

ROB BLAKE

S.J

68

0.040

1.86

6.99

26

ZBYNEK MICHALEK

PHX

68

0.095

2.70

5.78

27

MIKE MOTTAU

N.J

76

0.038

2.51

5.43

28

DAN GIRARDI

NYR

78

0.099

2.91

5.52

29

KIMMO TIMONEN

PHI

80

0.047

2.39

6.47

30

TOM POTI

WSH

68

0.051

1.86

7.86

Quite a few of the usual suspects in there and a lot of players that have mostly been atop this list since about the midpoint of the season. Lidstrom, for one, is always on this list every season, and while his offensive production has slipped some this year, he remains a huge part of the Red Wings' success.

Some good unheralded names in the mix, too, like Polak, Vlasic, Gorges, Salvador and Michalek. Ask any fan of these teams and they'll likely tell you these guys are the unsung heroes.

One of the weaknesses in the system I use is that players who play almost every minute of every game together are virtually inseparable (i.e. Phillips-Volchenkov) statistically and both are given a high rating. It also rewards players who play well within a team system that is strong defensively, such as the Devils listed above.

Let me know your thoughts on who's missing and how accurately the stats reflect the game's top shutdown defenders.

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About the Author
Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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