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The NHL's top defensive defencemen at midseason

Ilya Kovalchuk of the New Jersey Devils battles through Brooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on December 6, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Every year, I put together a little breakdown of which defencemen have excelled in their own end, calling it the "Rod Langway Award" for a fictional NHL trophy dedicated to the league's top defensive defencemen. Marc Staal finished at the top of this list last season.

Using some of the advanced stats at Gabe Desjardins' terrific Behind The Net site, I rank every defenceman who plays in defensive situations by the quality of players they face (QCMP) and how many goals they are on the ice for at even strength and while shorthanded.

It's certainly not a perfect method, but it does give us a decent idea of which defensive defencemen are doing a good job of keeping the puck out of their net against good players.

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Here are the results at midseason:



RK

NAME

TEAM

QCMP

EVGA/60

SHGA/60

1

BROOKS ORPIK

PIT

0.060

1.88

2.69

2

ROMAN HAMRLIK

MTL

0.076

1.97

4.46

3

JAROSLAV SPACEK

MTL

0.082

2.04

4.30

4

STEPHANE ROBIDAS

DAL

0.097

1.94

6.06

5

ANDREJ SEKERA

BUF

0.037

1.95

2.00

6

JASON GARRISON

FLA

0.097

2.37

4.26

7

SHEA WEBER

NSH

0.068

2.14

4.58

8

RYAN SUTER

NSH

0.049

1.33

5.47

9

JOHNNY BOYCHUK

BOS

0.043

1.56

4.86

10

ZDENO CHARA

BOS

0.094

1.83

7.05

11

NICKLAS GROSSMAN

DAL

0.107

1.85

8.05

12

ALEXANDER EDLER

VAN

0.020

1.70

4.45

13

JOHN CARLSON

WSH

0.044

1.92

5.24

14

JOSH GORGES

MTL

0.073

2.34

4.67

15

KRIS LETANG

PIT

0.043

2.08

4.59

16

DAN HAMHUIS

VAN

0.036

2.09

4.14

17

TIM GLEASON

CAR

0.066

2.14

5.84

18

TONI LYDMAN

ANA

0.076

1.63

8.51

19

MARC STAAL

NYR

0.053

2.21

4.80

20

ROBYN REGEHR

CGY

0.085

1.98

7.89

21

MIKE WEAVER

FLA

0.069

2.27

5.55

22

KARL ALZNER

WSH

0.055

2.02

6.24

23

ERIC BREWER

STL

0.053

2.24

4.82

24

HAL GILL

MTL

0.020

2.15

4.05

25

PAUL MARTIN

PIT

0.009

2.03

4.11

26

RYAN O'BYRNE

COL

0.013

1.58

5.40

27

KEVIN BIEKSA

VAN

0.045

2.16

5.59

28

ED JOVANOVSKI

PHX

0.074

2.06

7.97

29

ROB SCUDERI

L.A

0.054

1.90

7.76

30

NICK LIDSTROM

DET

0.174

2.80

5.83

Honourable mentions: Tyler Myers, Jeff Schultz, Barret Jackman, Doug Murray

Two notes on this list: If a player is paired with another player almost exclusively, it's difficult to separate them statistically, so you do see defence pairings make appearances on the list often. The other thing is players on teams with either really good or really poor goaltending will have their numbers affected by that.

I'll be putting together a similar list for defensive forwards in the next day or two.

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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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