The Ten Most Expensive Defensive Units In The NHL

Some NHL general managers like to build their team with a lot of offensive punch (Washington Capitals), while others prefer to build their team with a strong goalie tandem (Minnesota Wild). Finally, some GMs prefer to build their team with a very deep defensive corps. Two months into the 2011-12 season, let’s have a look at the top ten most expensive defensive brigades in the NHL and where they rank in the overall rankings.

I’ll use the top seven defensemen of each team as a reference and will take the financial numbers from CapGeek.com. Players that are injured are included in the calculation.

1. Philadelphia Flyers – $24,33 millions 25 games 15 wins 7 losses 3 OTL 33 points (5th EC)
Kimmo Timonen – $6,333,333
Chris Pronger – $4,921,429
Andrej Meszaros – $4,000,000
Matt Carle – $3,437,500
Braydon Coburn – $3,200,000
Matt Walker – $1,700,000
Andreas Lilja – $737,500

2. Los Angeles Kings – $22.56 millions 26 games 13 wins 9 losses 4 OTL 30 points (7th WC)
Drew Doughty – $7,000,000
Jack Johnson – $4,357,143
Willie Mitchell – $3,500,000
Rob Scuderi – $3,400,000
Matt Greene – $2,950,000
Alec Martinez – $737,500
Davis Drewiske – $616,667

3. Winnipeg Jets – $22.30 millions 26 games 11 wins 11 losses 4 OTL 26 points (11th EC)
Dustin Byfuglien – $5,200,000
Ron Hainsey – $4,500,000
Tobias Enstrom – $3,750,000
Johnny Oduya – $3,500,000
Zach Bogosian – $2,500,000
Mark Stuart – $1,700,000
Randy Jones – $1,150,000

4. Toronto Maple Leafs – $22.04 millions 26 games 14 wins 10 losses 2 OTL 30 points (6th EC)
Dion Phaneuf – $6,500,000
Mike Komisarek – $4,500,000
John-Michael Liles – $4,200,000
Luke Scheen – $3,600,000
Carl Gunnarsson – $1,325,000
Jake Gardiner – $1,116,667
Cody Franson – $800,000

5. Phoenix Coyotes – $21.48 millions 25 games 13 wins 9 losses 3 OTL 29 points (9th WC)
Keith Yandle – $5,250,000
Michal Rozsival – $5,000,000
Rotislav Klesla – $2,975,000
Derek Morris – $2,750,000
Adrian Aucoin – $2,000,000
Kurt Sauer – $1,750,000
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – $1,750,000

6. Detroit Red Wings – $20.96 millions 25 games 16 wins 8 losses 1 OTL 33 points (4th WC)
Nicklas Lidstrom – $6,200,000
Brad Stuart – $3,750,000
Jonathan Ericsson – $3,250,000
Niklas Kronwall – $3,000,000
Ian White – $2,875,000
Mike Commodore – $1,000,000
Jakub Kindl – $883,333

7. Vancouver Canucks – $20.53 millions 26 games 15 wins 10 losses 1 OTL 31 points (5th WC)
Kevin Bieksa – $4,600,000
Dan Hamhuis – $4,500,000
Keith Ballard – $4,200,000
Alexander Edler – $3,250,000
Sami Salo – $2,000,000
Andrew Alberts – $1,225,000
Aaron Rome – $750,000

8. Chicago Blackhawks – $20.31 millions 27 games 16 wins 8 losses 3 OTL 35 points (2nd WC)
Brent Seabrook – $5,800,000
Duncan Keith – $5,538,462
Niklas Hjalmarsson – $3,500,000
Steve Montador – $2,750,000
Nick Leddy – $1,116,666
Sean O’Donnell – $850,000
Sami Lepisto – $750,000

9. Calgary Flames – $19.75 millions 26 games 11 wins 13 losses 2 OTL 24 points (13th WC)
Jay Bouwmeester – $6,680,000
Mark Giordano – $4,020,000
Cory Sarich – $3,600,000
Anton Babchuk – $2,500,000
Chris Butler – $1,250,000
Scott Hannan – $1,000,000
Derek Smith – $700,000

10. Washington Capitals – $19.07 millions 25 games 13 wins 11 losses 1 OTL 27 points (8th EC)
Mike Green – $5,250,000
Dennis Wideman – $3,935,500
Roman Hamrlik – $3,500,000
Jeff Schultz – $2,750,000
John Erskine – $1,500,000
Karl Alzner – $1,285,000
John Carlson – $845,833

10. San Jose Sharks – $19.07 millions 23 games 14 wins 8 losses 1 OTL 29 points (8th WC)
Dan Boyle – $6,666,667
Brent Burns – $3,550,000
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – $3,100,000
Douglas Murray – $2,500,000
Jason Demers – $1,250,000
Jim Vandermeer – $1,000,000
Colin White – $1,000,000

In comparison, the league-leading Minnesota Wild with 37 points, are spending only $12.36 millions on their defensive brigade.

As you can see, there is no guaranteed success if you spend a lot of money on your defensive brigade, as only the Chicago Blackhawks are leading their division amongst the teams that spend the most money on their blue line.

2010-11 rankings
1. Philadelphia Flyers – $24,89M
2. Toronto Maple Leafs – $24.28M
3. Vancouver Canucks – $23.35M
4. Detroit Red Wings – $21.83M
5. Calgary Flames – $21.59M
6. Chicago Blackhawks – $21.29M
7. Atlanta Thrashers (Winnipeg Jets) – $21.06M
8. Montreal Canadiens – $20.25M
9. Pittsburgh Penguins – $19.11M
10. Boston Bruins – $18.58M

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Fred is a freelance sports write and translator, as well as a featured Montreal Canadiens blogger on http://hockeyindependent.com/blog/ and a baseball columnist on http://www.dobberbaseball.com/. Fred also joined HabsAddict.com in time for the 2011-12 season.

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Filed Under: Calgary FlamesChicago BlackhawksDetroit Red WingsFeaturedLos Angeles KingsMinnesota WildNHLNHL TeamsPhiladelphia FlyersPhoenix CoyotesSan Jose SharksToronto Maple LeafsVancouver CanucksWashington CapitalsWinnipeg Jets

About the Author: Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 33, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he's also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish. http://twitter.com/FredPoulin98 www.traductions-quebec.com

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