Top 25 NHL defensive defensemen so far in 2011-12

One-third into the 2011-12 season, enough hockey has been played to give us a good idea of the best players so far this season. Now let’s have a look at the best defensive defensemen in the NHL this year. Those rearguards are often forgotten when we look at their team’s overall success, but they are key contributors nonetheless in helping their team make the playoffs.

The formula used for the table below is the following: ((+/- ratio + blocked shots + takeaways – giveaways)*penalty killed ice time per game)*Corsi relative Quality of Competition.

The Corsi relative (or Corsi Rel) is a way to compare players that neutralizes the team effects, Corsi Rel is a player’s Corsi when they are on the ice versus when they are off. If a player has a Corsi/60 of 6.0 (meaning the team directs 5 more shots towards the opposing net than they allow when the player is on the ice), but a Corsi/60 of 5.0 when the player is sitting on the bench, the player’s Corsi Rel is 1.0. Corsi Rel is always per 60 minutes of ice time.

The Quality of Competition is a pro-rated stat for each player, measuring the rating of the opposition per minute of ice time. Higher means tougher competition, zero is average, and negative means inferior competition.

QoC Corsi Rel – A quality of competition metric that uses Corsi Rel rather than rating. Over 1.000 is stiff competition indeed, and 1.500 is insane Dani Girardi and Nicklas Lidstrom territory. Less than -1.000 is extremely sheltered (hello, Jody Shelley and George Parros).

Name Team Plus/Minus Rating Blocked shots Takeaways Giveaways PK Ice Time/game Corsi Rel QoC Total
1 Dan Girardi NYR 6 79 21 30 3.95 1.958 587.79
2 Ryan McDonagh NYR 8 58 22 14 3.71 2.011 552.10
3 Josh Gorges MTL 13 78 8 20 3.37 1.429 380.44
4 Niklas Hjalmarsson CHI 6 78 11 18 2.65 1.82 371.37
5 Francois Beauchemin ANA -3 71 10 14 4.85 1.034 320.95
6 Brent Seabrook CHI 3 68 11 15 2.67 1.712 306.26
7 Ladislav Smid EDM 1 77 9 18 3.81 1.105 290.49
8 Rotislav Klesla PHX 7 52 6 6 3.06 1.429 257.99
9 Kimmo Timonen PHI 10 58 9 18 3.79 0.888 198.57
10 Duncan Keith CHI 2 48 19 19 2.27 1.712 194.31
11 David Schlemko PHX 7 50 10 4 2.22 1.371 191.75
12 Victor Hedman TB -9 55 14 14 3.48 1.143 182.97
13 Eric Brewer TB -8 63 8 12 3.49 1.010 179.77
14 Ryan Suter NAS 11 36 12 13 2.63 1.436 173.73
15 Filip Kuba OTT 3 52 8 22 3.69 1.110 167.93
16 Nicklas Lidstrom DET 12 25 13 8 2.16 1.832 166.20
17 Paul Martin PIT -6 46 19 17 3.25 1.217 166.12
18 Karl Alzner WAS 12 38 9 12 2.49 1.384 161.97
19 Nicklas Kronwall DET -1 73 10 10 3.46 0.645 160.68
20 Tim Gleason CAR -1 51 15 18 2.65 1.287 160.30
21 Chris Philipps OTT 0 62 8 17 3.58 0.800 151.79
22 Douglas Murray SJ 5 58 7 20 1.99 1.519 151.14
23 Johnny Boychuk BOS 12 40 5 10 2.35 1.354 149.55
24 Shea Weber NAS 14 41 13 24 2.45 1.370 147.69
25 Tom Gilbert EDM -1 51 16 27 3.68 0.943 135.34

As you can see, most of these rearguards are used more often than not against tougher opponents and log a lot of ice on the penalty kill. These blue liners sacrifice their bodies to block shots and avoid giving away the puck to their opponents by making good decisions while handling the puck. Surprisingly no Zdeno Chara or Keith Yandle among the defensive leaders.

Who do you think is a surprise? For me the biggest surprise is David Schlemko

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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.

Follow Fred on Twitter for more miscellaneous statistics.

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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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