Monday, August 01, 2011

Projected Top Six Defenses

I've got some time this afternoon, I thought I would have a look at the current projections for top six defensemen in the league, just for shits and giggles. I was curious, thought I would look at a number of elements and compare by division. The elements that I've decided to look at are scoring, experience (age), future potential, size and cap value (descending order).  The only non-measurable element that I have of the five is potential, but in my mind, that takes what their youth looks like in this top six and ranks it objectively (if possible).

To qualify for the projected top six, the players do have to be signed, which does leave a few names out in the cold, but this is by no means scientific.  It's just a comparison, giving myself (and whoever decides to read this) an idea about what's going on.

Andy GreeneAndrew MacDonaldDan GirardiMatt CarleKris Letang
Henrik TallinderTravis HamonicMarc StaalKimmo TimonenPaul Martin
Mark FayneMilan JurcinaMicheal SauerAndrej MeszarosZbynek Michalek
Anton VolchenkovMark EatonMichael Del ZottoChris ProngerBen Lovejoy
Matt CorrenteMike MottauRyan McDonaghBraydon CoburnBrooks Orpik
Adam LarssonMark StreitSteve EmingerAndreas LiljaMatt Niskanen

2011 Scoring: PHI, PIT, NYR, NYI, NJD
Experience: PHI, NYI, PIT, NJD, NYR
Potential: NYR, NJD, NYI, PIT, PHI
Cap Value: PHI, PIT, NJD, NYR, NYI

The projected top six defense corps in the Atlantic Division looks fairly dominated by the Flyers, as they have some great scoring numbers from last season, all kinds of experience from top to bottom, massive size and inevitably, cost the most.  The Penguins do have plenty of offense in their six, not to mention some decent experience and they cashed in last Summer, which would suggest that they have a shot at doing some great things.  The Rangers are the wild card of the five, to me, as Del Zotto and McDonagh have the potential to really put their six into the spotlight.  They might not have the experience, but they have the potential to lift their scoring to great heights, all for a reasonable cap hit.

Zdeno CharaChristian EhrhoffP.K. SubbanErik KarlssonJohn-Michael Liles
Joe CorvoTyler MyersJaroslav SpacekSergei GoncharDion Phaneuf
Dennis SeidenbergJordan LeopoldYannick WeberFilip KubaCody Franson
Johnny BoychukAndrej SekeraHal GillChris PhillipsCarl Gunnarsson
Andrew FerenceMike WeberJosh GorgesMark CarknerMike Komisarek
Adam McQuaidRobyn RegehrAndrei MarkovBrian LeeKeith Aulie

2011 Scoring: BUF, BOS, TOR, OTT, MTL
Experience: BOS, OTT, MTL, BUF, TOR
Potential: TOR, MTL, BUF, BOS, OTT
Cap Value: TOR, BOS, MTL, BUF, OTT

The Northeast Division has a very good blueline battle on their hands, pretty well across the board.  The Sabres bought a lot of talent in the off-season, the Bruins swapped out some pieces, the Canadiens are still reeling from their injuries last year, the Leafs have the potential to start scoring back there, while the Sens are still growing into a new identity.  The Bruins and Sabres will lock up into some great battles, but the Canadiens could shoot past with a healthy Markov, while the Leafs can play the wild card, especially if Franson and Aulie turn up trumps with their potential.

Tomas KaberleBrian CampbellBrett ClarkDennis WidemanDustin Byfuglien
Joni PitkanenDimitri KulikovVictor HedmanJohn CarlsonTobias Enstrom
Jamie McBainEd JovanovskiPavel KubinaRoman HamrlikRon Hainsey
Bryan AllenMike WeaverEric BrewerMike GreenJohnny Oduya
Tim GleasonKeaton EllerbyM-A BergeronKarl AlznerRandy Jones
Jay HarrisonErik GudbransonMattias OhlundJeff SchultzMark Stuart

2011 Scoring: WPG, WAS, CAR, FLA, TAM
Experience: TAM, WPG, CAR, FLA, WAS
Potential: WAS, FLA, WPG, TAM, CAR
Cap Value: WPG, WAS, TAM, CAR, FLA

The Southeast Division hasn't necessarily been known for their defensive prowess, more so their offensive skills, in the past few seasons.  The Jets will come into the 2012 season, boasting a very offensive top six with Byfuglien and Enstrom leading the way.  Passed those two, the team may want to hold on for dear life.  The Capitals, with a healthy Green on their side, should move back up into the top spot in the blueline scoring this coming season, especially with the addition of Hamrlik to the side.  The Panthers are definitely the wild card of this division, adding players via trades and free agency, plus the potential of Gudbranson is currently off the charts.  Tampa is getting older, not so much savvier, while Carolina will play hard, but something is lacking, I can't quite put my finger on it now.

Brent SeabrookJames WisniewskiNicklas LidstromRyan SuterAlex Pietrangelo
Duncan KeithFedor TyutinNiklas KronwallKevin KleinKevin Shattenkirk
Steve MontadorKris RussellIan WhiteFrancis BouillonCarlo Colaiacovo
Sean O'DonnellGrant ClitsomeBrad StuartBrett LebdaBarret Jackman
Sami LepistoRadek MartinekJonathan EricssonJonathan BlumRoman Polak
Nik HjalmarssonMarc MethotMike CommodoreTyler SloanKent Huskins

2011 Scoring: DET, CHI, CBJ, STL, NAS
Experience: DET, CHI, NAS, CBJ, STL
Potential: STL, NAS, CBJ, DET, CHI
Cap Value: DET, CHI, CBJ, STL, NAS

The Red Wings and Blackhawks are really running away with this competition in the Central Division, especially with the arbitration hearing of Shea Weber to happen on Tuesday for the Predators. Even Weber's numbers won't help the Predators too much in some cases, except for possibly size and cap value.  The depth in Chicago and Detroit are hard to match in this division, while the Blues have all the potential in Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk on their side, not to mention a still-growing Polak.  The Jackets may have added some help, but Wisniewski can still be a bit wild, unsure if he'll really be able to help in Columbus, unless he gets some good help of his own.

Marc GiordanoErik JohnsonRyan WhitneyMarek ZidlickyAlex Edler
Anton BabchukJan HejdaTom GilbertNick SchultzDan Hamhuis
Jay BouwmeesterRyan WilsonTheo PeckhamJared SpurgeonKevin Bieksa
Cory SarichMatt HunwickLadislav SmidMike LundinSami Salo
Chris ButlerRyan O'ByrneCam BarkerClayton StonerKeith Ballard
Brendan MikkelsonShane O'BrienJeff PetryGreg ZanonAaron Rome

2011 Scoring: CAL, VAN, COL, EDM, MIN
Experience: VAN, MIN, CAL, COL, EDM
Potential: EDM, COL, CAL, MIN, VAN
Cap Value: VAN, CAL, EDM, COL, MIN

With the defense sorted top to bottom by their 2011 scoring numbers, this list from the Northwest Division looks somewhat misshapen.  This division should look a little bit more dominating, but the names and the order in which they appear doesn't look all that formidable.  The Flames ran away with scoring among their six, since their six stayed healthiest throughout the year, which helps, especially for fantasy pools.  The Canucks used 13 defensemen all year in 2011, plus they lost Christian Ehrhoff to free agency, which didn't help.  The Avalanche gained some serious size, but also took on some liabilities while they were at it.  The Oilers didn't add much to their blueline for the coming year, which could hurt, while the Wild look mediocre below Zidlicky.  The systems will be important in this division, as no one really seems too far ahead, unless four of the teams were ahead of Minnesota.

Lubomir VisnovskyAlex GoligoskiJack JohnsonKeith YandleDan Boyle
Cam FowlerStephane RobidasAlec MartinezAdrian AucoinBrent Burns
Toni LydmanTrevor DaleyRob ScuderiMichal RozsivalJason Demers
Kurtis FosterNiklas GrossmanMatt GreeneDerek MorrisMarc-Edouard Vlasic
Francois BeaucheminAdam PardyWillie MitchellDavid SchlemkoJim Vandermeer
Luca SbisaSheldon SourayDavis DrewiskeRostislav KleslaDoug Murray

2011 Scoring: ANA, SAN, PHO, DAL, LOS
Experience: PHO, DAL, SAN, LOS, ANA
Potential: ANA, DAL, LOS, PHO, SAN
Cap Value: PHO, SAN, ANA, LOS, DAL

There is a lot of blueline talent in the Pacific Division and we are still waiting for Drew Doughty to join this list for the Kings, as he is still an unsigned restricted free agent defenseman.  The Ducks are stacked with scoring, the Sharks are not too far behind, the Coyotes have lots of experience, the Kings are pretty big and the Stars could have a nice wild card with Souray in their line-up, come October.  With the addition (and subsequent extension) of Burns to the Sharks line-up for the coming year, I would say that they would have to have the most dangerous six defenders of the five teams, which could put them over the top when the playoffs roll around again.  They will be a ripe team to pick from for the hockey pools, I expect most of them to fly off the lists.

Top five teams in each measurement...
2011 Scoring: BUF, ANA, DET, SAN, CHI
Experience: DET, PHI, PHO, TAM, BOS
Potential: ANA, STL, NYR, WAS, FLA
Cap Value: PHI, DET, WPG, VAN, CHI

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