I don’t think anyone can deny that many of the top defensemen are in the western conference (Lidstrom, Pronger, Niedermayer, Phaneuf, etc). This off season Brian Campbell and Dan Boyle found new permanent homes in the western conference. Some of the better young defensemen/prospects are in the western conference as well (Jack Johnson, Erik Johnson, Drew Doughty, etc.). With that, I post the following question to you all:
1. Who are the top 5 defensemen in the eastern conference.
2. Taking into consideration both talent and depth, list the 5 teams with the best group of defensemen in the eastern conference.
Please post your answers as a comment. In asking these questions I hope to get a bit of a discussion going as well as hopefully give us all a bit more insight on hockey around the NHL. If this goes well I’ll pose more questions in the future. I plan on following up this post in a few days with my answers and my thoughts on the discussion.
To help you out, here is a list of each teams currently signed (or unsigned RFA) defensemen who are likely or could possibly make play next season (to the best of my knowledge).
Atlanta Thrashers: Ron Hainsey, Tobias Enstrom, Garnet Exelby, Niclas Havelid, Ken Klee
Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Wideman, Aaron Ward, Andrew Ference, Andrew Alberts, Mark Stuart, Shane Hnidy
Buffalo Sabres: Henrik Tallinder, Jaroslav Spacek, Toni Lydmin, Craig Rivet, Nathan Paetsch, Andrej Sekera
Carolina Hurricanes: Joe Corvo, Joni Pitkanen, Niclas Wallin, Dennis SEidenberg, Tim Gleason, Frantisek Kaberle, Josef Melichar, Anton Babchuk
Florida Panthers: Jay Bouwmeester, Bryan Allen, Nick Boynton, Karlis Skrastins, Mike Van Ryn, Keith Ballard, Steve Montador, Cory Murphy, Noah Welch
Montreal Canadiens: Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, Mike Komisarek, Mathieu Dandeneault, Josh Gorges, Francis Bouillon, Ryan O’Byrne
New Jersey Devils: Colin White, Paul Martin, John Oduya, Vitaly Vishnevski, Mike Mottau, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador, Sheldon Brookbank
New York Islanders: Mark Streit, Andy Sutton, Brendan Witt, Freddy Meyer, Radek Martinek, Bruno Gervais, Chris Campoli
New York Rangers: Wade Redden, March Staal, Michal Rozsival, Dmitri Kalinin, Paul Mara, Dan Girardi
Ottawa Senators: Chris Phillips, Anton Volchenkov, Jason Smith, Andrej Meszaros, Brian Lee, Christoph Schubert
Philadelphia Flyers: Kimmo Timonen, Derian Hatcher, Randy Jones, Lasse Kukkonen, Braydon Coburn, Randy Jones, Ryan Parent, Ossi Vaananen
Pittsburgh Penguins: Sergei Gonchar, Ryan Whitney, Hal Gill, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Mark Eaton, Rob Scuderi, Darryl Sydor
Tampa Bay Lightning: Matthew Carle, Filip Kuba, Paul Rangers, Shane O’Brien, Andrew Hutchinson, Mike Lundin, Alexandre Picard
Toronto Maple Leafs: Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Jeff Finger, Carlo Colaiacovo, Antron Stralman, Ian White
Washington Capitals: Mike Green, Tom Poti, Shaone Morrisonn, Milan Jurcina, Brian Pothier, John Erskine, Jeff Shultz