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Welcome to the Hockeybuzz hotstove.
In this one the hotstove will debate who makes up the best defense pairing in hockey. What goes into this is past performance, what we've seen this year as well as what we could expect in the future.
Todd Cordell: Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman
Their body of work together is small, but what they showed before Hedman went down with injury is extremely encouraging.
Hedman has quietly developed into one of the best defensemen in hockey, and in reality had a Norris caliber season last year
Anton Stralman is overlooked by most, but he was excellent in his time with New York and has been even better early on with the Lightning.
Together they were a 57% possession pairing despite playing top competition and getting a decent amount of zone starts outside of the offensive zone.
I guess what I'm saying is they may not have enough body of work to be the best defense pairing just yet, but they could very well be in the near future.
Tim Chiasson: Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman
I'm going with what could be: Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman.
If Hedman hadn't gone down with an injury I think this pairing would have been the most dominant in the league. Stralman is doing a great job without Hedman but the two together would be great to watch.
They're both very good possession players and play a very strong game in their own end while contributing offensively as well. Hedman had 7 points in 5 games before the injury and Stralman has 10 points in 15 games.
The Stralman signing was a well calculated one by Steve Yzerman. He's an underrated defender who is a steal at $4.5M per season after finishing last season near the top of possession among defenders in the league. Add that player with a Norris Trophy candidate and you've got one of the best pairings in the NHL.
When Hedman comes back and reunites with Stralman the Lightning duo are going to back up my claim in a big way.
Adam French: Shea Weber and Roman Josi
While the Flames rocking Giordano-Brodie have taken the league by surprise, there are more obvious picks like Keith-Seabrook and even a few future lookers like Hamilton-Seidenberg, I have to go with the Preds and their magnificent duo. 27 and 26 minutes in change of elite defending. PP, PK, ES, whatever you need. They are 2 and 5 respectively in ES Ice-Time. Weber for once doesn't seem to need to drag his team kicking and screaming into the offensive zone.
It's refreshing to see a defenseman not leading Nashville in scoring for once. A lot of critics worried that without Trotz "magical defense system," that Weber would finally fail...or was that when Suter left him and he magically sucked in the mind of people who weren't watching him? I can never tell.
Shea Weber is close to being the best defenseman in the game. There's a solid argument to be made in my opinion. Josi? Well if he isn't elite, he's as close as you can get without reaching it. It's amazing they're only 29 and 24, what a sick tandem.
Ed Stein: Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook
I'm going with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. The key here is their longevity together. The Blackhawks have been very fortunate that Keith and Seabrook have been able to stay healthy for such a long period. Over the past nine seasons, they have missed a combined 27 regular season games. Its easy to choose Chicago's duo as they have been the best defense pairing in the league year after year, by a wide margin. They still are the best, but the gap is closing. Shea Weber and Roman Josi are an underrated duo. Both play their position well and neither of them hold off joining the rush, because they know the other one has his back. The Predators don't play in a large market, so they don't get the props they deserve.
James Tanner: Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo
I love a topic like this, but it's impossible to say for sure - I mean, I hear a lot of praise for Giordano and Brodie, but I hardly ever see any Calgary games......what I do watch a lot of is the Coyotes, and while their defense pairings have been mixed and matched a lot this year, I think that OEL and Yandle on the powerplay is one of the top 5 cool things about the NHL right now.
As a unit together 5v5 I would love to see them together for more than a few minutes at a time, but until then...
Keeping with teams I watch regularly, I really like the Brodin/ Suter combo in MN, and I really like the Muzzin/Doughty combo in LA, but to me, the best in the league is Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester.
They might not have set the world on fire yet this season, but from a pure talent perspective, I have to think they're the best 1-2 punch in the NHL.
Who do you think is the best defense pairing in the NHL? Who will be in the future? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
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