Brent Burns

NHL Positional Rankings: Who are the league's top defensemen?

NHL Positional Rankings: Who are the league's top defensemen?

The names at the top of the list of the NHL's best defensemen are exactly what you would expect and probably would be the top-3 in the Norris Trophy voting if it were held today.

All big, solid defensemen in the prime of their NHL careers who can play at both ends of the ice, produce offensively, play big minutes and can also play the shutdown role when they need to do.

It’s really too bad the season was paused as Capitals defenseman John Carlson was putting together a great year, but perhaps he and the rest of the NHL D-men will still get a chance to continue.

Click here to see the NHL's Top 10 defensemen right now.

NHL Positional Rankings: Ranking the league's top 10 defensemen

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NHL Positional Rankings: Ranking the league's top 10 defensemen

Look at the NHL's top five scorers this season and you'll see that it includes two pairs of teammates — Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, along with the Bruins' Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

All of those players are also forwards, but the player occupying the No. 5 spot is a defenseman: Washington's John Carlson.

The Massachusetts native has racked up 36 points so far this season, and he's already more than halfway to last year's career-high total of 70.

While the offensive numbers are eye-popping, do they add up to him being the top blueliner in the league?

Click here for Joe Haggerty's ranking of the Top 10 defensemen in the NHL right now.>>>>>

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Morning Skate: Who got left off the top 100 list?

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Morning Skate: Who got left off the top 100 list?

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while gearing up for a week chock full of Super Bowl coverage. 
 
-- USA Today goes through some of the best NHL players left off the top-100 list, with Evgeni Malkin leading the conversation. 
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Gary Lawless talks about the Winnipeg Jets having an even brighter future than the Toronto Maple Leafs. Maybe he can make an argument there, but that's pretty debatable in my eyes. 
 
-- The good, the bad and the ugly from NHL All-Star weekend, according to Toronto Sun columnist Mike Zeisberger. 
 
-- Pro Hockey Talk has Jonathan Toews with some strong words that it’s “misrepresenting our sport on a pretty huge scale” if the NHL players don’t participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics. 

 -- Here’s a great picture of Bruins legend Bobby Orr giving the old beard tug to Brent Burns on the ice during All-Star weekend. 

-- He was a late addition to the game, but Cam Atkinson ended up shining at his first NHL All-Star weekend. 

-- For something completely different: The fiery speech by David Harbour when Stranger Things took home a SAG Award was excellent, and the reaction behind him from Winona Ryder was amazing.