NHL 500: Ranking the Top 75 Right Defensemen

October 1st, 2015 by Jonathan Willis Leave a reply »
We recently introduced a new project, the NHL 500, by looking at the game’s top 50 goaltenders. Today, we shift our focus just a little bit forward, taking in the game’s 75 best right-side defencemen. For the most part, these will be right-shooting defencemen, though a number of left-shot players who primarily appeared on the right side in 2014-15 will also be included.

What are we looking for here? We can explain it in one question: Taking into account the available evidence, what would a reasonable person expect from every player in the league in this coming year? Our analysis is primarily rooted in major-league work, which means we’re omitting new rookies. We don’t care about contracts or long-term trade value. We don’t care about what happened last year, except insofar as it predicts what will happen in the coming year.

Our process leans heavily on analytics, and involves creating a 100-point scale for every position. A grade of 50 indicates an average player at his position, with a higher total obviously being better. For the most part talent tends to cluster around the average, with elite players being relatively rare.

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