Predicting the 10 Best Defensive Pairings in the NHL in 2016-17

September 29th, 2016 by Allan Mitchell Leave a reply »
Teams have to rely heavily on impact defensemen to drive results in the cap-era NHL, and that usually means a top-flight defender playing the tough minutes with a talented but lesser partner. There are times when these marriages work so well the pairings last for years, but teams have a difficult time spending major dollars on two defensemen earmarked for the same minutes.

The best pairings this coming season are all somewhat similar to the Los Angeles Kings' partnership of Drew Doughty and Brayden McNabb—an impact defender and an emerging, less expensive talent as his partner. It is a way for NHL teams to spread out the quality and depth on the roster while also having value players—such as McNabb—fill vital roles.

Here are the 10 best NHL pairings for 2016-17, with a special emphasis on quality play for extreme cap value. Rankings are based on possession metrics, offensive output, current cap hit and projected roles.

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