Thursday, November 08, 2007

Best Defenceman So Far

One sign that the NHL season is starting to have reached a meaningful number of games played is the top players taking their place at the top of the lists of best players so far in the season. Earlier this year, I picked Brian Campbell of the Buffalo Sabres as the best defenceman so far this season. While Campbell is a good defenceman who appeared in the All Star Game last year, he would be a significant surprise to win the Norris Trophy. As time passes into the season, one would expect a more probable Norris Trophy candidate to emerge as the top defenceman. This has happened. Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings has been the best defenceman in the league so far this season. Lidstrom is a very probable Norris Trophy candidate (in fact he has won it five times).

Lidstrom and Campbell both have 12 points so far this year, but defensively Lidstrom has been quite a bit better. Lidstrom has a +11 +/- rating, which is currently good for second place in the league (behind Chris Phillips of Ottawa). Currently, he is second in ice time (per game played), behind Francois Beauchemin of Anaheim. Lidstrom has been his usual powerhouse anchoring the Detroit defence.

With Lidstrom as the best defenceman so far this year and Henrik Zetterberg as the best forward so far this year it is no surprise that Detroit has been a dominant team so far leading the West Conference in the standings.

Can't complain about those choices. I will submit Andrei Markov in MontReal. He's having a Norris type year.
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