NHL Network names two Jackets among the “Top 20 Defensemen Right Now”

You’ll never guess who they are...

On Sunday, the NHL Network released their list of the Top 20 Defensemen Right Now as part of a series of countdowns running every Sunday in August and September. It should come as no surprise to fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets that both halves of our top defensive pairing made the list. Even better: both were within the top 12: Zach Werenski at #12 and Seth Jones at #6.

Here’s what NHLN’s analysts had to say:

NHL Network’s Jamison Coyle and three-time Stanley Cup champion Ken Daneyko counted down the best defensemen based on player performance over the past several seasons, with an emphasis on the 2017-2018 season. The ranking also weighted players’ projected performance in the 2018-2019 season, taking into account those returning from injury and expectant breakout seasons from young players.

On last night’s countdown, Daneyko said of Jones, “His stock has risen more than any defenseman in the NHL. His skating ability, the shot, his physicality, he’s getting to become the total package. He is the go-to man in Columbus.”

On Werenski, Daneyko added, “Here’s a kid that came in the league like a ten-year veteran. I get amazed by how he sees the ice so well. He never panics. He’s so smooth for such a young defenseman. He has a terrific wrist shot and is poised for a young guy. He has great on-ice awareness and is only going to get better.”

Here’s the full top 20:

NHL Network’s Top 20 Defensemen Right Now, 1-20:

1.     Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
2.     Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
3.     Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
4.     Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
5.     P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators
6.     Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
7.     Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
8.     John Carlson, Washington Capitals
9.     Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues
10.  John Klingberg, Dallas Stars
11.  Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets
12.  Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets
13.  Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
14.  Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild
15.  Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
16.  Torey Krug, Boston Bruins
17.  Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
18.  Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes
19.  Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins
20.  Ryan Ellis, Nashville Predators

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