The NHL's top defenseman groups
August, 21, 2013
By Craig Custance | ESPN Insider
Bruce Bennett/Getty ImagesDuncan Keith is one of many reasons the Blackhawks have the NHL's top defenseman group.On Tuesday we explored the Top 10 forward groups in the NHL this season, but scoring alone won't win you a championship. So let's have a look at the NHL's best teams in terms of depth on defense.
Chicago's depth and mobility on defense was as big a reason the Blackhawks won a Stanley Cup as their outstanding group of forwards (which ranked second overall in those ranks). They lead off our Top 10 groups of blueliners in the NHL this season.
The strength of this defense is its skating and ability to lead Chicago's transition game. From Duncan Keith to Nick Leddy, the Blackhawks' defense is loaded with strong skaters. The addition of Johnny Oduya slotted everybody into place by solidifying their second pair, and the Blackhawks have been winning ever since.
The return of Michal Rozsival keeps the group's depth in place, although Leddy is going to have to recover from a less-than-stellar performance in the playoffs. "If Leddy is your No. 6, that's pretty good," an NHL scout said. "I don't think there will be any residual effect [from his postseason struggles] but it was certainly noticeable that his minutes were trimmed."