Andy Greene is vital to Devils' success 

October, 1, 2010
10/01/10
3:54
PM ET

On Wednesday, I gave you my Top 10 list of defensemen. It caused a little stir and debate ... and that's good! Really, at the end of the day, I could have put the names of my top four guys in a hat and picked the list that way. There isn't much difference between elite guys like Chris Pronger, Drew Doughty, Nicklas Lidstrom or Duncan Keith. A GM would be absolutely thrilled to have any one of those skaters. When the time comes that vets like Pronger and Lidstrom skate away, they'll be impossible to replace. Wings GM Ken Holland often jokes (or, I should say, half-jokes) that he'll be ready to move on when Lidstrom decides to hang up the blades.

Enough about the top guys, though. I thought I'd give you a short list of five defenders who are going to be important to their respective teams this season. Again, there were a ton of guys who could have been on this list, but I'll give you five that come to mind quickly for me.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.

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