Our NHL 18 Player Ratings show continues with the top defensemen in the NHL. We looked in a defender’s Puck Skills, Shooting, Skating, Senses, Defense and Physical abilities when deciding their overall evaluation.
1. Erik Karlsson – 91 overall
Erik Karlsson earns the #1 spot as NHL® 18’s greatest defenseman. Even though the Ottawa Senators captain is not the most physical guardian, everything else about Karlsson’s game is world-class. He’s got 5-star Puck Skills, Shooting, Skating, Sense and Defense abilities allowing him to dominate the match and drive offense and play for any team. Karlsson is a game breaker on the rear end and among the best offensive defensemen to ever play in the NHL.
2. Drew Doughty – 91 overall
Drew Doughty’s two-way play is hard to beat. Drew Doughty’s Offensive Awareness (94) enables him to control the speed of play offensively while is Defensive Awareness (94) gives him the ability to position himself correctly to shut his opponents down effortlessly.
3. Brent Burns – 90 overall
The 2017 Norris Trophy winner had a season for the ages last year. Brent Burns scored 27 goals and led the league in photos. His ability to deliver a powerful Slap Shot (92) along with a enormous Body Check (90) is a key component to this San Jose Sharks’ success.
4. Victor Hedman – 90 overall
The 6’6″ Swedish defensemen proceeds to prove he’s one of the NHL’s best blue liners. Victor Hedman’s excellent at closing down his resistance with his Shot Blocking (93), Stick Checking (93) and Body Checking (90) skills. If he has the puck, Hedman can make crisp passes or unleash a gigantic shot in the point for a goal.
5. Duncan Keith – 90 overall
The Chicago Blackhawks continue to be led from Duncan Keith on the backend. From Keith’s 5-star Puck Skills to his 5-star Defensive abilities, the defenseman continues to bring a powerful two-way game. Keith also utilizes his Acceleration (92) and Agility (92) to either shutdown rapid attackers or blow beyond forecheckers to prepare a rush.
6. Ryan Suter – 89 overall
Night in and night out, you could always count on Ryan Suter to play 25+ minutes a night of self-defense protection. His Defensive Awareness (93), Stick Checking (91) and Shot Blocking (90) are an essential component of his game, thwarting the resistance at every chance.
7. Shea Weber – 89 overall
You do not want to block a Shea Weber slap shot. Together with 95 Slap Shot Power, Weber’s bullets in the point make him a dangerous player whenever he’s on the ice. His capacity to shut down the opposition with his raw Strength (93) and Body Checking (92) abilities make him one of the toughest players to play against in hockey.
8. Kris Letang – 88 overall
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ best defenseman can do everything. While Kris Letang is much more known for his elite Puck Skills, Skating and Offensive Awareness (90), he is a superb defender who understands where to position himself and can acquire a powerful hit onto a attacking player.
9. Roman Josi – 88 overall
The smooth-skating Nashville Predators blue liner provides a powerful offensive punch from the blue line. Roman Josi’s Passing (90), Puck Control (90) and Speed (90) allow him to weave his way up the ice whilst hitting teammates to make an opportunity on the breakout.
10. Alex Pietrangelo – 88 overall
Alex Pietrangelo has Gradually ascended into stardom with the St. Louis Blues. His powerful two-way game is highlighted by his Defensive Awareness (92) as well as his 5-star Sense and Defense abilities. Pietrangelo also leads a powerful offensive game using an excellent shot and superb Death (90).
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