No. 1 – Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Alas, we reach the undisputed, irrefutable, unquestionable number one defenseman in the NHL, Victor Hedman. He dominates the 200 ft game, he has incredible mobility despite such a heft frame, and he can deliver bone-crushing hits.
Hedman is the ideal defenseman. He’s perfect. Everyone knows when he’s on the ice, and there’s only so much you can do to limit his impact in a game. He joins the rush and he shuts downplays going the other way.
Standing at 6’6″ – 245 lbs, you would think that his speed would suffer due to such a colossal size, however, that’s simply not the case. Victor Hedman can skate stride for stride with some of the fastest players in the game today and he’s not afraid to use said speed when he has an open lane.
It takes unbelievable skill to be able to play with physicality and finesse in the game of hockey. The best example of this kind of player is Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. Victor Hedman is another guy who doesn’t fall too far from the tree. The players who can achieve elite performance on the ice playing both styles of hockey are the ones you see atop the league in scoring every year.
Since 2013, Hedman has had just one season in which he didn’t register 40+ points in a season. In that same time frame, he’s been awarded the Norris (2017-18), two Stanley Cups (2019-20, 2020-21), and a Conn Smythe Trophy (2019-20). There’s no other way to say it, Victor Hedman is the best defenseman in the world.