Top 10 NHL Defensemen since the 2004-05 Lockout (#5-#1)

In continuing with the pattern, here is the second half of the Top 10 Defensemen since the 2004-05 lockout:

  1. Nicklas Lidstrom

Detroit Red Wings v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Six

Nicklas Lidstrom was undoubtedly one of the greatest defenseman of all-time, certainly of his era, renowned for his consistent dominance of the NHL and regularly being one of the best all-around defensemen. While Lidstrom dominated the league for years prior to the lockout, some of his best years were in the post-lockout era. Immediately following the lockout, Lidstrom set career highs of 64 assists and 80 points for the Red Wings, matching exactly a point-per-game, stunning results for a 35-year old. Lidstrom won his fourth Norris that year and followed it up with two more consecutive Norris wins, finishing as high as 4th in Hart voting in the 2007-08 season. Lidstrom would help the Red Wings win the Cup at the end of the season. After a two-year hiatus of declining numbers, Lidstrom came back strong, winning the Norris for one last time at the age of 40, his seventh Norris victory. Lidstrom retired in 2012 and to this day, Lidstrom is the most decorated NHL defenseman since the 2004-05 lockout.

  1. Shea Weber

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Many fans would argue that Shea Weber is the greatest defenseman of the lockout era never to win a Norris trophy. While Weber’s 28 games in 2005-06 were alright, he really burst on to the scene in 2006-07, with 17 goals and 40 points. Weber would first break the 20-goal mark in 2008-09 with 23 goals. Known for his incredibly fast slap shot, Weber has been a reliable goal scorer, scoring 14 or more goals in every season that’s been without serious injury (or his rookie season). In 2010, Weber became the captain of the Nashville Predators and responded with back-to-back seasons of finishing second in Norris voting. Weber would have a strong 2013-14 season, tying his best of 23 goals and setting a new career best of 33 assists for another career best in points at 56 points. Weber finished third in Norris voting. Weber currently has the second hardest shot ever record in an All-Star Skills competition at 108.5 MPH, second only to Zdeno Chara. Weber also leads all defenseman in goals since the lockout with 180 goals.

  1. Zdeno Chara

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The tallest player in the history of the NHL also happens to be one of the greatest defensemen of the post-lockout era. Chara was known as a good defender prior to the lockout, but he established himself as more than a one-trick pony after the lockout. Chara was a late bloomer and had his best years in his late 20s and 30s, having one of his best in the 2008-09 season at the age of 31. Chara scored a career-best 19 goals and added 31 assists for 50 points and his first Norris victory. The 2010-11 season was a great one for Chara and the Bruins, as Chara not only led the NHL with +33, but also helped captain his team to Boston’s first Stanley Cup since 1972. The 2011-12 season was another good one for Chara, resulting in a career-best 52 points and a third-place finish in Norris voting. Chara’s numbers have dipped in more recent years, but his level of play is still impressive, given that fact that he’s nearing his 40th birthday. Chara has the 2nd longest tenure as a Bruins captain, second to only Ray Bourque.

  1. Erik Karlsson

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Erik Karlsson is considered by many to be the greatest offensive defenseman since the lockout. The youngest of all the players on this list, Karlsson entered the league in the 2009-10 season. Karlsson’s first three seasons show marked improvement in each year. Karlsson went from a solid NHL defenseman, to a good top paring defenseman, and finally to a star #1 defenseman in just three short seasons. Karlsson’s big breakout season was in the 2011-12 when he scored a stunning 78 points, winning the Norris trophy. Despite injury problems in 2012-13, Karlsson would come back just as strong, scoring a career-high 21 goals in the 2014-15 season, winning his second Norris trophy. Karlsson would follow that up with an 82-point season in which he led the entire NHL in assists with 66 assists, finishing 2nd in Norris voting. At just 26 years old, Karlsson could end up ending his career as one of the most dominant offensive defenders the NHL has seen in a very long time.

  1. Duncan Keith

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Duncan Keith has been one of the most consistent and reliable defensemen in the NHL for the last 12 seasons. Like many defensemen, Keith slowly but surely grew to become the defenseman he is today. Keith began to get some Norris attention by the 2007-08 season, but wasn’t in serious contention until the 2009-10 season, when he finally won the award for his 14-goal, 69-point season. His Blackhawks also won the Stanley Cup that year as well. Keith again roared to life in the 2013-14 season with 61 points and the second Norris trophy of his career. Known for a strong two-way game, Keith is heralded for his ability to be great defensively and offensively. In 2015, Keith was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP of the playoffs during the third Stanley Cup victory of his career. Aside from the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Keith hasn’t fallen below 40 points since the 2007-08 season, a testament to his strong consistency. If you want reliable, there are few better choices than Duncan Keith. Keith is currently the leading scorer among defensemen since the lockout and only one with more than 500 points, at 501 in 896 games. Next to Lidstrom, Keith is the second most decorated defenseman of the post-lockout era.

Honourable Mention: Brian Campbell

Campbell just missed the list, but had some strong seasons after the lockout, including a 62-point season in 2007-08. In the 2011-12 season, Campbell was also the first defenseman to win the Lady Byng Trophy since Red Kelly won it in the 1953-54 season.

Honourable Mention: Sergei Zubov

Zubov didn’t play for too long after the lockout, but he was sure good when he did play. His 2005-06 season consisted of 71 points and that was followed by a 54-point season. The 2007-08 season consisted of only 46 games for Zubov, but he still managed 35 points before finally retiring in the 2008-09 season.

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