The Puck Prospectus metric GVT (goals versus threshold) allows us to compare defensemen to determine the leaders in the race for the Norris Trophy. This week Duncan Keith continues to lead the pack, but Mike Green is still within distance of the number one spot. Aside from those two, it's difficult to see anyone else ending up as the 2009-10 best overall defenseman. It's also interesting that the top ten has changed very little since the last time we looked at the ten best defensemen two months ago. Tomas Kaberle (injury), Brent Seabrook (lack of offense) and Stephane Robidas (productivity has fallen off) are now gone, replaced by the great Nicklas Lidstrom, veteran Dan Boyle and Zdeno Chara.
If you would like to read up more on Tom Awad's Relative Plus/Minus statistic, click here.
Puck Prospectus: Defensemen Power Rankings
RPM: Relative Plus/Minus
OGVT: Offensive GVT
DGVT: Defensive GVT
SGVT: Shootout GVT
GVT: Total GVT
Rank Player RPM OGVT DGVT SGVT GVT
1. Duncan Keith, D, CHI 4.1 12.6 7.5 0.0 20.1
Comment: Keith may not run away with the top GVT in the defensemen category, but he should still be considered the favorite to land the Norris Trophy at season's end. Leading Chicago with 19:44 minutes of even strength time on ice per 60 minutes, the Canadian Olympian will have to take his game even further than before with Campbell out. If anyone is up to that task, it's Keith.
2. Mike Green, D, WSH 11.1 16.2 4.1 -0.3 20.0
Comment: The 24 year old former first rounder is one of the few that made this list because of offense rather than defense. A 2.53 goals against on ice at even strength per 60 minutes is not bad at all, but it's the 4.41 goals for on ice at even strength per 60 minutes that should get everyone's attention. The 2004 draft pick will be an integral piece to Washington's Stanley Cup hopes.
3. Chris Pronger, D, PHI 23.5 9.3 7.1 0.0 16.5
Comment: If only the Philadelphia Flyers had a goaltender. Nonetheless, the former Anaheim Duck has done his part leading all Philadelphia defensemen with 1.11 points at even strength per 60 minutes and averaging 0.25 goals at even strength per 60 minutes. The lack of goaltending shouldn't prevent Pronger's name from being in the Norris Trophy discussion, but unfortunately some will take this into account and blame the high goals allowed total on the defensive players even though they really shouldn't.
4. Drew Doughty, D, LAK 15.4 9.6 6.5 0.3 16.4
Comment: Doughty is having a fantastic season facing the second most difficult competition for a Los Angeles defensemen with a QualComp of 0.038, behind only Ryan Smyth, with only seeing 2.14 goals against on ice at even strength per 60 minutes being scored on Jonathan Quick and Erik Ersberg. The 6'1" 203 lbs. defenseman also leads Kings defensemen with 1.22 points at even strength per 60 minutes (52 points total) this year.
5. Nicklas Lidstrom, D, DET 20.9 6.3 7.0 0.0 13.3
Comment: Lidstrom must be disappointed in the way his team has played this year. Despite the free agent departures last offseason, the Red Wings still expected to compete for the Stanley Cup in this year's postseason and rightfully so. However, some of the injuries Detroit faced were hard to foresee. This shouldn't take away from the fact that the future hall of famer is having another solid, though not spectacular, season with 0.97 points at even strength per 60 minutes and 43 points total.
6. Christian Ehrhoff, D, VAN 17.1 6.6 5.9 0.0 12.5
Comment: The 27 year old has had a consistently good Relative Plus/Minus all year, however with 51.6 Zone Starts (difference between offensive zone faceoffs and defensive zone faceoffs), which is second amongst Vancouver defensemen behind only Alexander Edler, he's seeing plenty of time in the oppositions zone. Not a problem as the German Olympian is an offense-first defenseman who shouldn't be relied on for shutting down the opposition in the defensive zone anyway. Ehrhoff has been getting plenty of power play time as well, with 3.02 minutes of ice time per 60 minutes on the power play, and has put it to good use with 5.75 points per 60 minutes on the power play.
7. Brian Campbell, D, CHI 10.4 5.9 5.8 0.0 11.7
Comment: Yes, the Blackhawks defenseman is tremendously overpaid. In order for Campbell to be worth his salary, he would need to produce a GVT of 19.92 per season for the remainder of his contract. That doesn't change the fact that Campbell will be missed by Chicago. Ovechkin's hit took out the Ontario native and Chicago's second highest time on ice at even strength per 60 minutes leader, averaging 18.66 minutes of play at even strength per 60. However, with a below average QualComp of -0.070, he wasn't defending the opposition's best. As long as Keith and Seabrook are healthy, the Blackhawks will be fine.
8. Dan Boyle, D, SJS -2.5 8.4 2.9 -0.4 10.9
Comment: The 33 year old has been solid in five on four situations, with 5.06 points per 60 minutes on the power play. The Sharks are in good shape and are in a battle for the top spot in the Western Conference, though good luck fighting it out with Washington for the Presidents' Trophy. The Sharks defenseman leads the team with 18:12 minutes of even strength ice time per 60 and will be an important part of San Jose's playoff run.
9. Zdeno Chara, D, BOS 11.4 4.4 6.6 -0.2 10.8
Comment: Boston has been in an endless struggle for one of the final playoff spots this year. At 6'9", the tallest player ever to play in the NHL has been one of the only consistent positives night in and night out at the TD Banknorth Garden. The Slovakian is second on Boston in blocked shots at even strength with 66 and has blocked a decent 3.3 shots at even strength per 60 minutes of play. Claude Julien also relies on Chara heavily on the penalty kill, where the Boston defenseman is first in time on ice per 60 minutes (2:72).
10. Tyler Myers, D, BUF 5.8 5.4 5.2 0.0 10.6
Comment: The Calder Trophy favorite is having a phenomenal season for a defensive rookie. Myers leads Buffalo defensemen with 1.16 points at even strength per 60 minutes (37 points total) and has 0.32 goals at even strength per 60 minutes (9 goals total) as well. The Sabres will go as far in the playoffs as Myers and Miller take them.
Andrew Rothstein is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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