Best Defensemen Remaining in Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs
By Joe Borek (@jjborek26)
I hope everyone is enjoying this electric Stanley Cup Playoffs. I mean, how can’t you be. In this article, I will be examining the best defensemen remaining on each team in the playoffs. We will look at one defenseman from each team plus an underdog/ step-up performer. Sorry, all for the delay in articles got busy with family stuff. So without further ado, here are the top defensemen remaining in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs as we now head into all the game sevens. The most exciting games in hockey.
Tampa Bay Lightning– This one is not an easy one to pick from. Both veteran Victor Hedman and youngster Mikhail Sergachev have been money this playoff. Then another veteran Kevin Shattenkirk has played some huge minutes as well. However, for me, it is Veteran Victor Hedman that takes the crown. He, of course, banged up his leg earlier in the playoffs and still has not missed a beat. Now he also has gotten lots of rest to heal up in between games. Hedman, this playoffs has five goals and four assists for nine total points. He always has controlled the game when he’s on the ice, and that isn’t going to change any time soon. Look for Hedman to continue his hot hand no matter if it’s against the Islanders or Flyers next round. Below Hedman can be seen controlling the ice in his highlight reel.
Underdog/ Step Up performer– Well, our step-up performer has already been mentioned above. That is no other than Kevin Shattenkirk. One not a much better name in the league since Captain Kirk is an easy nickname to go to. On top of that though, Shattenkirk has been a hell of a pick up for the Lightning who they got for a huge bargain for one year. Especially with how Shattenkirk is stepping up in these playoffs. For this postseason, Captain Kirk has been in charge of the ice, just like his St. Louis days. He has one goal and five assists for six points in this playoffs and has seemed to get his full skating legs back this season. So lookout Flyers or Islanders cause the Lightning defense is already electric, and with a top-notch Shattenkirk, it is even that more dangerous. Below you can see Shattenkirk scoring his first goal as a member of the Lightning in his debut for the team.
Philadelphia Flyers– This one is not as easy as some would think because both Philippe Myers and Ivan Provorov have been at the top of their games. For the top performer though, it would have to go to Provorov. Other than a couple of turnovers in earlier games, Provorov has been the guy who has looked sharper against the Islanders where Myers looked shaper against the Canadiens. Don’t get me wrong Myers is still playing at a good clip, and we will get back to him soon. Provorov, however, is one of the more underrated defensemen in the league and should now, especially if Flyers advance garner more respect. For this playoffs, he has three goals and five assists for eight points. After having some shaky games with turnovers earlier in the playoffs, Provorov has been sharp as he has helped propel the Flyers into a game seven. Look for him to continue his play in game seven tomorrow (Saturday) against the Islanders at 7:30. You can catch Provorov in action in the video below.
Underdog/step Up Performer– I told you we were going to get back to Myers later. Philippe Myers has more than earned the step-up performer mark. Usually, it is very hard to tell this kid is inexperienced in the playoffs at only 23 years of age. He plays with a lot of confidence and is not afraid to fire the puck on net from anywhere. Myers is going from an undrafted player to one of the now more underrated top-four defensemen in hockey. A great feat for him. Look for him to continue his stellar play, especially in a game seven. Just like his goalie Hart, Myers does not seem to be phased by the big moment. In this Stanley Cup Playoffs, Myers has three goals and one assist for four points and has also looked very good on the rush finding the open man as well. This kid was a hidden gem the Flyers found for sure, picking him up in the undrafted free agency. You can see Myers doing his thing in the video below.
New York Islanders– For the Islanders, this is about the hardest team to pick as lots of their defensemen have very similar numbers. Leddy has been playing very solid as has Pulock and Toews. Then on top of them, Pelech has been lockdown most of the time, and veteran gray beard Andy Greene also has impressed. Since, as they say, defense wins championships, I will lean Pelech here. Adam Pelech is not flashy by any stretch of the imagination. Still, he gets the job done as a lockdown defender, making himself a huge asset to have overall but especially in the playoffs. He has four assists in the playoffs thus far, adding to his stellar step up and lockdown defense. The only thing Pelech has done questionable in this playoffs is the hit on Farabee that he did not get disciplined for. Other than that, the guy has been money on defense and saved the Islanders on certain opposing attacks in this playoffs more than a few times already. Below you can see a highlight of Pelech showing off his craft.
Underdog/ Step Up Performer– Well, as you can guess, this is not an easy one either, and no matter who is picked, people will think someone was snubbed. As for my own opinion, though, I would say that Devon Toews is the step-up performer. He has contributed offensively while also making key plays defensively more than a few times. One example of this is the play on Hayes on the wrap-around where Toews got his stick on it to interfere with a Hayes scoring chance. In this playoffs, Toews has one goal and six assists for seven points. Below Toews can be seen showing off his skills.