Although it's tough to judge the future in sports, especially in the NHL where young players can come in and dominate at any time, I am going to attempt the "impossible". Over the course of the next ten years, I will try and predict who I think will be considered the best defensman in hockey over the course of the next 10 years.
Obviously, the pool of players I will be selecting from will only consist of current NHLers, so there is always the likely chance that another great prospect will come along and possibly clean up the awards.
Anyways, here I go:
5. Nashville Predators - Shea Weber
Weber is a good sized defensman standing tall at 6-3, 213 pounds. Weber's got arguably the best shot of any defensman in the NHL already, and has his NHL smarts develop even more, we could see more assists come off this guy's stick as well. It would certainly help if he could get some teammates who were a little bit more inept at scoring goals. On top of his offensive skills, Weber as expected is great in his own zone. His fightin ability truly makes him a do-it-all defensman. I think that it won't be long before we see this guy rise to the 'elite' level.
4. Tampa Bay Lightning - Victor Hedman
Hedman, the second overall draft pick in last year's entry draft has all the potential in the world. Hedman's size is certainly one of his advantages, especially in the defensive zone. This guy's a mammoth at 6-6 220 pounds. His reach for breaking up passes and shots will prove to be a truly valuable skill, even more so than it used to be given that the NHL is becoming a smaller man's game. Hedman, like most young defensman is still waitin on his offensive game to advance, but we've seen what his potential is with his huge blasts from the point. As he get's older, we can expect to see the offense catch up to his already excellent defense.
3. Calgary Flames - Dion Phaneuf
Phaneuf's offensive ability has already arrived, but his biggest asset I believe throughout his career will always be his bone-crushing hits. He has so many different ways that he can change the outcome of a game, but I believe they all pale in comparison to his ability to knock out an opposing player in the clutch. But that isn't to say that he doesn't have offensive skills. The guy like the previous two picks on my list has a shot from the point that makes goalies shiver.
2. Washington Capitals - Mike Green
Many of you may have expected Green to appear first on my list, but don't get me wrong, Green at second isn't an insult to his skills. Green is probably one of the best puckhandlers in the league already and a great quarterback to one of the most potent offenses in the league. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think playing with Alexander Ovechkin helped his numbers, but none the less, Green has to be considered the best offensive defensman in the league already.
1. Los Angeles Kings - Drew Doughty
Drew Doughty is a special talent. This guy as a twenty year old already has 24 points this season including 8 goals. I've had the pleasure of watching this guy in person before and he just looks like he's on a whole different level than all the other defensman on the ice. He's got incredible smarts with the puck and great instincts in the defensive zone. To this point, he is a +10 on the season, a testament to his well-rounded game. No doubt, he is a key reason why the Kings find themselves atop the Pacific Division and in line for a great next couple of years of hockey.
Chicago Blackhawks - Brent Seabrook
Atlanta Thrashers - Zach Bogosian
St. Louis Blues - Erik Johnson
Hope you guys enjoyed, post in the comments if you have any differences or comments on my list.