NHL 20: The top 20 best defensemen (D) in franchise mode – Drew Doughty, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson & more

It’s easy to forget about the defensemen, so he is a reminder of the very best available.

by Remy Cabache

It is easy to get caught up celebrating offensive players in the NHL, they’re the ones with highlight reel goals, eye popping puck skills and all the attention. But there are plenty of dominating defensemen who deserve recognition.

In NHL 20, if you can play solid defense you are putting yourself at a huge advantage over your opponents. Of course, that becomes easier if you have the right skaters on the ice. To do that, you need to know who the best defensemen are.

READ MORE: The 20 best left wings

These are the best defensemen in NHL 20.

Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings (91 OVR)

Doughty is a brick wall, and there isn’t much else to say about him.

He has 93 defensive awareness, so he is always in the right spot, 92 stick checking, 91 shot blocking, 90 speed, 94 endurance, 91 offensive awareness, 94 passing and 91 slap shot power. He is a beast and can do anything you ask of him.

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning (91 OVR)

Where Doughty may have a slight edge on some technical abilities, Hedman makes up for it by being a physical force.

Still boasting 93 defensive awareness, 93 stick checking, 90 offensive awareness, 91 slap shot power, 91 passing, and 91 puck control, Hedman adds 93 strength and 90 body checking, against 88 and 85 for Doughty, respectively.

READ MORE: Top right wings (RW) in Franchise Mode

Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks (90 OVR)

Where his teammate, Brent Burns, is an elite defender with above average attacking, Karlsson is an elite attacker with elite defending.

Physcially he is great, he has 92 speed, acceleration and agility, along with 93 endurance and 86 strength. Defensively, 92 defensive awareness and 91 stick checking are amazing. However, offensively is when he shines. His puck skills are all above 94, he has 90 shot power, 89 wrist shot accuracy and 87 slap shot accuracy. He is crazy good.

Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks (90 OVR)

Burns is one of two monsters in the Sharks defensive line. He is the older of the two, but is by no means second fiddle.

READ MORE: Top 10 best Goalies

Burns is really a do-it-all player. 92 defensive awareness, 90 stick checking, 89 shot blocking, 90 body checking and 91 strength mean he is so solid at the back, and 91 passing, 91 puck control, 92 offensive awareness, 91 slap shot power, 92 wrist shot power and 88 wrist shot accuracy make him a force offensively, too.

John Carlson, Washington Capitals (89 OVR)

Carslon fits the mold of the more traditional defensemen in the NHL, and the Capitals have been reaping the rewards.

Across the board, Carlson is great if not elite. He has 90 defensive awareness, 91 stick checking and 90 shot blocking, along with 86 body checking, 88 strength, 93 offensive awareness, 91 slap shot power and 90 wrist shot power. It’s hard to find a weakness with Carlson.

Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames (89 OVR)

Giordano is just the oldest player in this top 20, but he is no slouch and remains an elite defender in NHL 20.

With 93 defensive awareness, 91 stick checking, 90 shot blocking, 89 body checking, 87 strength, 87 aggressiveness, 90 poise, it is hard to get by Giordano in any way. He is the weakest offensively, with no shooting ratings at or above 90, as with puck skills, but that doesn’t take away from his defensive value.

READ MORE: The best centers in the game

Alex Pietrangelo, St Louis Blues (89 OVR)

The heart of the defending champions’ defense, Pietrangelo offers similarly great defensive capabilities as Giordano, with a slight boost offensively.

He boasts 92 defensive awareness, 90 shot blocking, 90 stick checking, 87 body checking, 88 strength, 95 poise, and 85 aggressiveness. However, his 91 slap shot power, 90 wrist shot power, 92 passing, 90 puck control and 89 offensive awareness make him that bit more versatile than Giordano.

The top 20 defensemen in NHL 20

Player Team Age Overall
Drew Doughty Los Angeles Kings 29 91
Victor Hedman Tampa Bay Lightning 28 91
Brent Burns San Jose Sharks 34 90
Erik Karlsson San Jose Sharks 29 90
John Carlson Washington Capitals 29 89
Mark Giordano Calgary Flames 35 89
Alex Pietrangelo St Louis Blues 29 89
Morgan Reilly Toronto Maple Leafs 25 88
Ryan Suter Minnesota Wild 34 88
Roman Josi Nashville Predators 29 88
P.K. Subban New Jersey Devils 30 88
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Arizona Coyotes 28 87
Torey Krug Boston Bruins 28 87
Seth Jones Columbus Blue Jackets 24 87
John Klingberg Dallas Stars 27 87
Shea Weber Montreal Canadiens 34 87
Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins 32 87
Ryan McDonagh Tampa Bay Lightning 30 87
Dustin Byfuglien Winnipeg Jets 34 87
Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins 21 86

READ MORE: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise could be getting a revival

Remy Cabache