The NHL Network continued its Top 20 positional rankings with their take on the 20-best defensemen in the NHL, and two Boston Bruins made the list.
Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy was ranked sixth overall, and fellow Bruins rearguard Hampus Lindholm slotted in at No. 15.
McAvoy missed the first 13 games of this past season after offseason surgery. However, the now 25-year-old, 6-foot-1, 209-pound defenseman returned to have the second-best season of his young career. McAvoy finished the regular season with seven goals and 45 assists in 67 games and then added five assists in the Bruins’ seven-game opening-round loss in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This came after a career-high 56 points (10g, 46a) in the 2021-22 regular season and a fifth-place finish in voting for the 2022 Norris Trophy. McAvoy finished with one fifth-place vote for the 2023 Norris Trophy, as those 13 games missed and some excellent seasons for plenty of other NHL defensemen hurt his chances to be in the Top 5 voting list again.
“When I look at here, there’s a lot of Drew Doughty that I see right before he peaked and became an every-year Norris candidate,” NHL Network analyst and former NHL defenseman Thomas Hickey said. “That’s what Charlie McAvoy is doing right now, and I think that potential is there for him. My biggest thing that I want to see, and I haven’t had many grips with anyone, I want to see him play 82 games.”
McAvoy has 49 goals and 189 assists in 380 NHL games.
After earning 12 first-place votes and finishing fourth in voting for the 2023 Norris Trophy, Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm came in 15th on the NHL Network’s Top 20 Defensemen list. In his first full season with the Bruins after being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, Lindholm was an absolute beast and had his best NHL season yet, with ten goals and 43 assists in 80 games. Lindholm helped fill the void when McAvoy was out with four goals and nine assists in 13 games to start the season. Lindholm has 67 goals and 213 assists in 672 NHL games.
Here’s the entire list of NHL Network’s Top 20 Defensemen:
- Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
- Adam Fox, New York Rangers
- Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars
- Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
- Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins
- Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres
- Erik Karlsson, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Alex Pietrangelo, Vegas Golden Knights
- Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks
- Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets
- Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils
- Devon Toews, Colorado Avalanche
- Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes
- Hampus Lindholm, Boston Bruins
- Brent Burns, Carolina Hurricanes
- Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
- Brandon Montour, Florida Panthers
- Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights