Best stay-at-home d-men of the NHL

We’ve had a lot of talks here on HTR about stay-at-home d-men, with everyone having their own opinions about what is making a good defensive defenseman.

The following article is not sourced, nor statistically proven. It’s only based on the hockey games I’ve watched since 3-4 years, on the blogs/forums I read, on the talks I have with my friends, etc.

This is my top 15 of the best stay-at-home d-men of the NHL.

This list does not include Lidstrom, Chara, Pronger, or any other d-men of their kind. I consider them as offensive d-men with strong positionning and hockey sense. Therefore, they’re not considered for this list.

1. Robyn Regehr, Calgary Flames.

Regehr is really the prototype of any good stay-at-home. Big, strong, physical, quick even if he’s huge, sound positionnaly, good pokechecking, etc. At 4 millions, for what he’s bringing to the table, he’s a bargain. He’s the Flames best d-man.

2. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks.

Keith has really improved drastically over the last 2 years. He went from a depth guy to the Blackhawks best d-man in a very short time. He’s one of the fastest skater in the NHL. With a bit more offense, some people could compare him to Niedermayer or Lidstrom. He’s 2nd on the list though, because he doesn’t hit like Regehr can do.

3. Scott Hannan, Colorado Avalanche.

Scott doesn’t have the same stats as he had with the Sharks, but this is largely due to bad goaltending and playing on a team plagued with injuries year after year. Hannan is still a force on the blueline, and he can anchor any defensive unit. He was the quarterback in San Jose, and he’s still the most reliable d-man on his new team. He looks a lot like Regehr, with a little less upside.

4. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks.

See Duncan Keith. How could this guy been drafted in the 2nd round? He’s a force on the blueline and a workhorse. He’s playing up to 25 minutes a game as a 21 years old guy. It’s amazing. He’s the Sharks best stay-at-home and has a large part in their recent success. He doesn’t hit at all, but he doesn’t have to. He’s never taken out of position. He will be a key part of the Sharks for years to come.

5. Keith Ballard, Florida Panthers.

Everyone is talking about Jay Bouwmeester. If the Panthers are making the playoffs, it’s because of J-Bo. But does anybody notice the guy playing right behind him? He’s +15 this season with Florida, and was +7 last year on a young Coyotes team. Phoenix’ defense looks real slim without him in the lineup, and it shows. On the other hand, Florida is playing better than ever since Ballard arrived in Sunrise. That’s why he earned that 6 years, 4.2 millions per year contract.

6. Marc Staal, New York Rangers.

There’s a reason he was taken 12th overall in 2005. He’s a stud. Without him, look for the Rangers to be in the Tavares sweeps this year. He’s already the Rags best d-man, and looks like he’s the best of the Staal’s so far. Don’t expect him to score 10 goals, but expect him to be the real leader, night in and night out for your team.

7. Eric Brewer, St. Louis Blues.

One word. Experience. Only 29, went to the playoffs only 2 times, but it seems like he’s seen more hockey than anyone else in this league. Unfortunatly, he’s often injured, but the fact stays that anybody would like to have him to anchor their blueline. He’s big, strong, skates well, and is always well positionned. Too bad he’s playing for the Blues.

8. Kim Johnsson, Minnesota Wild.

Once considered a promising offensive d-man, he chose to work more on the defensive side of the game, and is now a defensive workhorse. He’s the one holding Minnie’s d-corp together. He’s the one Jacques Lemaire looks up to when the Wild are winning 2-1 with 5 minutes to play. He’s the one Riseborough chose to build his defense around. The Wild will take a big blow if he leaves when his contract is up.

9. Roman Hamrlik, Montreal Canadiens.

See Johnsson. 1rst pick overall in 1992, one season of 60+ points, 5 seasons of 40+ points…but now? only a stay-at-home d-man, but a heck of a one! Habs fans spend their time praising Mike Komisarek, but Roman Hamrlik is the real glue keeping this defense together. Playing in all situations, playing more than 22 minutes a game, there’s a reason Gainey signed him to that monster contract. 5.5 millions per year seems a lot for a stay-at-home, but that shows how much he can be valuable to a team.

10. Niclas Havelid, Atlanta Trashers.

Too bad he’s playing on an atrocious team. He’s a stud. Top 3 in blocked shots from 2005-2006 to 2007-2008 (Behind Anton Volchenkov and Jason Smith). He’s will probably be the d-man the most sought after on March 4th. And believe it or not, he’s +4 this year. On the Atlanta Trashers!! Yeah, exactly, he’s a rock….

11. Dan Hamhuis, Nashville Predators.

12. Nick Schultz, Minnesota Wild.

13. Willie Mitchell, Vancouver Canucks.

14. Mike Komisarek, Montreal Canadiens.

15. Anton Volchenkov, Ottawa Senators.

Were also considered, in no particular order :

Colin White, New Jersey Devils.
Cory Sarich, Calgary Flames.
Mike Commodore, Colombus Blue Jackets.
Chris Phillips, Ottawa Senators.
Brendan Witt, New York Islanders.
Bryan Allen, Florida Panthers.
Barrett Jackman, St. Louis Blues.
Zbynek Michalek, Phoenix Coyotes.
Steve Staios, Edmonton Oilers.
Derek Morris, Phoenix Coyotes.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed. I’m waiting for your comments and criticism.

Good day!

25 Responses to Best stay-at-home d-men of the NHL

  1. FlamingHomer says:

    Hopefully the Olympic team gives some of these guys consideration. They definitely need some shut down defensemen to counter the offensive talent the team will be facing.
    Good list. These guys never get enough credit.

  2. pezzz123 says:

    just imagine Regehr and Keith in a duo to counter Datsyuk, Malkin, Ovechkin and company. ouch.

  3. offside12 says:

    I cant believe you forgot Jeff Finger.

  4. flamefan20 says:

    thank you for saying regehr

    he means so much to the flames, while Dion Phaneuf gets all the highlights, regehr means a ton to the flames and whenever he isnt playing, the flames just arent the same team. i also have to agree with your other choices for the most part. well put
  5. Plekanec says:

     Once again with the "LOL".

  6. Plekanec says:

     Even though me and Pezzz don't see eye to eye, Regerh is and has been the best stay at home defenseman in the NHL the past couple years but if Volchenkov was playing with a better team he would be up there as he blocks more shots than Vesa Toskala!

  7. flamefan20 says:

    hahhahahah a shot at the leafs. i like it

  8. Bure96 says:

    Great list. I pretty much agree with everything you said, except I think Scott Hannah is overrated, and I might have Mitchell and Volchenkov cracking the top 10. Very good list though. Chara should actually be #1, but he's not a pure shutdown guy like everyone else in your list. He's not underrated like all of these guys, but is just so good.

    Since my list will pretty much be the same as yours i'm not going to write a list of for the top shutdown guys, but i'm going to write about just the best overall defenders.

    1). Zdeno Chara
    2). Nicklas Lidstrom
    3). Chris Pronger
    4). Shea Weber
    5). Mike Green
    6). Jay Bouwmeester
    7). Dan Boyle
    8). Dion Phaneuf
    9). Brian Campbell
    10). Duncan Keith


  9. flamefan20 says:

    no no no guys, finger is the most talented defenseman in the league… that has the name finger. he isnt good for much 

  10. flamefan20 says:

    personally i think bouwmester is overrated

    1. Lidstrom
    2. Chara
    3. Pronger
    4. Boyle
    5. Weber
    6. Phaneuf
    7. Green
    8. Gonchar
    9. Keith
    10. Finger… jkjkjkjk
  11. Kramer says:

    The best stay at home defenseman is Andy Wozniewski. The coach is always asking him to stay at home.

  12. offside12 says:

    Finger and White are a vicious shut down unit. THey are Jesus' blessing to the Leafs.

  13. flamefan20 says:

    hahah i actually met white

    he is a decent enough guy
    he didnt have the facial hair at the time thoo
  14. Rico420 says:


    (rimshot) (cymbal crash)

  15. physicalsap says:

    appalled that Rob Scuderi made no-one's list.  not only is he one of the best defensive d-men in the league, but he is one of the greatest bargains at $800,000.  He was a huge part of last year's success.  Scuds is so good in fact, so good, that no one knows he exists.  His play is so simple and not flashy that he is on and off the ice doing rightly doing his job and keeping the puck out of the net.  That's my definition of a great stay-at home defenseman.

  16. RossCreek says:

    Nice work pezzz. Don't necassarily agree with your list, but at least you put thought into it. I actually like most of the guys in your 11-15 better than some of your top 10, but kudos.

  17. mojo19 says:

    Interesting list. Good job overall, and I agree that Regeir is pretty amazing.

  18. davey says:

    Nice post. I (personally) wouldn't have omitted Lidstrom, Pronger, or Chara from the list. Granted- all posess the ability to put up numbers, but they're (arguably) 1,2 and 3 in their own end as well. Thumbs up on Duncan Keith- he hasn't gotten enough credit yet, but give it a year or 2 and everyone will know his name. Seabrook is as good or better in his own end for the Hawks. (not a Chi-hawk fan- but envious of these two for sure)

  19. intelligentscorpio says:

    I agree with you a 100%. Scuds is a tower on the leaky Penguins defense. Although he is a UFA, Shero will resign him, as he should. Scuderi has never played for another team and may not get the same exposure or salary going forward. IMO.

  20. FlamingHomer says:

    That's exactly what Canada needs.

  21. Bure96 says:

    Jeff Finger =P

    I used to think Bouwmeester was overrated, as he actually didn't do that much in his first 4 seasons, but this year after a slow start he's realy elevated his game. He's a stud now, and I would feel comfortable giving him 7+ million dollars, knowing how important a franchise defender is.

  22. pezzz123 says:


    this is perhaps your best one in a month lol.

  23. pezzz123 says:

    isn't seabrook more a good mobile offenseman?

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