Montreal Canadiens: Ranking The Canadian Division Team’s Defensemen

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JULY 28: Shea Weber Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JULY 28: Shea Weber Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 06: Mark Giordano (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 06: Mark Giordano (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

Calgary Flames

Mark Giordano – Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin – Chris Tanev

Juuso Valimaki – Oliver Kylington

Mark Giordano won a Norris Trophy just two seasons ago. Though he is now 37 years old, he still can handle a huge role on a team’s blue line. He scored 31 points in 60 games last season while playing in all situations and averaging nearly 24 minutes per game. Andersson has quickly moved up the depth chart and will look to take on an even more prominent role now that Brodie it in Toronto. He is a skilled two-way defenceman who played just under 20 minutes per game last season and will need to shoulder a bigger load this season, but looks more than ready to do that.

Hanifin is a terrific skater who seems to have been around forever but is still just 23 years old. He had 22 points in 70 games last season while playing 21:10 per night. At 23, he still has time to take another step forward. Playing with Chris Tanev could allow him more freedom to explore the offensive zone. Tanev is a smart, defensive blue liner who should gel quickly with a skilled sprinter like Hanifin.

Juuso Valimaki missed all of last season with injury but has been ready to get going for months now. The Flames have sky-high hopes for the young defenceman that was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft. He had 19 points in 19 Liiga games as he waited for the NHL to begin this season, so he is ready to explode out of the gate, giving the Flames tremendous depth. Oliver Kylington is a terrific skater and he has played five pro seasons, mostly in the AHL. He struggled at the NHL level last season, but has the tools to be an offensive defenceman.

Overall, this defence is ready for a deep playoff run. They have the two-way veteran who can still play in Giordano, youngsters that can handle a big role in Andersson, Hanifin and Valimaki and a steady, reliable, defensive veteran in Tanev. If Kylington takes a step forward they are just that much better. If not, he will be pushed aside by Connor Mackey or Nikita Nesterov.