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 29: Quinn Hughes (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA – AUGUST 29: Quinn Hughes (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Vancouver Canucks

Alex Edler – Nate Schmidt

Quinn Hughes – Travis Hamonic

Olli Juolevi – Tyler Myers

Alex Edler is getting older at 34 but can still handle a big role. He scored 33 points in 59 games last season while playing 22:37 per game. Adding Nate Schmidt from the Vegas Golden Knights is going to prove to be the steal of the offseason. He can step right onto the top pair on the right side and match Edler offensively and defensively while playing against opponent’s top lines every night.

Quinn Hughes is probably the best defenceman in the division. He is just 21 years old but he is already one of the best skaters in the league and scored 53 points in 68 games last season. He should be even better this year and will be in the Norris Trophy conversation soon enough. Pairing him with a defensive specialist like Travis Hamonic allows Hughes the freedom to roam with the puck as much as he wants.

A pairing of Olli Juolevi and Tyler Myers might not be what many thought it would by now, but as a third pairing they are more than adequate. Juolevi was a much hyped defensive prospect as a 5th overall pick, but he hasn’t made his mark in the NHL yet. He was solid at the AHL level last season and should provide solid minutes in a depth role. Tyler Myers looked to be the next Zdeno Chara when he entered the league but he hasn’t quite reached those heights. He is overpaid at $6 million but should be able to play reliable defensive minutes from the third pairing and shut down the depth forwards from the opposition.

Overall, this isn’t among the best groups of defencemen in the entire league, but they have the most potential of any Canadian team. Edler and Schmidt should be able to handle the toughest minutes no problem and Hughes could score a point per game. Myers and Hamonic provide some muscle and defensive zone play and Juolevi could breakout after keeping everyone waiting a year or two longer than they anticipated.