Let's take a look at this season's likely list of defensemen and where I think they rank in terms of a combination of (a) defensive, shut-down ability and (b) offensive spark:
1. Brent Burns ~ poised for a big bounce back year. Was on the verge of stardom 2 seasons ago then fell back last year thanks to injuries and Jacques Lemaire. Should be an all-star.
2. Kim Johnsson ~ in the last year of his deal, Kim should step up his game this year. I'm looking for many more assists this season from him before we say goodbye.
3. Nicky Schultz ~ will never be a Top 2 defenseman, but solid nonetheless. He's the everyday Eddie Guardado of the team. Signed until 2042.
4. Marek Zidlicky ~ great puck-mover and is arguably their best power play quarterback.
5. Greg Zanon ~ by all accounts this guys is a great shot-blocker, something Lemaire-coached teams always seemed to lack.
6. Shane Hnidy ~ the Sheriff is a huge character guy and won't back down. Will become a fan favorite and the X.
Others receiving votes: John Scott, Tyler Cuma.