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The Canucks defensive unit has had an up and down season so far, but lately they've looked solid.
A perfect example of the roller coaster ride that the defence has taken us on is Kevin Bieksa. Through the first 16 games of the season, Bieksa had just three points and was minus-nine in the plus-minus category.
Fast forward over the last 20 games and he's now plus-eight and boasts 18 points.
Bieksa still looks out of place at times in his own zone, but it's encouraging for Canucks fans that he isn't getting burned on the pinch as much as he was at the start of the season and he's finally chipping on the power play as well.
The award for best defenseman on the Canucks is a toss up between Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis.
Edler's 25 points in 36 games have him on pace to eclipse Christian Ehrhoff's remarkable 50-point campaign in 2010-11. Hamhuis, on the other hand, is a rock in his own zone. After his slow start to the season, Hamhuis is back skating along side Bieksa and is an impressive plus-14 while playing against the oppositions best forwards on a nightly basis.
Keith Ballard continues to be somewhat of an enigma. He can get caught trying to do too much at times, but it's clear that he's a great skater and has the potential to be very good. Whether or not head coach Alain Vigneault ever gives him that chance is another story, as it's fairly obvious that Ballard is far from Vigneault's favourite player.
Overall, the Canucks defence has performed well above average compared to most NHL teams. They have solid depth and have been able to remain surprisingly healthy so far this season, which is quite the accomplishment considering what they went through last season.
Right now, the Canucks are tied for seventh in goals allowed, which is partly thanks to their defence core and partly thanks to their goaltenders, who I'll discuss next.
Defensemen Grade: B