Blue-Chip Blueliners: 5 Young NHL Defensemen Who Could Earn Big Contracts Soon

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Blue-Chip Blueliners: 5 Young NHL Defensemen Who Could Earn Big Contracts Soon
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Erik Karlsson is 22 years old and already has a big NHL contract. Who's Next?

With NHL free agency slowing down, it's a good time to reflect on some of the big contracts that were signed.

Sure, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed large contracts to go to the Minnesota Wild. They both signed 13-year, $98-million deals, which breaks down to $7.538 million per season.

A contract that lucrative is fairly common for big-name forwards, as it is much easier to quantify a forward's production than a defenseman's. Consider, before the 2010 offseason, each of the five largest NHL contracts were signed by forwards.

Sidney Crosby signed a 12-year, $104.4 million deal, which is $8.7 million per year. Alex Ovechkin has a 13-year, $124 million contract.

Forwards get the big deals, but this offseason, two defensemen have cashed in big.

Suter's 13-year deal with Minnesota and 22-year-old Erik Karlsson's seven-year extension with Ottawa worth $45.5 million are giving defensemen a little bit of leverage in contract negotiations.

If talented young defensemen can earn $6.5 million per year like Karlsson, we may see some young blueliners sign some big contracts in the future.

Here are five young (23 or younger) defensemen who could break out and sign big contracts soon. 

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