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Jamie McBain, Carolina Hurricanes
McBain had 27 points last year and was a staple to the Hurricanes power play. He is only 24 years old and has plenty of time to grow so that he can become an elite defenseman. His minus-7 rating and lack of consistency are what left him just off of this list.
Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers
While his plus-25 rating had him at 11th in the NHL amongst all skaters in his first full season in the NHL, McDonagh still has a lot of growing to do before he can consider himself one of the best defensemen in the league. His zero goals and 4 points performance in 20 games during the postseason displayed that while he is close, he still has a little bit to climb.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes
The 21-year-old was a breath of fresh air on the Coyotes blue line this year, and was one of the great surprises of the NHL. Ekman-Larsson will eventually be one of the better defensemen in the league, but as of now, he just misses the cut.
Nick Leddy, Chicago Blackhawks
While there will be two defensemen from the Blackhawks on this list, Nick Leddy had an excellent season accumulating 37 points in 82 games. If he finds a way to improve his minus-12 rating, he may become an elite defenseman as time goes on, but as of now he falls just short.
Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh Penguins
While his statistics are not very aesthetically pleasing, one could definitely make the argument that Orpik is the best defensive defenseman in the game. Up by one when the game is on the line, it is tough to argue that Orpik is not one of the guys you would want on the ice.