Ranking the Most Dangerous Attacking Defensemen in the NHL

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor IApril 7, 2013

Ranking the Most Dangerous Attacking Defensemen in the NHL

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    The NHL has many talented athletes who can equally score and defend, but there are some defenders like Kris Letang and Alex Pietrangelo who love to attack on offense.

    The primary role of a defenseman is to defend; there are certain defenders who like to join the rush and jump in on the offensive attack.

    While there are some defenders who pick up a ton of points on the power play or in other situations, the following defensemen are solid skaters who like to lead rushes and "attack" because they have great instincts.

    This is not a ranking of the top offensive-defensemen, because if that were the case Shea Weber, Duncan Keith and assorted others would be here. This is looking at the best attacking defenders who uses their mobility to make plays happen.

    Some are more skilled than others, but here are the most dangerous attacking defenders in the league.

No. 14 Brian Campbell

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    Brian Campbell has been one of the NHL's top offensive defenders over the past few seasons, and he is a player who has a solid skill set. Although Campbell is getting older, he still likes to lead rushes up the ice in addition to quarterbacking the Florida Panthers' power play.

    Campbell uses his point shot to pick up a lot of his points, but he also uses his skating ability to carry the puck up the ice.

    Once Campbell is on the rush, he usually sets up his teammates with a great outlet pass, and he is explosive once he is in a position to generate offense.

No. 13 Niklas Kronwall

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    Niklas Kronwall is known more for his defensive qualities, but he does have a solid offensive game that allows him to play a huge rule for the Detroit Red Wings.

    Kronwall is a player who is great when it comes to skating with the puck, he is a skilled passer and he is a great asset on the power play.

    What makes Kronwall one of the more dangerous attacking defenders is the fact that he often can gain control of the puck after laying someone out with a huge hit.

No. 12 Ryan Suter

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    Ryan Suter has always been a solid defensive defenseman, but this year he has really improved his offensive game.

    Suter is a skilled puck-mover and skater, but this year he has looked more aggressive while trying to generate offense. 

    He has done a great job on the power play and in other offensive situations, and the Wild have really benefited from his presence in the lineup.

    During his time in Nashville, it looked like Shea Weber was the more skilled offensive defender, but that isn't the case in 2013.

No. 11 Michael Del Zotto

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    Michael Del Zotto is the New York Rangers' top offensive defenseman, and he is one of the team's top skaters.

    Del Zotto has great offensive instincts, he uses he speed well to move up the ice and he knows when to shoot and when to pass.

    Although Del Zotto's game is still developing, he is a rising star on the blue line, and he has a ton of potential.

No. 10 Andrei Markov

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    Andrei Markov has been on fire for the Montreal Canadiens this season, and it is great to see him play to his potential. In the past, injuries have really impacted Markov, but this season he has played injury free.

    Markov is a fluid skater who is great at holding onto the puck, he is great at making stretch passes and he is great while on the power play.

    Having Markov on the blue line has helped improve the Canadiens offense, because he is able to start offensive rushes and help the Habs sustain offensive pressure.

No. 9 Slava Voynov

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    Slava Voynov is a rising star on the Los Angeles Kings' blue line, and he has had an amazing offensive season to date. He has been the Kings' best defender this season, and he has been fun to watch.

    Voynov is an elusive skater who makes up for his small size by skating up and down the ice with speed and ease, and he generates most his offensive on the rush.

    He is still very young and he has a lot to learn, but he has exhibited a ton of poise and skill early on.

No. 8 Keith Yandle

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    Keith Yandle is a defender who has a ton of offensive skills, and he really is one of the Phoenix Coyotes' top players.

    Yandle is a great skater, he has an amazing shot, he can pass the puck well and he knows how to maneuver past opponents while he is on the ice.

    Due to his ability to play two-way hockey, he can effectively pick his spots and he can join the attack on the rush with ease.

No. 7 Kevin Shattenkirk

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    Kevin Shattenkirk is one of the St.Louis Blues' top defenders, and the Colorado Avalanche are probably very sorry that they let him go.

    Shattenkirk is one of the league's top skaters, he transitions from defense to offense well and he has great offensive instincts.

    On the power play, Shattenkirk really thrives because he is able to attack and create offense with ease. 

    Overall, there is a good chance he could become one of the league's top offensive defenders in a few years, because he has so much skill and potential

No. 6 Tobias Enstrom

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    Tobias Enstrom missed a great portion of the 2013 season, and that really hurt the Winnipeg Jets.

    Enstrom is an amazing skater, he has one of the league's most underrated shots and he just is a very smart player.

    Enstrom loves to capitalize on the power play, but he also likes to rush up the ice and create offensive chances for his teammates.

No. 5 Oliver Ekman-Larsson

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    The Phoenix Coyotes are extremely lucky to have two young and talented defenders on their roster, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a future star at the NHL level.

    OEL is an amazing skater, he has great instincts and hands and he really knows how to "set the table" for his teammates.

    There is a reason why the Coyotes signed him to a monster extension a few weeks ago, and that is because he is going to become their franchise defender.

No. 4 P.K. Subban

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    P.K. Subban has really taken a step forward as an offensive defenseman in 2013, and he is considered a front-runner to win the Norris Trophy.

    Not only is Subban a smart player, but he is an amazing skater who is a skilled passer and shooter.

    When Subban is on the ice, he can play a shutdown role, but he can also break out and generate some serious offense.

No. 3 Kris Letang

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    Kris Letang, or Kristopher Letang if your name is Pierre McGuire, is a defenseman who was the front-runner in the Norris Trophy race before being sidelined with an injury.

    He is a player who has really developed his skill over the years, and he is now one of the NHL's most explosive defenders.

    Letang has an outstanding shot, he is an amazing passer and he is an amazing skater, and all of these skills allow him to be one of the NHL's top attacking defenders.

No. 2 Alex Pietrangelo

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    Alex Pietrangelo has had an amazing season with the St. Louis Blues, and he is definitely one of the NHL's rising stars on the blue line.

    Pietrangelo is an amazing skater, a great passer, he has an amazing point shot and he is one of the league's smartest players.

    With all these skills in addition to his defensive qualities, Pietrangelo is one of the NHL's top offensive defenders who generates offense while transitioning from defense.

No. 1 Erik Karlsson

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    Erik Karlsson is the NHL's top offensive defender, and it is almost like Karlsson is a fourth forward on the ice.

    He is a fast skater with tons of offensive intelligence, and he knows how to pick his spots carefully. Karlsson is also a skilled passer who can get offensive rushes going from within his own zone.

    Overall, Karlsson is a defender who is always a threat to score when he is on the ice.