Ranking the NHL's 10 Best Defensive Pairings

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Ranking the NHL's 10 Best Defensive Pairings
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty make a formidable pairing in international hockey with each other and in the NHL with other defensive partners.

As gratifying as it is for any NHL team to have a hardware-caliber all-around defenseman, like the Montreal Canadiens have with Norris Trophy recipient P.K. Subban, it takes two reliable blueliners to form a top-notch defensive tandem.

Not that any of Subban’s recent partners have been slouches, but he was practically hopping between multiple associates in key stretches of this past season. He took even-strength shifts primarily with Josh Gorges in mid-April, then Francis Bouillon and others before transitioning to Andrei Markov by the end of the month.

It is much easier to evaluate a blue-line unit when it stays intact through at least the defining, deciding stretches of its team’s campaign, if not the vast bulk of the season.

Performances in the 2012-13 season will receive special emphasis for the purposes of these rankings, and only pairings that have the potential to work together going forward are eligible. That is, no pairing that features the likes of, for instance, Sergei Gonchar or Mark Streit will be included as they have both switched teams this summer.

On that note, here is how the league’s top 10 defensive duos stand as the NHL changes over from 2012-13 to 2013-14.

Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics for this report were found via NHL.com.

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