Top NHL Rookies To Watch in 2009-2010: Defensemen

Jack PorterCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 11:  Matt Gilroy #97 of the Boston Terriers plays defense against the Miami Red Hawks during the NCAA Men's Frozen Four Championship game on April 11, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. The Boston Terriers defeated the Miami Red Hawks 4-3 in overtime to win the national title.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Every season the NHL welcomes a new crop of rookies, these rookies are the future superstars, shutdown defensemen, and all-star goalies. With the season still agonizingly far from starting, let's take a look at some guys who could be leading the pack.


Matt Gilroy, NY Rangers

Considered by many to be the cream of the crop of the collegiate free agency pool, Gilroy will look to compete for a spot on a defense squad with only four returning parts. Gilroy, 25, could very well make the Rangers right out of camp and if he does he could establish himself as good puck moving defenseman in his freshman campaign.


Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

The second overall pick has a big responsibility waiting for him in Tampa, but at 6'6" he can fit in any big situation. Hedman will likely see big minutes alongside fellow Swede Mattias Ohlund, and will make a very strong case for the Calder Memorial Trophy.


Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

As the Senators continue to improve their back end, they'll be banking on Erik Karlsson as their future puck moving defenseman. Karlsson has massive potential and the calm Swede will begin to live up to it this season. He may not be a big minute guy right away, but he'll show that he is indeed something special.


Thomas Hickey, LA Kings

Hickey is highly-regarded in hockey circles, for his ability to contribute in the offensive zone and shut down opponents in the defensive zone. Hickey moved up on the Kings' depth charts when LA dealt defensemen Kyle Quincey and Tom Preissing for forward Ryan Smyth.

Hickey will probably fit into the fifth or sixth spot on the back end, but should still impress.


Tyler Cuma, Minnesota Wild

Cuma has sneaked under the radar in a sense, but he should get some looks as he has a shot at making the Wild as a 19 year old. Cuma may get sometime on the power play where he could really show his skills and gain some well deserved attention.


Karl Alzner, Washington Capitals

Alzner has been waiting in the wings for a couple of years but should get a shot this season as the Caps try to address their defense. Alzner will help contain the offensive threats the Caps couldn't last year.


Honorable Mentions

Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadians

Jakub Kindl, Detroit Red Wings

Dmitri Vorobiev, Toronto Maple Leafs

Nick Petrecki, San Jose Sharks