NHL Power Rankings: 15 Best Shot Blockers in the NHL

Liz BrownsteinContributor IAugust 3, 2011

NHL Power Rankings: 15 Best Shot Blockers in the NHL

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    In today’s games in the NHL, the dirty, gritty work falls onto the blue liners who don’t hesitate to sacrifice their body to block shots.

    When such a heavy responsibility falls on the goaltenders of the league, the defenders who risk their physical well being to help out their goalie between the pipes are often understated in their importance.

    The following 15 defenders are ranked by their abilities to find ways to contribute both by blocking shots, but also in other ways.

15. Andrew MacDonald

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    2010-2011 Team: New York Islanders

    Games Played: 60

    Blocked Shots: 160

    Hits: 38

    Points: 27

    Jump-starting our list is Andrew MacDonald at the 15th slot, who missed 22 games last season with two separate injuries. The first was a hand injury early in the season, and the second cut his season seven games short with a hip injury.

    Andrew MacDonald averaged 2.67 blocked shots per game played. All in all, this New York Islander defender is a strong defender on both sides of the ice and is willing to stop shots for his goalie’s sake.

14. Brett Clark

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    2010-2011 Team: Tampa Bay Lightning

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 157

    Hits: 117

    Points: 31

    With a team like the Tampa Bay Lightning that is so heavy on the offensive firepower, Brett Clark was a great change of pace on their roster with such impressive statistics defensively.

    Clark also put up 9 goals and 22 assists contributing on both ends of the ice. All in all, Brett Clark had an impressive season last year and is expected to just get better next season.

13. Anton Babchuk

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    2010-2011 Team: Carolina Hurricanes + Calgary Flames

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 156

    Hits: 19

    Points: 35

    Anton Babchuck split last season between Carolina and Calgary, and is definitely an interesting player on this list for one key reason. With 156 blocked shots, he only had 19 hits last season.

    With 11 goals, he was a high scoring defender who found other ways to keep players away from his goal tallying an impressive +14. Standing at 6’5, it’s interesting to find a player who doesn’t have an excessive number of hits, but Babchuk finds other ways to prove his worth.

12. Francois Beauchemin

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    2010-2011 Team: Toronto Maple Leafs + Anaheim Ducks

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 182

    Hits: 122

    Points: 17

    Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks is in our 12th seat with impressive high numbers in both blocked shots and hits, but struggled more offensively this season than what is expected out of him.

    Beauchemin, who spent most of the season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, was ranked 5th among all NHL players with 182 blocked shots last season.

11. Dennis Seidenberg

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    2010-2011 Team: Boston Bruins

    Games Played: 81

    Blocked Shots: 174

    Hits: 161

    Points: 32

    Dennis Seidenberg of the Championship Boston Bruin team was ranked 8th in blocked shots among all NHL players in the regular season. At age 30, he has proven his talents to five different teams in the NHL but signed a longer deal with Boston where he seems to mix well.

    In the playoffs, he was ranked 3rd with a +12 rating, proving that he is talented enough to keep shots away from his goalie, helping Tim Thomas enough to propel his team to lifting the Stanley Cup.

10. Greg Zanon

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    2010-2011 Team: Minnesota Wild

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 212

    Hits: 169

    Points: 7

    Even though Greg Zanon does not have the highest salary as a blue liner on the Minnesota Wild roster, there is a solid case to argue him as the best stay-at-home defender on their bench.

    Despite only putting up seven points last season, Zanon was ranked second in the league in blocked shots, and made his presence known to so many shooters by keeping the puck away from his goaltender.

9. Dan Girardi

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    2010-2011 Team: New York Rangers

    Games Played: 80

    Blocked Shots: 236

    Hits: 195

    Points: 31

    The blocked shot leader from last season was Dan Girardi of the NY Rangers who stopped an impressive 236 pucks from reaching the net his was helping to guard.

    Just that statistic alone is enough to land him in the top 10 shot blockers in the league, add to it that he had 31 points and 195 hits and he proved that he is a force to be reckoned with anywhere on the ice.

8. John-Michael Liles

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    2010-2011 Team: Colorado Avalanche

    Games Played: 76

    Blocked Shots: 153

    Hits: 59

    Points: 46

    John-Michael Liles has significantly fewer blocked shots, compared to players like Dan Girardi, however the high number of points earns him a spot as the eight best player known for blocking shots.

    Liles spent last season in an Avalanche jersey, but now is the third highest paid defender on the Toronto roster and could help out his new team with both his offensive and defensive abilities.

7. Toni Lydman

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    2010-2011 Team: Anaheim Ducks

    Games Played: 78

    Blocked Shots: 178

    Hits: 141

    Points: 25

    Toni Lydman has been widely considered Anaheim’s best move from the off-season leading into last season. The fact that he was ranked sixth in the league with blocked shots, and fourth with a +32 rating, is just a testament to that consideration.

    This 33-year-old Finn brought both his self-sacrificing willingness and his veteran presence to a pretty young Anaheim defense making his importance so much deeper than just the extra boosts on both ends of the game.

6. Matt Carle

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    2010-2011 Team: Philadelphia Flyers

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 157

    Hits: 51

    Points: 40

    Matt Carle of the Philadelphia Flyers has been gradually growing in each of his six seasons in the NHL, and that is a trend that isn’t likely to be broken in the upcoming years.

    At just 25 years of age, Carle broke into the top 20 in blocked shots this year landing at 17th in the league, and ended the year with a +30 rating. Coupling those statistics with his impressive 40 points, he deserves his spot at 6th on this list.

5. Mark Giordano

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    2010-2011 Team: Calgary Flames

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 193

    Hits: 140

    Points: 43

    Cracking open the top five players on this list is Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames. Giordano ended the regular season ranked 3rd in the NHL in blocked shots, and 22nd among defenders in points.

    In five seasons with the Calgary Flames, the 27-year-old blue liner has continued to increase his point production each year, so there is very little surprise why Calgary locked him down for years to come.

4. Duncan Keith

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    2010-2011 Team: Chicago Blackhawks

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 182

    Hits: 45

    Points: 45

    Duncan Keith starts our decline in blocked shots and the incline of point production for the rest of this list. Despite spending plenty of time defending his own net, including 182 blocked shots, Keith manages to contribute seven goals and 38 assists.

    Keith was a key component in Chicago’s road to the Stanley Cup victory a few seasons back, and is a solid piece of the Blackhawk defense that I personally don’t expect to be sporting any other sweater for years to come.

3. Roman Hamrlik

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    2010-2011 Team: Montreal Canadiens

    Games Played: 79

    Blocked Shots: 192

    Hits: 66

    Points: 34

    Roman Hamrlik of the Montreal Canadiens stopped enough pucks in the regular season to land him 4th in the league. Hamrlik is another player who has significantly fewer hits than expected for a player who stands at 6’2 and weighs in at 207-pounds.

    Hamrlik signed a two-year deal with the Washington Capitals, ending his four-year stint in Montreal. Joining the strong Capitals defense seems to be a great move for the 37-year-old veteran who is searching for a Cup before retirement.

2. Kimmo Timonen

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    2010-2011 Team: Philadelphia Flyers

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 175

    Hits: 96

    Points: 37

    Philadelphia Flyer, Kimmo Timonen, is our 2nd best shot blocker in the NHL when looking for more than just a body between the goalies and the shooters. At 36-years-old, the veteran defenseman ended the regular season ranked 7th in blocked shots and 34th among blue liners in points.

    Timonen has just one more season under contract with Philadelphia, and after that retirement is a possibility, however this season expectations are the same if not higher for this talented defender.

1. Brent Seabrook

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    2010-2011 Team: Chicago Blackhawks

    Games Played: 82

    Blocked Shots: 154

    Hits: 227

    Points: 48

    Brent Seabrook is our best and last player on this list of the top 15 shot blockers in the league. At just 26-years-old, this Chicago blue liner had a career year with nine goals, 39 points, totaling to 48 points.

    Not only was Seabrook ranked at 21st for shots blocked, but he also landed at 11th in NHL defenders for points. All in all, Seabrook is a player that manages to stay well rounded with impressive point, blocked shot, and hit statistics earning him our number one spot.