10 Players That Could Become NHL's Next Nicklas Lidstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom has already etched his spot in NHL history as one of the best defenseman to ever play the game.
Lidstrom played all of his NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and has hoisted the Stanley Cup four times in his Hall of Fame career.
It is hard to say that anyone that plays in the NHL can match up to four Stanley Cups, eleven All-Star games and seven James Norris Trophies, but there are a few players that have the talent to become a dominant defenseman like Lidstrom is.
Here are some players that could be on their way to a very good defensive campaign and career.
Adam Larsson is only 19 years old and is playing well for the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils selected Larsson fourth overall in the most recent NHL draft and have seen major shining spots by the defenseman.
With constant comparison to Lidstrom, it is only natural that he may take over the reigns as the next great defenseman.
Standing at 6'3", Larsson seems to punish the players that decide to take him on in his defensive zone.
If he continues to improve, Larsson could be ranked among the best defenseman of all time in the NHL with Lidstrom.
Drafted third overall by the Carolina Hurricanes, Jack Johnson now finds his home in Los Angeles where he has played phenomenally for the Kings.
Johnson is mostly known through his solid international play when he began drawing the attention of hockey fans everywhere.
He played solidly for the US and remains one of the better defenseman in the league today.
Johnson’s point totals have increased from year to year during his career and with the same height as Lidstrom (6’1”), Johnson draws some similarities to the NHL great.
At only 24, Johnson has a lot of hockey left to play. If he plays his cards right and continues to improve he will find himself at the top of his class when it is all said and done.
Cam Fowler has only one year of NHL play under his belt but is already one of the Anaheim Ducks' best players.
Fowler started off hot right after he was drafted. He was elected to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game as a rookie and put up 40 points in his first season.
Fowler seems to be turning heads around the league, and though he is young (19) he has shown talent and ability beyond his age.
If Fowler can continue the pace he is on, he will not only be looking at a couple Norris Trophies but also a Hall of Fame bid.
At only 20 years old, Victor Hedman has emerged as a top defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Hedman was drafted second overall in 2009 and has been a solid option on the defensive end ever since.
His efforts helped the Lightning make it deep into the playoffs last season, and he has been getting better from year to year and is strong out of the gates this season.
Hedman is closer to Chris Pronger than Lidstrom with his 6'6" , 200-pound body, but he has a chance to be one of the better defenseman in the NHL.
If he continues on the path he is in, it looks like Hedman can turn heads and possibly be named amongst the greats when it is all said and done.
Kris Letang was drafted into a solid Pittsburgh Penguin team that already had solid defensemen.
When he was given a chance due to Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney getting injured, Letang proved his worth as a defenseman in the NHL.
He led the team after taking over as the top defenseman. He finished the year with a 10-goal, 33-point season which placed him on top of all Penguin defensemen.
Letang has no ceiling on his progress because the Penguins put their trust in his after letting Gonchar walk.
He did not let his team down as he was a starter in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.
He finished the season with 50 points and only seems to be getting better.
There is never a Maple Leafs highlight that does not feature their captain, Dion Phaneuf.
Laying big hit after big hit, Phaneuf has solidified his spot as one of the most feared defenseman in the NHL.
Known for his over the top physical play, Phaneuf is also criticized for trying to injure opponents but nonetheless dominates on the defensive end of the rink.
Also standing tall at 6'3", Phaneuf brings a powerful presence to the Maple Leafs' team and seems to be getting better each year.
Phaneuf is praised by his teammates and coaches for having very good leadership abilities along with confidence in his play.
Even though he is accused of dirty play sometimes, Phaneuf has established himself amongst the top NHL ranks at the defenseman position.
Another young gun in the NHL is Los Angeles Kings’ Drew Doughty.
Doughty was expected to perform right out of the draft, being selected second overall in 2008.
At a very young age, Doughty has shown maturity and the ability to perform both offensively and defensively.
After being named a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 2009-10, Doughty’s stock is only rising.
One of the more consistent players for the Kings and one of the best defenseman in the league, Doughty looks to be well on his way to having a very good NHL career.
An alternate captain for the Blackhawks, Keith has emerged as one of the better defenseman throughout the NHL.
In the Stanley Cup-winning year for the Blackhawks, Keith brought home the James Norris Trophy solidifying his spot as the best defenseman in the NHL.
He has only been in the league since 2003, so he still has room for improvement but has shown flashes of both offensive and defensive greatness.
Keith is always reliable in shutting down on the defensive end and can come up and establish some offensive chances as well.
The Blackhawks’ defenseman has a knack for blocking shots and does everything in his power to stay on the ice which is a very big factor for the Blackhawks' team.
At only 26 years of age, Shea Weber has the tools to become the next Lidstrom.
Weber plays for the Nashville Predators, and though he wasn’t chosen very early in the 2003 Entry draft (49th), Weber has proven himself as one of the more dominant defenseman in the league.
He became one of the prominent Predator players as early as his second season. He is a bruising hitter and has showcased that he can knock anyone off their skates.
Even in this season he showed his bruising style of play by hitting Jannik Hansen from behind, unfortunately he was hit with a league-maximum $2,500 fine.
Weber also produces on the offensive end for the Predators and seems to only be getting better from year to year.
Keith Yandle was drafted very late in the 2005 draft (105th) by the Phoenix Coyotes but has proven to be a steal for the Arizona team.
Yandle was awarded the Emile Bouchard Trophy and the Telus Trophy when he led his Moncton Wildcats to the championship of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
With the two trophies representing the best defenseman in the league, he has translated well in the NHL.
He was named to the 2011 All-Star Game as a replacement, but has showcased major ability to perform well on both ends of the ice.
Arguably one of the best players on the Coyotes, Yandle has yet to reach his peak and continues to impress both his team and the fans watching.