On Campus: Top NHL defensemen since 2010-11 with NCAA roots - NHL.com
|NHL.com 23 May 2020 at 10:57|
The number who made the jump from college hockey, specifically NCAA Division I programs, reached an all-time high of 32.8 percent by the 2019-20 NHL season, which was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
To celebrate the continuing influence former college players are having in the NHL, On Campus continues a series of stories looking at those former NCAA players from each position who have had the most significant impact in the League during the past 10 seasons. In the first installment, goalies were examined .
NCAA-trained defensemen who have played in the NHL since the 2010-11 NHL season are under the microscope this week, followed by a look at forwards in the final installment in two weeks.
Keith played two seasons at Michigan State University (2001-03) before becoming a pivotal part of the Blackhawks Stanley Cup championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015, making the 36-year-old an easy choice as the top former NCAA defenseman in the NHL since the start of the 2010-11 season.
Keith won the Conn Smythe Trophy voted as Stanley Cup Playoff MVP in 2015, the Norris Trophy voted as the top defenseman in the NHL in 2010 and 2014, and won an Olympic gold medal with Canada in 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi). He was named one of the 100 Greatest Players during the NHL centennial in 2017, and scored 27 points (three goals, 24 assists) in 61 games this season.
Selected in the second round (No. 54) of the 2002 NHL Draft, he has 610 points (101 goals, 509 assists) in 1,138 regular-season games and 81 points (18 goals, 63 assists) in 126 playoff games.
Suter played one season at the University of Wisconsin (2003-04) after the Predators selected him with the No. 7 pick of the 2003 NHL Draft.
He debuted in the NHL in 2005-06 and has logged big minutes throughout his 15 seasons. The 29:25 per game Suter averaged in 2013-14 is the most by any player since the NHL started tracking ice time in 1997-98. His 25:11 NHL career average ice time is third among active NHL defensemen (minimum 300 games), behind Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings (26:15) and Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks (25:45).
The 35-year-old scored 48 points (eight goals, 40 assists) in 69 games this season, and 588 points (90 goals, 498 assists) in 1,142 NHL games.
Krug played three seasons at Michigan State (2009-12) and signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent March 25, 2012.
In nine NHL seasons, the 29-year-old has developed into one of the top offensive defensemen in the League. This season, he scored 49 points (nine goals, 40 assists) in 61 games. It s his fourth season with at least 49 points, joining Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators as the only NHL defensemen with at least that many in four straight seasons.
McDonagh, who played three seasons at Wisconsin (2007-10), has been one of the NHL s top all-around defensemen since becoming a full-time player in 2011-12.
He was selected with the No. 12 pick of the 2007 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens and traded to the Rangers on June 30, 2009. He was captain of the Rangers for four seasons before being traded to the Lightning on Feb. 26, 2018.
The 30-year-old scored 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 50 games this season and 299 points (63 goals, 236 assists) in 662 NHL games.
Werenski, selected by the Blue Jackets with the No. 8 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, played two seasons at the University of Michigan (2014-16) before establishing himself as one of the top defensemen in the NHL.
The 22-year-old leads NHL defensemen this season with 20 goals, and has 41 points, the third time he s scored at least 40 in four NHL seasons.
In 300 NHL games, Werenski has 169 points (58 goals, 111 assists).
Dumoulin won the NCAA championship in 2010 and 2012 during three seasons at Boston College (2009-12).
He was selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round (No. 51) of the 2009 NHL Draft and was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Jordan Staal and others on June 22, 2012.
Dumoulin debuted in the NHL with the Penguins during the 2013-14 season and won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017.
In 28 games this season, Dumoulin scored eight points (one goal, seven assists). The 28-year-old has 82 points (11 goals, 71 assists) in 347 regular-season games and 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) in 70 playoff games.
Bieksa played four seasons at Bowling Green State University (2000-04) before joining the Canucks, who selected him in the fifth round (No. 151) of the 2001 NHL Draft.
He was traded to the Anaheim Ducks on June 30, 2015 and played his final three NHL seasons for them.
Bieksa scored 278 points (63 goals, 215 assists) in 808 regular-season games.
Parayko played three seasons at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (2012-15) after the Blues selected him in the third round (No. 86) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
During the Blues run to the Stanley Cup last season, he averaged 25:07 of ice time in 26 games, second on the Blues to defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (25:45). This season, Parayko scored 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) and averaged 23:00 in 64 games.
The 27-year-old has 159 points (39 goals, 120 assists) in 386 NHL regular-season games.
Niskanen played two seasons at the University of Minnesota Duluth (2005-07) after the Stars selected him with the No. 28 pick of the 2005 NHL Draft.
He s been a dependable NHL defenseman for 13 seasons and helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018. The 33-year-old has played on the top defense pair this season with the Flyers and has 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists) in 68 games.
Niskanen has 356 points (72 goals, 284 assists) in 949 regular-season games and 40 points (five goals, 35 assists) in 125 playoff games.
Johnson played one season at the University of Minnesota after being selected No. 1 by the St. Louis Blues in the 2006 NHL Draft. He was traded to the Avalanche on Feb. 8, 2011.