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Ice Hockey Defensemen

What is a defenseman? What is his/her role on an ice hockey team? Get ready to learn about defensemen in ice hockey.

Introduction

Ice hockey is a 5-on-5 game (not including the goalies). Each team has six (6) players on the ice, five (5) skaters and one (1) goalie.

Hockey Team

REMEMBER: The same five (5) skaters on an ice hockey team play both offense and defense.

Each player has a unique role to fulfill on the ice in both offensive and defensive situations.

In this chapter, we will learn about the defensemen and their roles on the ice.

Meet The Defensemen (LD/RD)

The defensemen are responsible for neutralizing offensive players in the defensive zone. They play a strong defensive game and play a major role in blocking shots and protecting the goalie. Defensemen can also play an offensive role in the attacking zone, but usually remain close to the neutral zone in case the puck changes possession.

Hockey Defenseman

Goals And Job

The defenseman's jobs on the ice will change depending on the position of the puck on the ice. However, a defenseman's core jobs are to:

  • to support the goalie with stopping the puck from entering the net
  • to intercept the puck from opposing players

Defensemen Strategy

The capable defenseman accomplishes these goals by constantly moving with the puck on the ice. If the puck is far from the defensive zone, the defenseman will move closer to the neutral zone and attacking zone. A good defenseman anticipates the movement of the puck on the ice and use his whole body to block a shot on goal.

Defensemen Playing Styles

There are three (3) main playing styles used by ice hockey defensemen:

  • Defensive
  • Offensive
  • Two-way

Defensive Defensemen

These defensemen are specialized at playing a particularly strong defensive game. While these defensemen typically don't score very often, they play a pivotal role in shutting down opposing teams forwards.

Offensive Defensemen

Offensive defensemen play a more aggressive style of play. Rather than playing a safe defensive game, offensive defensemen will typically join in on offensive rushes and try to generate scoring chances in the attacking zone.

Two-way Defensemen

Two-way defensemen are the complete package. Not only do they play well offensively, but they play well defensively as well. They are the most versatile breed of defensemen.

Key Statistics

There are few important statistics that define a good defensemen:

We'll learn more about ice hockey statistics in future tutorials.

Top NHL Defensemen Of All Time

Here are some of the best defensemen to ever play in the NHL that you should know:

  • Ray Bourque, Boston Bruins
  • Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
  • Brian Leetch, New York Rangers

2017-18 NHL Defensemen

Here are some defensemen in the NHL currently that you should know:

  • Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
  • Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
  • Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers

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