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Top 48 Defensemen in the VHLM (S73 Edition)


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VHLM Top 48 Defensemen (S73 EDITION)


Now, after I made a top 50 on forwards, many of you requested I do separate articles for defensemen and goalies as well and of course I would say yes to it but also I was planning on doing articles for them anyways so it is perfect. Now, you may be asking yourself the following question:


"But Laine, how did you pump this article out so fast?”


To answer that I have to give a big shout out to @Plate for sorting all of the data for this article in an excel sheet in record time. The excel sheet with the data will be linked HERE! There is a good chance that if he wasn’t kind enough to help me out with the data, I would still be surfing through all of the data. Now, onto the disclaimers:


1. The data I have used to write this article is from Games 1-282 of the S73 VHLM Season. If you are reading this at a later date and the numbers seems a bit off, that is why.


2. The data is calculated averages, so if some people on the list look a little too high or a little too low, that is probably the reason why.


3. The way I ranked all of the defensemen for this list was by using the 5 stats listed below:


1. Goals per 60

2. Assists per 60

3. Plus/Minus per 60

4. Hits per 60

5. Shots Blocked per 60


Using those averages, I then ranked all 48 players on this list in each of those categories, added up their rankings. The total of their rankings was used for the rankings of the final list.


These 5 statistics here will give you a good look at how good the player is at jumping up in the rush, in their own end and how physically they play. 


The rankings aren’t a reflection of who has the most points, they are more of rankings of how well each played it used in reference to their ice time.


Without further ado let’s jump right into the article.




48. Matt Thunder (LVA)

@Matt thunder


0.00 Goals per 60 (48th)

0.51 Assists per 60 (46th)

+0.13 Plus/Minus per 60 (31st)

3.82 Hits per 60 (29th)

1.91 Shots Blocked per 60 (44th)


Thunder has been a good depth piece on that Aces defence. He plays a very physical game and loves to stand opposing forwards up the blue line. He also plays good in his own end and gets the timely blocks. As you can see, his offensive numbers aren’t very high so judging from the data, Thunder is a pure lockdown guy. It will be interesting to see how he develops in Vegas.


47. Taizo Hasebe (MIS)



0.13 Goals per 60 (42nd)

0.32 Assists per 60 (48th)

-1.54 Plus/Minus per 60 (40th)

1.79 Hits per 60 (43rd)

4.81 Shots Blocked per 60 (8th)


Hasebe is extremely underrated for his production. Sure he doesn’t put up such good offensive numbers and isn’t very physical, but look at the shot blocking numbers. Hasebe is one of the best shot blockers in the league and it isn’t all related to luck. He frequently sizes up to the shot and if the shooter fakes, he changes his position according to where they move. I can see Hasebe developing into a lockdown defender in a few years.


46. Jackson Philliefan (OTT)



0.23 Goals per 60 (27th)

1.05 Assists per 60 (30th)

+0.64 Plus/Minus per 60 (23rd)

2.18 Hits per 60 (41st)

0.91 Shots Blocked per 60 (48th)


Philliefan has had a good statistical season in Ottawa. He has had a solid offensive campaign, putting up lots of assists and a few goals here and there. He has been solid, but he needs to improve defensively. He is a good lockdown defender, that is there but what I really want to see him do is get trained for the physical part of defense. If Philliefan learns how to stand forwards up and the blue line and how to correctly judge a shot and move to the shooting lane, he can be one of the best defenders in the league next year. Time will tell though.


45. Nathaniel N (SDM)



0.13 Goals per 60 (41st)

0.89 Assists per 60 (33rd)

+0.75 Plus/Minus per 60 (22nd)

2.57 Hits per 60 (39th)

2.66 Shots Blocked per 60 (33rd)


Nathaniel has been an interesting player this year. He has yet to develop as this season is his first in the VHLM, but so far he has been a solid player you can slot into your bottom two pairs. The talent is there as he has repeatedly shown us his playmaking ability by jumping up into the rush and his defensive style by playing great in his own zone. I see him making major strides towards superstar status next season.


44. Tee Pee E II (MEX)



0.21 Goals per 60 (28th)

1.06 Assists per 60 (29th)

-0.80 Plus/Minus per 60 (36th)

3.61 Hits per 60 (33rd)

2.60 Shots Blocked Per 60 (35th)


Tee has had a great season for Mexico. He has shown us his offensive presence, recording goals and assists on the regular. As you can see with his plus/minus and shots blocked, his defense needs a bit of work but I think with what he has shown us so far, that work can be done easily. We have also seen the physical side of his game. Tee doesn’t hit too often, but when he does it is effective and with perfect timing. I can see him being a very good player next year.


43. Jacoby Buckfast (PHI)



0.07 Goals per 60 (46th)

0.65 Assists per 60 (40th)

-0.72 Plus/Minus per 60 (34th)

4.92 Hits per 60 (21st)

4.34 Shots Blocked per 60 (11th)


Buckfast has been one of the best lockdown defenders in Philly. The Reapers have given up a lot of shots this year. Buckfast and the defence have been playing great alongside their goaltender to fight for a playoff spot. Buckfast has been playing a physical game, shown by him placing 11th in Shots Blocked and 21st in Hits. He loves standing people up at the line and is good at 1 on 1 battles. However, he isn’t very good offensively, chipping in with the odd assist here and there. If he can get his offensive game going, he can turn into a pure two-way defender. Even if he doesn’t develop the offensive side, he is still a solid player who can play on a team’s shutdown pair. It will be interesting to see the steps he takes to become a more dynamic player.


42. Victor Grachev (MIA)



0.17 Goals per 60 (33rd)

1.09 Assists per 60 (28th)

+0.63 Plus/Minus per 60 (24th)

5.27 Hits per 60 (18th)

1.72 Shots Blocked per 60 (46th)


Grachev has been a great fit into a hard-nosed Miami defense. Defensively, he isn’t quite the best at getting into the shooting lanes, but excels in other defensive aspects. For example, his signature move is standing up opposing superstars with the puck at the line and it fits well into Miami’s rock solid defense. Grachev also adds a little scoring touch every now and then with his passing and slapshot. It will be interesting to see how he plays when he jumps to the VHL next season.


41. Shawty Nananana (HOU)



0.13 Goals per 60 (42nd)

1.99 Assists per 60 (9th)

+0.13 Plus/Minus per 60 (29th)

1.79 Hits per 60 (43rd)

3.33 Shots Blocked per 60 (25th)


Shawty is a true two-way defender. He has a knack for jumping into the rush which has paid off in spades for the Bulls and their high flying offense. As a result, Shawty has turned into one of the best playmaking defenders in the game. Don’t let his playmaking ability confuse you, he is still great in his own end. He always goes down to block shots and is great at taking the puck away. I can’t wait to see him transition to the next level, but the question is when? I can see him sticking around in the VHLM next season, but he could also be called up. We won’t know until a later date.


40. Joakim Lund (SDM)



0.14 Goals per 60 (39th)

0.61 Assists per 60 (42nd)

+1.32 Plus/Minus per 60 (16th)

6.55 Hits per 60 (8th)

2.03 Shots Blocked per 60 (42nd)


Lund has been a solid defender on a surging San Diego team that is fighting for a playoff spot. He’s not the best when it comes to offense, but his defensive play has been great. Lund has been effective standing up forwards at the blue line and playing lockdown while the opponents have a power play or zone time. Lund isn’t one of those defenders who jumps up into the rush but he can still be offensive here and there. I have seen the growth in his passing game this year and if it continues this way he can become a dynamic two-way defenseman.


39. Heinz Gunnarson (HFX)



0.24 Goals per 60 (26th)

0.43 Assists per 60 (47th)

-2.31 Plus/Minus per 60 (48th)

4.81 Hits per 60 (23rd)

7.68 Shots Blocked per 60 (1st)


Gunnarson has been having a great season despite the struggles of the Halifax 21st. He has been developing his defensive skills this season and it has shown as he ranks 1st on the list in average shots blocked and 23rd in hits. His plus/minus may be last, but Halifax has only won 3 games so far this year so it is justified. I see him being a nice shutdown defender next season as his development continues.


38. Nolan McNalley (YKN)



0.17 Goals per 60 (32nd)

1.15 Assists per 60 (26th)

-1.73 Plus/Minus per 60 (42nd)

2.53 Hits per 60 (40th)

5.99 Shots Blocked per 60 (4th)


McNalley is another case just like Gunnarson, He has been coming into his own as a defensive defenseman on a below average team. He has been great at getting into the shooting lanes, ranking 4th in average shots blocked. Lately, we have seen his offensive side, more often than not chipping in with assists. It will be interesting to see how he develops with the Rush.


37. Kasper Kankkunen (LVA)



0.44 Goals per 60 (16th)

1.15 Assists per 60 (27th)

+0.13 Plus/Minus per 60 (28th)

3.48 Hits per 60 (35th)

2.56 Shots Blocked per 60 (38th)


Kankkunen is the perfect offensive defenseman. He still stays on task in his own zone, as shown by his hitting and defensive play during his shifts, but he does a great job jumping up on the rush. He can use his speed to quickly get back if things go wrong when he jumps up and we have seen strides in his defensive game. It will be interesting to see where Kankkunen will go and how he will develop.


36. Chase Crosby (LVA)



0.19 Goal per 60 (30th)

0.70 Assists per 60 (38th)

+1.65 Plus/Minus per 60 (12th)

4.56 Hits per 60 (27th)

2.59 Shots Blocked per 60 (36th)


Crosby’s year so far has been interesting. He hasn’t excelled offensively yet and he’s been good at playing physically in his own zone. The one part of his game I have seen the most growth is his lockdown game. In the first game for the Aces this season, he couldn’t lockdown any of their wingers. Since then, he has been working and it is now paying off in spades for him. He can lock up some of the top forwards now. It will be interesting to see how Crosby can take his offensive game to the next level and become a true two-way defender.


35. Mattymell (YKN)



0.18 Goals per 60 (31st)

0.78 Assists per 60 (36th)

-1.99 Plus/Minus per 60 (44th)

4.58 Hits per 60 (26th)

5.73 Shots Blocked per 60 (5th)


Mell has been another solid defender for the Yukon Rush. He is one of the league’s best shot blockers, ranking 5th in average shots blocked. He needs to improve on his lockdown and physical play, but he has the work ethic to get it done. His offensive game has also seen growth, as he has been recording more points lately. It will be fun to see how he adjusts to the VHL once he gets up there.


34. Eoin Byrne (YKN)



0.10 Goals per 60 (45th)

0.67 Assists per 60 (39th)

+1.72 Plus/Minus per 60 (7th)

2.01 Hits per 60 (42nd)

4.69 Shots Blocked per 60 (9th)


After coming over in a trade from the Miami Marauders, Eoin Byrne has looked great in a Yukon Rush uniform. He has been a stable on a hard-nosed lockdown pairing. He ranks top 10 in both plus/minus and shots blocked. We have seen flashes of his offensive game and what he can do. His development offensively will be important, as he can make the jump to be a true two-way defender. It will be fun to see what happens with him in Yukon.


33. Erik Hjalmarsson (SSK)



0.16 Goals per 60 (37th)

1.82 Assists per 60 (13th)

+1.66 Plus/Minus per 60 (10th)

3.00 Hits per 60 (36th)

2.30 Shots Blocked per 60 (41st)


Hjalmarsson has been great this season on a Saskatoon team looking to go back to back. He isn’t the best when playing physical and shot blocking, but he is great at locking down opposing forwards. He ranks 10th in plus/minus per 60 and has been a force in the defensive zone. His offensive game has improved too. He frequently jumps up into the rush and makes great plays to the net, feeding his teammates the puck. It will be interesting to see how he can carry these skills to the VHL level.


32. The Blob (HOU)



0.11 Goals per 60 (44th)

0.65 Assists per 60 (41st)

+0.11 Plus/Minus per 60 (31st)

12.65 Hits per 60 (1st)

3.68 Shots Blocked per 60 (17th)


Blob has been the most physical defender when it comes to standing players up at the line, ranking 1st in hits per 60 with 12.65. He also ranked 17th in shots blocked per 60, solidifying his role as one of Houston’s shutdown guys. His offensive game has yet to blossom, but with the way he has developed so far this year rounding his defensive play, I see him becoming a two-way defender really soon.


31. Rick Osman (HFX)



0.26 Goals per 60 (24th)

1.16 Assists per 60 (25th)

-2.05 Plus/Minus per 60 (46th)

4.63 Hits per 60 (25th)

4.15 Shots Blocked per 60 (14th)


Osman has been an interesting case with Halifax. His defensive abilities are there physically, recording lots of hits and shot blocks and frequently standing players up at the line, but he needs to work on his lockdown abilities. If he can get good with lockdown, he is a dynamic player. Looking at his offensive production, it is very good. He frequently jumps up in the rush and often chips in with goals and assists on the regular. I can’t wait to see him take the next steps.


30. Ben Mills (MIS)

@Ben Mills


0.17 Goals per 60 (34th)

1.31 Assists per 60 (22nd)

-0.51 Plus/Minus per 60 (33rd)

3.76 Hits per 60 (30th)

4.16 Shots Blocked per 60 (13th)


Mills has been a great defender for Mississauga and is a natural when it comes to blocking shots. His lockdown ability and physicality have improved since the start of the season, but they will need to develop more if he wants to succeed at the VHL level. His offensive ability is there too as he frequently uses his playmaking ability to set up his teammates with good chances. It will be fun to watch his development through the rest of the season.


29. Tim Horton (MIS)



0.16 Goals per 60 (36th)

0.82 Assists per 60 (35th)

-2.13 Plus/MInus per 60 (47th)

6.64 Hits per 60 (7th)

5.49 Blocked Shots per 60 (6th)


Horton has been the perfect example of a pure physical defender, ranking top 10 in both hits per 60 and shots blocked per 60. His offensive production has been hit and miss, but when it is there, he is very good. His glaring flaw so far has been his lockdown game. If he can fix this, he can turn into a complete player in the defensive zone along with being an offensive threat. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.


28. Kate Upton (MEX)



0.20 Goals per 60 (29th)

1.17 Assists per 60 (23rd)

-1.69 Plus/Minus per 60 (41st)

5.40 Hits per 60 (17th)

3.58 Shots Blocked per 60 (20th)


Upton has been an interesting case to say the least. The offensive production is there, ranking top 30 in both goals and assists. The physical play is there too, being top 20 in both hits and shots blocked. The real question is, can Upton develop into a lockdown defender. If she can, she will turn into a complete two-way defender. I personally see her doing it. Since joining Mexico City, she has been one of the hardest working players on the entire team.


27. Ziarie Anigbogu (MIN)



0.47 Goals per 60 (15th)

1.73 Assists per 60 (14th)

+1.10 Plus/Minus per 60 (19th)

0.89 Hits per 60 (48th)

2.73 Shots Blocked per 60 (32nd)


Anigbogu has been a solid defender for the Storm. He isn’t physical, ranking 48th in hits per 60, but he is solid at locking down opponents. His biggest strength has to be his offensive instinct. He ranks top 15 among defensemen on this list in both goals and assists per 60. He frequently jumps up into the rush and is a good two-way compliment to any lineup. I can’t wait to see him jump to the VHL.


26. Roseann Petal (LVA)



0.43 Goals per 60 (17th)

1.54 Assists per 60 (16th)

+0.00 Plus/Minus per 60 (32nd)

3.57 Hits per 60 (34th)

2.82 Shots Blocked per 60 (28th)


Petal has been one of the best defenders on the ice for the Aces all season, and not just defensively. Petal plays a mix of physical play and lockdown defence. It has worked, ranking around the top 30 in most defensive categories. Petal also plays great in the offensive zone, ranking top 20 in both goals and assists per 60. It will be fun to see the development that Petal will go through over the next few seasons.


25. Teriyaki Chicken (MIS)



0.73 Goals per 60 (5th)

0.89 Assists per 60 (34th)

-0.78 Plus/Minus per 60 (35th)

3.75 Hits per 60 (31st)

3.49 Shots Blocked per 60 (21st)


Chicken has been playing good for the Hounds this year. The most notable improvement has been in his physical play. He has been blocking more shots than ever before and this didn’t damage his already impressive lockdown and hitting skills. His offensive skills have picked up too. He chips in with the odd assist, but he has a booming slapshot which frequently finds a way past opposing goaltenders.


24. Joe Jacks (HFX)



0.63 Goals per 60 (8th)

0.54 Assists per 60 (43rd)

-1.95 Plus/Minus per 60 (43rd)

5.26 Hits per 60 (19th)

4.43 Shots Blocked per 60 (10th)


Jacks has been a force for the 21st on the defensive size of the ice. He ranks top 20 in both hits and shots blocked per 60. His lockdown game can use a bit of work, but he has the physical aspect down. His offensive production is mostly goals, coming from his booming slapshot. He often chips in with assists every now and then though. It will be interesting to see how good Jacks will get after the dispersal draft.


23. Lester Green (SDM)



0.26 Goals per 60 (25th)

0.99 Assists per 60 (31st)

+0.57 Plus/Minus per 60 (25th)

6.37 Hits per 60 (9th)

2.77 Shots Blocked per 60 (31st)


Green has been a solid defender for the Marlins. We have witnessed strides in his lockdown and physical game this season as he moves more towards a two-way defender. His shot blocking numbers are down, but his hits are up and when you take the puck away at the line, you don’t need to block shots. It will be interesting to watch his development continue this season.


22. Breeze Ladrian (MEX)



0.14 Goals per 60 (40th)

1.16 Assists per 60 (24th)

-0.82 Plus/Minus per 60 (37th)

6.06 Hits per 60 (11th)

5.04 Shots Blocked per 60 (7th)


The best defenseman in Mexico City this season has been Ladrian. We have seen growth in his physical game this season. He has added the physical aspect in terms of shot blocking and hitting at the blue line. His playmaking game has taken strides too. Ladrian frequently hops in the rush and will feed the puck to the forwards, giving them great opportunities to score.


21. Emi Rune (SSK)



0.31 Goals per 60 (21st)

2.08 Assists per 60 (8th)

+0.42 Plus/Minus per 60 (26th)

1.14 Hits per 60 (47th)

3.90 Shots Blocked per 60 (16th)


Rune has been a staple on the defensive side of the puck for the Wild this season. She still is one of the best lockdown defenders but the biggest defensive stride I have seen from her this season is her shot blocking. She’s always trying to get into the shooting lanes and it is noticeable on the ice. Her offensive game has also picked up, becoming a playmaker in the offensive zone. Rune is expected to stay in the VHLM next season, but it will be interesting to see if her VHL wants her up once she is drafted.


20. Curtis Rockwall (PHI)



0.31 Goals per 60 (22nd)

0.44 Assists per 60 (46th)

-1.37 Plus/Minus per 60 (39th)

7.98 Hits per 60 (4th)

6.43 Shots Blocked per 60 (3rd)


Kicking off our top 20 defenders is Curtis Rockwall of the Philadelphia Reapers. With the insane number of shots that the Reapers have been subjected to, their defense has been blocking a lot of them. Rockwall is a physical defender, playing a style which involves standing up players at the line and getting in the shooting lanes. His lockdown skills can use some work, but he looks like he is on his way to being a staple shutdown defender.


19. Gavin Harris (PHI)



0.07 Goals per 60 (47th)

1.53 Assists per 60 (17th)

-2.00 Plus/Minus per 60 (45th)

12.12 Hits per 60 (2nd)

6.53 Shots Blocked per 60 (2nd)


Paired up with the recently mentioned Rockwall is Gavin Harris. Harris plays the exact same physical style as Rockwall, but puts up offensive numbers a lot more frequently. His assists keep piling up when he jumps up into the rush. It will be interesting to see if he becomes more offensive or if he becomes a stay at home. Becoming a complete two-way defender would be difficult for Harris, but I think he can do it, especially with the Reapers coaching staff’s reputation of grooming some VHL greats.


18. Kirishima Wakaro (MIA)



0.17 Goals per 60 (35th)

1.94 Assists per 60 (10th)

+1.35 Plus/Minus per 60 (15th)

5.49 Hits per 60 (16th)

2.62 Shots Blocked per 60 (34th)


Wakaro has been a stable defender for the Marauders since coming over from Mexico City. He has been putting up solid offensive numbers all season, ranking at 10th in assists per 60 among defensemen. His defensive game has taken strides too, becoming one of the best two-way defenders in the VHLM. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the VHL when the time comes.


17. Han Jae Kuk (SDM)



0.35 Goals per 60 (20th)

2.71 Assists per 60 (3rd)

+0.90 Plus/Minus per 60 (20th)

3.71 Hits per 60 (32nd)

2.81 Shots Blocked per 60 (29th)


Kuk has been one of the best offensive defenders in the league. His ability to set up teammates for goals and use his booming slapshot to put the puck in the net himself is amazing for a defenseman. He is no slouch defensively either, becoming one of the league’s best shutdown defenders. It will be interesting to see him perform at the next level with the quick development he has experienced so far.


16. Gabriel Johnson (HOU)



0.61 Goals per 60 (9th)

0.71 Assists per 60 (37th)

+2.74 Plus/Minus per 60 (1st)

6.19 Hits per 60 (10th)

1.42 Shots Blocked per 60 (47th)


Johnson has quickly asserted himself as one of the best lockdown defensemen in the league. He plays a physical game, ranking 10th in hits per 60 as he frequently stops opposing forwards at the blue line. His offensive game has taken big lengths too. He frequently puts assists on the board but is also a goal scoring defender, possessing a booming one timer and wrist shot. I can’t wait to see how he takes his game to the next level in the Founder’s Cup Playoffs.


15. Jiggly Gumballs (OTT)



0.70 Goals per 60 (6th)

2.24 Assists per 60 (6th)

+1.54 Plus/Minus per 60 (14th)

2.81 Hits per 60 (37th)

2.54 Shots Blocked per 60 (40th)


Gumballs has been a solid two-way defender for the Lynx all season long. His lockdown game has taken major strides from last year, ranking 14th in plus/minus. He doesn’t play very physical, but his offensive game has also shown growth, ranking 6th among defensemen in both goals and assists per 60. It will be interesting to see when he heads off to the Los Angeles Stars as Gumballs is nearing the VHLM’s TPE cap.


14. Hunter Harrison (MIN)

@I'll change this later


0.27 Goals per 60 (23rd)

1.43 Assists per 60 (19th)

+2.39 Plus/Minus per 60 (3rd)

5.74 Hits per 60 (15th)

2.02 Shots blocked per 60 (43rd)


Harrison has been having a great season on the Storm. He puts goals and assists on the board on the regular. His lockdown game has also seen improving, jumping up to the 3rd best in the league in plus/minus per 60 amongst defensemen. It will be interesting to see Harrison suit up for the Storm heading into the playoffs and the slow but noticeable development in his shot blocking.


13. Matty Socks (MIA)



1.21 Goals per 60 (2nd)

2.27 Assists per 60 (5th)

+1.95 Plus/Minus per 60 (5th)

1.27 Hits per 60 (45th)

1.90 Shots Blocked per 60 (45th)


Socks has been one of the best two-way defenders in the league this season, ranking top 5 in goals, assists and plus/minus per 60. Socks only falls outside of the top 10 because he does not play a very physical game. His shot blocking has seen spades of improvement. Even though he isn’t recording a lot of shot blocks, he gets in the lanes the right way and with Miami having the best defense in the league, they do not give up a lot of shots. Socks will be a player to watch as he jumps to the VHL next season.


12. Agapov Askarov (SSK)



0.47 Goals per 60 (14th)

0.52 Assists per 60 (44th)

+1.66 Plus/Minus per 60 (11th)

5.91 Hits per 60 (38th)

3.60 Shots Blocked per 60 (23rd)


Askarov has been a great player for the Wild all season long. The physical side of his game has seen minimal growth, but it is still noticeable. The biggest growth has come in his lockdown game. He continues to frustrate opposing forwards every time he is on the ice. He also comes with an offensive side this year, ranking 14th amongst defensemen goals per 60. It will be interesting to see him help Saskatoon push for a second straight Founder’s Cup title.


11. Mikeal Keef (OTT)



0.70 Goals per 60 (7th)

1.57 Assists per 60 (15th)

+1.18 Plus/Minus per 60 (17th)

2.66 Hits per 60 (38th)

3.40 Shots Blocked per 60 (23rd)


Just missing out on our top 10 is Mikeal Keef of the Ottawa Lynx. Keef has had a season to remember, both offensively and defensively. If you were to watch bits of film of his defensive play last year versus this year, it is like night and day. The growth there is extremely noticeable. He has also turned into a two-way threat, becoming a regular on the scoresheet for the Lynx. It will be interesting to see how he will slot into the Lynx defensive core come playoff time.


10. Fat Palloon (YKN)



0.41 Goals per 60 (19th)

1.89 Assists per 60 (11th)

-0.86 Plus/Minus per 60 (38th)

7.39 Hits per 60 (5th)

3.34 Shots Blocked per 60 (18th)


Kicking off the top 10 is Fat Palloon of the Yukon Rush. Despite Yukon having an abysmal season and dropping his plus/minus rating to 38th in the league, he has had a great season and ranks in the top 20 for goals, assists, hits and shot blocks per 60. His physicality is the most noticeable part of his game this year, different from his more conservative style last year.


9. Zachariah Kisslinger (OTT)



0.41 Goals per 60 (18th)

0.89 Assists per 60 (32nd)

+0.89 Plus/Minus per 60 (21st)

7.00 Hits per 60 (6th)

3.64 Shots Blocked per 60 (18th)


Kisslinger is still a young defender with a lot of room to grow, but we saw a lot of growth in both the defensive and physical aspects of his game. He now ranks top 20 in shots blocked and just missed the top 5 for hits, ranking at 6th. He was a pure offensive defender coming into the league and has now transitioned seamlessly into a two-way defender. It will be interesting to see how his growth continues from here as his offensive game hasn’t slowed down.


8. Shawn Glade III (MIN)



0.49 Goals per 60 (13th)

1.53 Assists per 60 (18th)

+1.14 Plus/Minus per 60 (18th)

5.94 Hits per 60 (13th)

3.11 Shots Blocked per 60 (27th)


Glade is a complete defenseman at the VHLM level, ranking 30 in shots blocked and top 20 in goals, assists, plus/minus and hits. He plays that grindy style that Minnesota is known for and it has paid off for him. He still has a lot of room to grow and it will be interesting to see how his coaches will use him at the VHL level when the time comes as he is very versatile.


7. Lucifer Olivier Leveque (SDM)



1.00 Goals per 60 (3rd)

2.51 Assists per 60 (4th)

+1.71 Plus/Minus per 60 (9th)

1.25 Hits per 60 (46th)

3.11 Shots Blocked per 60 (26th)


Leveque has been a complete force offensively and defensively. He ranks in the top 5 among defensemen in both goals and assists per 60. He also ranks top 10 in plus/minus, solidifying his reputation for being a shutdown guy who can also pile points on the board when the offensive opportunity pops up. It will be interesting to see if he can lead San Diego on a long playoff run.


6. Markus Schauer (HOU)



0.58 Goals per 60 (11th)

2.97 Assists per 60 (2nd)

+1.59 Plus/Minus per 60 (13th)

4.82 Hits per 60 (22nd)

2.54 Shots blocked per 60 (39th)


Just like Leveque who we just mentioned, Schauer has been all over the ice and is very effective in all 3 zones. He still has his offensive game, ranking 2nd in assists and 11th in goals, but his defensive and physical aspects have seen growth. He has become one of RJ’s staple two-way guys in Houston. It will be fun to see where he goes in the VHL. I’m sure he will be a great player wherever he goes.


5. Gabriel Akerstrom (LVA)



0.14 Goals per 60 (38th)

2.23 Assists per 60 (7th)

+2.09 Plus/Minus per 60 (4th)

4.68 Hits per 60 (24th)

4.24 Shots Blocked per 60 (12th)


Akerstrom has been an absolute force for the Aces this season. He isn’t a noted goal scorer, but he frequently chips in production with his excellent playmaking ability. His physical game has seen growth from last year, but where the real growth is shown is by the development of his lockdown coverage. His game from the beginning of the season till now in the defensive zone looks like night and day. If I were a VHL team looking at him, I would be excited to see what he can do at the next level.


4. Bobby Wyman (SSK)



0.57 Goals per 60 (12th)

1.40 Assists per 60 (20th)

+0.39 Plus/Minus per 60 (27th)

11.34 Hits per 60 (3rd)

3.94 Shots Blocked per 60 (15th)


Wyman just missed out of the top 3 on our list, finishing in 4th. However, he is still a top defender in the league. His physical game has seen development as he ranks 3rd in hits and 15th in shot blocks per 60. His lockdown coverage has seen noticeable improvement but I think he needs a little bit more growth there to become a two-way defender for a VHL team. His offensive game also made major strides, ranking top 20 in both goals and assists per 60. It will be interesting to see how he is used in a VHL lineup and he has the work ethic to become a complete player.


3. Riley Knight Gee (HOU)



1.35 Goals per 60 (1st)

3.26 Assists per 60 (1st)

+1.91 Plus/Minus per 60 (6th)

4.39 Hits per 60 (28th)

2.57 Shots Blocked per 60 (37th)


The current VHLM points leader ranks at 3rd. Gee has been an offensive force this season, becoming the staple back end setup guy that Houston’s power play desperately needed in previous years. He ranks 1st in goals and assists which is impressive and he is also a good shutdown guy too, ranking 6th in plus/minus. The only thing his game really lacks is physicality and you don’t need to be physical to be successful. Gee is one of the top defensemen in the VHLM and I can’t wait to the him in a VHL uniform next season.


2. Wolf Stansson (MIA)



0.59 Goals per 60 (10th)

1.88 Assists per 60 (12th)

+1.72 Plus/Minus per 60 (8th)

5.97 Hits per 60 (12th)

2.80 Shots Blocked per 60 (30th)


Stansson just missed out on the number one spot, but he is still a great defender. The ultimate two-way guy that fit into any lineup. He ranked 10th in goals and 12th in assists and has been a regular on the scoresheet in Miami. He ranks 8th in plus/minus and plays a very grindy shutdown style which proves effective against the small and elusive forwards in today’s game. He is physical at the line and ranks 12th in hits. He ranks 30th in shots blocked but just like Socks, his form is there. He only ranks low because Miami is good at keeping the number of shots opposing teams take extremely low. Stansson will grow into a staple defender for a VHL club and I can’t wait to see what he turns into once he makes the jump.


1. Bo Burrow (MIN)

@Walter Fizz


0.77 Goals per 60 (4th)

1.37 Assists per 60 (21st)

+2.46 Plus/Minus per 60 (2nd)

5.03 Hits per 60 (20th)

3.45 Shots Blocked per 60 (22nd)


Bo Burrow of the Minnesota Storm is the number one defender in the VHLM based on the rankings! He sits around the middle of the pack in terms of his physical play, but the skills portion is where he really stands out. He has become a regular on the scoresheet for the Storm, chipping in with assists and goals all the time. Defensively, his lockdown game continues to frustrate opposing forwards and usually he prevents a clean entry, leading to his shots blocked falling. I can’t wait to see Burrow make the jump to the VHL and I think he will be a great addition to any VHL roster.



(6295 words, 32044 characters)

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Giant article, I like the work that you have put in this. I like how you used the pictures of the teams, so it is easier to understand what team these players are from. I love 2000+ words articles, so it is a + in my book. I don't support your calculations in your rankings, but it is your ranking and you do it as you want. I didn't like how you bolded 1st word of every text. It took my attention away from the text, so maybe sometimes try to do something else.

Good job, 10/10.

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