By Ian Oland
Two respected hockey statisticians, Andy & Rono, revealed their lists of the top 10 offensive and defensive defensemen in the NHL. The creators of the popular NHL player stat cards named former Capital Jonas Siegenthaler as the NHL’s best defensive defenseman of the 2021-22 season.
The 24-year-old rearguard, in his first full season for the New Jersey Devils, was buoyed to the mark by his continued, exceptional penalty killing and being “excellent at denials” while playing in a tough role per AR Hockey Stats.
Here is Siegenthaler’s card. His offensive underlying stats weren’t good. But defensive stats? Excellent! And he was also great at penalty kill, which helped him in our eyes as well. Great impact on his teammates, excellent at denials and he also played in tough role. pic.twitter.com/Lgea4sX7XJ
— Andy & Rono (@ARHockeyStats) June 28, 2022
On a very bad Devils team (27-46-9), Siegenthaler posted a 51.5 shot attempts percentage and 52.7 expected goals percentage at five-on-five. When Siegenthaler was out on the ice, the Devils also owned 54.9 percent of scoring chances and 57 percent of high-danger chances at five-on-five. His most common defensive partner was Damon Severson (618:19 minutes).
Siegenthaler also led the Devils’ defense in hits (98) and was second in shot blocks (106) while being whistled for only 16 minor penalties (70th among 164 NHL defensemen who played over 1000 minutes last season at five-on-five).
Originally drafted by Washington in the second round of the 2015 NHL Draft, the Swiss defenseman asked out of DC after losing an opportunity to play due to the re-signing of Brenden Dillon and the signing of Zdeno Chara ahead of the 2020-21 season. Chara was courted by head coach Peter Laviolette over the offseason.
Siegenthaler played in only seven games for the Capitals that year, including one game where he played only 28 seconds as the team’s seventh defenseman during a March 11 matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers.
“I wanted out of Washington because I didn’t play,” Siegenthaler said in June of 2021. “Of course, that’s a bit of a shame, because I had it very well with my teammates and thought Washington as a city was cool.”
Siegenthaler was caught on the Capitals’ depth chart behind Dmitry Orlov, Dillon, and Chara and spent most of the year as the team’s seventh defenseman. Chara was a “living legend” and “took my place away from me,” Siegenthaler said. “It was difficult for [Laviolette] to tell Chara that he wouldn’t play.”
Meanwhile, AR Hockey Stats also named John Carlson as the seventh-best offensive defenseman in the league.
Today we made another TOP10 list. Now it is time for offensive defensemen. First eight defensemen on this list were pretty clear. Other two spots were a bit tougher. Roman Josi as a number one was clear choice for us. pic.twitter.com/cxie2Q1fe3
— Andy & Rono (@ARHockeyStats) June 29, 2022
Carlson had 71 points (17g, 54a) in 78 games. The 71 points were fifth-most amongst all NHL defensemen while his 17 goals ranked fourth.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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