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Shuffle Up and Deal: Nicklas Lidstrom back on top

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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What's happened before the All-Star break is merely an audition; the listing of the defensemen below is how I would attack a new draft from scratch tonight. Respectful disagreement is always welcome, but bring a strong argument to the table, further the discussion, gamer. Tell how you'd adjust the list, and why you'd make the changes you prefer.

Game on.

1. Nicklas Lidstrom(notes)
2. Dustin Byfuglien(notes)
3. Kris Letang(notes)
4. Keith Yandle(notes)
5. Drew Doughty(notes)
6. Lubomir Visnovsky(notes)
7. Dan Boyle(notes)
8. Mike Green(notes)
9. James Wisniewski(notes)
10. John-Michael Liles(notes)
11. Zdeno Chara(notes)
12. Alex Goligoski(notes)
13. Duncan Keith(notes)
14. Jack Johnson(notes)
15. Shea Weber(notes)
16. Brian Rafalski(notes)
17. Christian Ehrhoff(notes)
18. Brent Burns(notes)
19. Tomas Kaberle(notes)
20. Chris Pronger(notes)

It's surprising to see Lidstrom at minus-three, and obviously you're not going to get a lot of PIMs, but everything else is in place with him. He'll finish with his best scoring season in three years; may we all age so gracefully. … Byfuglien doesn't have a point in his last 10 games, though it's a team outage as much as anything; Atlanta has just 21 scores over that period. Byfuglien is doing all he can to get the puck to the goal, firing 47 shots during that period (a crazy total for a defenseman). … Yandle absolutely deserves this slot; he's tied for the position lead in power-play assists, and he's sixth in shots. … Wisniewski's plus-minus is less of a concern now that he's safely north of the border. … Chara's only got four power-play assists, as opposed to his six PPGs. That's awfully hard to do.

21. Stephane Robidas(notes)
22. Cam Fowler(notes)
23. Erik Karlsson(notes)
24. Kevin Shattenkirk(notes)
25. Joe Corvo(notes)
26. Tobias Enstrom(notes)
27. Dennis Wideman(notes)
28. Niklas Kronwall(notes)
29. Dennis Seidenberg(notes)
30. Brian Campbell(notes)
31. Brent Seabrook(notes)
32. Dion Phaneuf(notes)
33. Alex Pietrangelo(notes)
34. Andy Greene(notes)
35. Kimmo Timonen(notes)
36. Sergei Gonchar(notes)
37. Ryan Suter(notes)
38. Mark Giordano(notes)
39. Jordan Leopold(notes)
40. Andrew MacDonald(notes)

The Blackhawks quietly have the most efficient power play in the league right now, but Campbell hasn't been invited to the party (just three power-play assists). … Fowler still has to figure out play in his own end, but he's going to get 40-50 points as a 19-year-old pup. … Shattenkirk is another high-pedigree blueliner who's hit the ice running. He went to the break on a five-game scoring streak. … Greene is off the restricted list now that the Devils have started to play quality hockey. He's got a 1-6-7 line in January and a plus-5 rating.

41. P.K. Subban(notes)
42. John Carlson(notes)
43. Kevin Bieksa(notes)
44. Grant Clitsome(notes)
45. Joni Pitkanen(notes)
46. Dan Hamhuis(notes)
47. Roman Hamrlik(notes)
48. Andrej Meszaros(notes)
49. Tyler Myers(notes)
50. Dmitry Kulikov(notes)
51. Anton Babchuk(notes)
52. Carlo Colaiacovo(notes)
53. Matt Carle(notes)
54. Jay Bouwmeester(notes)
55. Fedor Tyutin(notes)
56. Paul Martin(notes)
57. Cody Franson(notes)
58. Marc Staal(notes)
59. Toni Lydman(notes)
60. Brett Clark(notes)
61. Ed Jovanovski(notes)

Subban is finally spreading his wings, off a 3-5-8 run in January (with four power-play points). … Hamhuis and Bieksa get a nifty plus-minus kick from playing in Vancouver, but the deep Canucks blue line keeps their point total in a modest range. … Carlson has a respectable scoring line despite the fact that he's not used much on the man advantage. … Kulikov has stepped up with McCabe hurt, posting a 2-6-8 line in January (albeit six points came at even strength).

62. Erik Johnson(notes)
63. Adrian Aucoin(notes)
64. Steve Kampfer(notes)
65. Pavel Kubina(notes)
66. Jamie McBain(notes)
67. Tom Gilbert(notes)
68. Trevor Daley(notes)
69. Victor Hedman(notes)
70. Dan Girardi(notes)
71. Marc Methot(notes)
72. Jaroslav Spacek(notes)
73. Bryan McCabe(notes)
74. Eric Brewer(notes)
75. Kurtis Foster(notes)
76. Jonathan Ericsson(notes)
77. Steve Montador(notes)
78. Ian White(notes)
79. Michal Rozsival(notes)
80. Johnny Boychuk(notes)
81. Jason Demers(notes)
82. Marek Zidlicky(notes)
83. Marc-Andre Bergeron(notes)
84. Alexander Edler(notes)
85. Braydon Coburn(notes)
86. Michael Del Zotto(notes)
87. Nick Schultz(notes)
88. Derek Morris(notes)
89. Johnny Oduya(notes)

Time to put Foster on a milk carton – he's got one point in January. … Daley is another handy puck mover who scores without a lot of power-play time. … I wonder if anyone ever shouted "Cake Eater" at McBain growing up. He'll be a star in short order. … You've been an attentive audience; here's some quality music for the way out.

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Image courtesy Associated Press

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