NHL: Seven teams are led by defensemen

A pretty crazy trend has emerged this season in the National Hockey League, with as many as seven defensemen climbing to the top of their team’s points after just over a month.

It’s also the point guard who amassed the most points (30) in the entire Bettman circle, Quinn Hughes, of the Vancouver Canucks. Here are the defenders who have stood out the most so far:

Quinn Hughes – Vancouver Canucks

To his credit, Quinn isn’t necessarily the Hughes brother everyone expected this season to be. Jack had an incredible start to the season before getting injured, and Luke impressed in his debut season with the New Jersey Devils. Except that it is the oldest that reaches almost unprecedented heights. No defenseman has been the first player to score 30 points since the legendary Bobby Orr in 1974-75. The former Boston Bruins had 135 points that year. Hughes has already equaled his personal best of eight goals.

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Cale Makar – Colorado Avalanche

On a team as talented as the Avalanche, it’s surprising to see a defenseman at the top of the scoring charts, but Cale Makar isn’t just any defenseman. The 24-year-old Albertan makes all the right moves for his team, averaging more than four minutes on the power play and more than three on the penalty kill. Even after 17 games, he has 27 points, including 23 assists, as much as Mikko Rantanen. Nathan MacKinnon is not far behind with 22 points.

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Vince Dunn – Seattle Kraken

Vince Dunn is used to being one of the Kraken’s main offensive weapons, finishing with 64 points last season, six fewer than point guard Jared McCann. The Ontarian has 18 points in 20 games, three more than Jaden Schwartz and Oliver Bjorkstrand. If the Kraken remains in the middle of the pack in the Pacific, it’s largely thanks to Dunn’s performance.

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Travis Sanheim – Philadelphia Flyers

We don’t know what happened to Travis Sanheim this fall, but he quickly put himself in position to eclipse his 23 points from 2022-23. The Manitoba defenseman leads the Flyers with 16 points in 18 games, his best total on the campaign is 35 points. Philadelphia’s offense ranks 11th in the National League with 60 runs scored, but the restarts Sanheim has made seem especially rewarding. Here’s one putting his new $6.25 million salary to good use.

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Rasmus Dahlin – Buffalo Sabres

The season is still young, but certainly better was expected from the Sabers at the beginning of the campaign. Tage Thompson was injured, and no forward stood out in the line-up, so Rasmus Dahlin is in first place in points after 18 games. The Swede sails at the same pace as last season, with 15 points. He is followed by Jeff Skinner, JJ Peterka and Casey Mittelstadt with 14 points.

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Noah Dobson – New York Islanders

Truth be told, the Islanders don’t offer much offense, with 40 goals for and 56 against. Like the Montreal Canadiens, they have only five players who have surpassed the 10-point plateau. Defenseman Noah Dobson and forward Mathew Barzal lead the troops with 15 points each. The Prince Edward Island native is a reliable contributor to the offense, with 100 total points over the last two seasons.

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Ivan Provorov – Columbus Blue Jackets

In Columbus, newcomer Ivan Provorov leads the Jackets’ listless offense. The former Flyers have 12 points in 19 games, 18 fewer than Quinn Hughes. The Russian still dominates his team, and the second leading scorer is also a blue line specialist: Zach Werenski. Having missed most of the 2022-2023 season, the American is doing well and has 11 points, the same number as forward Boone Jenner.

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