World Cup Defensemen
Photo: Xinhua/Zumapress/Icon Sportswire
The World Cup is only a few weeks away with the best players in the world hitting the ice today at their respective team camps.
Coaches and team staff will be putting in place team strategy and systems but success will be determined largely by the sum of the parts they’ve selected.
Those parts include 7 defensemen per each of the 8 teams in the two week tournament.
Before the puck drops for the best-on-best showcase, we asked how each team's defensive group stack's up.
To answer that question, we used each defenseman's average per-minute contribution from the 2015/16 season and added the seven defensemen on each team to create eight defense core scores.
The team with the top score has been designated as the standard at 100%, and each of the other seven team scores have been expressed as a percentage of the leader. In the few instances of players not playing in the NHL last season, we have used an adjusted average.
The above percentages are purely "sum of the parts" and will be influenced by synergies created by systems and player combinations, including pairing of defensemen, strategic five man units, etc.
Effective coaching and buy-in from players will determine whether the results are greater or less than the sum of the parts.
Next we’ll take a look at the defensive and offensive strength of each team’s defense core.
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