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Bob Kudelski

SNES Defensemen Ranking

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I don’t think anyone has made a comprehensive list of defensive rankings for SNES, so here it is. The definitive list!

This is not about team defence. This is about defensemen only; I have not considered forwards or goaltenders. This is based on Classic League rules (i.e. penalties on, no line changes), so depth of defence has very little weighting here. There is also some bias here as I tend to prioritize size and mobility over shooting and passing, when it comes to defensemen.

I will begin with the bottom 6 and periodically release the rest of the list in groups of 5, by updating this post. Let me know your thoughts below.

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  6. Chicago - Chelios has good skills but lacks the size needed to be a true star in the game. Smith is very solid across the board and could arguably be considered the more valuable defender, given his heavyweight status.
  7. Hartford - In the confines of this game, Zalapski is a star defenseman who can get the job done at both ends of the ice. Weinrich leaves something to be desired, but can use his size and straight-ahead speed to be a force at times.
  8. Edmonton - Both Manson and Kravchuck have good size and above average skills. Often overlooked and underrated, this is the best Canadian-team pairing.
  9. Pittsburgh - Murphy and Samuelsson form a solid but bland pair that get the job done supporting the Pens’ superstar forwards. Samuelsson tends to lay the lumber on guys, so you’ll have to put up with his penalties.
  10. New York Rangers - Patrick is very solid in all categories, but Leetch can be problematic in his own end. He’s a lightweight with below average speed. Instead, try the steady, if unspectacular, Kevin Lowe.
  11. Calgary - MacInnis and Suter provide excellent mobility and offense, but lack the weight needed to stop the heavier forwards found on most top teams.
  12. Winnipeg - Housley is supremely skilled and skates like the wind. But the wind is also one of many things that will easily knock him to the ice. Numminen is decent, but Olausson will add some size without sacrificing any skill. 
  13. Quebec - While not overly skilled or large, Duchesne is an above-average defender that can skate and compliment the skilled forwards. Leschyshyn has nice size and speed, but handles the puck like a grenade. That said, he’s been known to enter “beast mode” once in a while.
  14. Toronto - Ellett is a nice two-way player that doesn’t get enough recognition. Replace no-skill-Gill with Macoun, who has a great moustache.
  15. Montreal - I look at the Desjardins / Schneider pairing and I want it to be that classic size / skill pairing. Problem is, Desjardins isn’t that big and Schneider isn’t that skilled. Meh.
  16. Vancouver - Lumme and Lidster are solid, but unspectacular. They both have good stickhandling, so won’t bobble the puck much. They survive by getting in the way and moving the puck to the Canucks skilled forwards as soon as possible.
  17. St. Louis - Brown has a great shot, and he and Butcher are 212 lbs which is nice. But both have skating issues. In fact, Butcher skates like a dump truck with a flat tire.
  18. Buffalo - Svoboda has great mobility, but gets eaten up in his own zone by most capable forwards. Smehlik and Bodger are big bodied stay-at-home guys that will create congestion in the D-zone, but don’t expect them to do much else.
  19. Anaheim - Kasatonov is a hidden gem. He’s basically Fetisov with more speed but less D awareness. He has the size, stickhandling and passing you like to see in a top D-man. Plug in a big body like Ladouceur for a pairing that’s arguably better than some non-expansion teams.
  20. New York Islanders - Malakhov has nice size at 220, but he lacks skating speed, much like the smaller Kasparaitis. Neither of them are good stickhandlers or passers. No quality bench players available either.
  21. Dallas - “Stars” isn’t the first term that comes to mind when assessing the Dallas D. Tinordi has decent size but that’s about it. Sjodin is a lightweight with nice agility, but lacking any other offensive skills. Unfortunately there are no capable replacements. Enjoy!
  22. Florida - Murphy is a very strong skater. He’s like a poor man’s Glen Wesley. This alone elevates the Florida D above the other expansion teams, save Anaheim. Cirella is a plug.
  23. Philadelphia - Galley, Yushkevich, and Hawgood are almost like clones..  mediocre clones. They are all 196 lbs (which is less than ideal), and lack the speed, stickhandling, and passing skills. Galley is probably the odd man out.
  24. San Jose - Wilson has some offensive tools including a big shot, but he has average size and mobility. Neil Wilkinson is also a defenseman on this team.
  25. Ottawa - Despite a team-leading 63 points in 92/93, Maciver got no love from the ratings guys. He’s small, slow and has no offensive skills. Brad Shaw, also a terrible player, is slightly larger.
  26. Tampa Bay - Hamrlik and Beers. These guys have great names!

 

Edited by Bob Kudelski
trying to fix some weird font and formatting
  • Like 3

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The Boston Bourques.  I am loving some Kevin Lowe, too.  plenty to pick from....

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Philly worse than Florida, ouch. :lol:

Great idea bud. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your thoughts. I'll comment as you do.

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9 hours ago, annatar said:

Philly worse than Florida, ouch. :lol:

 

The truth hurts bud. Gord Murphy is far better than any Philly defender. If he were on Philly, they'd be a much better team.  

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Updated original post with #16 - 20.

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Vancouver mentioning just two of their many interesting defensemen?  they deserve a revisiting, big time.  I would rank them much higher.

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2 minutes ago, tru said:

Vancouver mentioning just two of their many interesting defensemen?  they deserve a revisiting, big time.  I would rank them much higher.

Well you can only use 2 defensemen at a time. Would you put Diduck in for Lumme or Lidster? Doesn't improve the pairing much.

I'm curious what remaining teams you would rank lower than Vancouver.

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I am not sure, as I have not attempted such a ranking, but there are at least two more unmentioned defensemen I like on that team.

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I also tend to play 20/on/on/manual, so I see those other guys a lot more than 5/off/off/whatever players might.  I don't get much use out of the starting defensemen on Vancouver, but they are deep.

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Loving this thread!

Surprised about no mention of Sandis Ozolinsh for San Jose. Certainly better than Wilkinson and while not an all-star by any means, he can skate somewhat decently and doesn't fumble passes too overly often. I figure that has to count for something on a team as rough as San Jose.

My experience with Brown and Butcher for St. Louis has always a bit different though in terms of speed. I've never felt like either skater was too slow to be effective and truthfully, I've always considered Brown's speed to be above average..I don't know his speed rating by memory though so I may be surprised when I actually pull it up. Admittedly, St. Louis is a team I haven't used as much over the years and my play style is more based on possession and passing, so maybe by default, I don't notice differences in speed as much as other players would.

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41 minutes ago, Oilers442 said:

Loving this thread!

Surprised about no mention of Sandis Ozolinsh for San Jose. Certainly better than Wilkinson and while not an all-star by any means, he can skate somewhat decently and doesn't fumble passes too overly often. I figure that has to count for something on a team as rough as San Jose.

Thanks! There's not much to separate Wilkinson and Ozolinsh. They have the same weight, speed, agility and stickhandling. Ozolinsh does have a bit better offensive awareness and shot, so he might be the better player, although Wilkinson is a better passer. 

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the huge speed bonuses afforded to hot/cold players can routinely boost a scrub-looking dude into superstardom.  Terry Yake (although not a defenseman) comes to mind as a frequent recipient of the gifted attribute bumps.  getting each player some ice time early can help you figure out who is on fire.  it can make or break your Oz/Wilk-level decisions.

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28 minutes ago, tru said:

it can make or break your Oz/Wilk-level decisions.

Sophie's choice!

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seriously.  which is why that bonus speed search can be so crucial.  somebody hack a pre-game skate into the game!

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Oh Canada! I just updated the original post with #11 to 15.

 

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Updated with #5 to 10. These rankings are sure to be controversial.

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1 hour ago, Bob Kudelski said:

Damn. Rest in peace Zarley Zalapski.

Very sad. We'll keep his memory alive forever.

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