The phrase "offense wins games, but defense wins championships" is common in sports. Although defense in hockey is a team effort, the right and left defensemen are primarily responsible for it (along with the goalie). Emphasizing the defensive side is crucial in NHL 23, especially for franchises that are in the process of rebuilding. This explains the significance of this article on the greatest defenders in NHL 23.
The top defensemen in NHL 23 are listed here, ranked by their overall score. Last but not least, even though it's not relevant here, all of these player rating lists are concentrated on the player's primary position. The in-game currency in NHL 23 is called coins, and you can spend it to buy a variety of players, team cards, and other items. From MMOPixel, we advise buying NHL 23 Coins.
The first defenseman with an OVR rating of 89 or better is Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, who starts the list. With 92 in defense awareness, 90 in shot blocking, and 90 in stick checking, Doughty is another strong defender. He increases his poise, endurance, strength, and durability by 90 points each. He skates well, scoring 89 for Acceleration, Agility, and Speed, with 88 for Balance to cap it off. Doughty is an excellent player to land several hits because he also possesses 85 Aggressiveness & Body Checking.
Doughty, who has spent his whole fifteen-year career with the Kings, has won two championships with Los Angeles after playing for the squads in 2012 and 2014. In 1,019 games, the veteran scored 133 goals with 436 assists for 569 points. In addition, he has 1,330 shots blocked, 1,776 hits, and 697 mins inside the penalty box.
Young Charlie McAvoy, who is one year Makar's junior, joins Adam Fox as the second-youngest player on this list. McAvoy scored well, with scores of 92 for stick checking with 91 for defense awareness as well as shot blocking. He also possesses 85 Durability, 90 Poise, 89 Speed, 89 Strength, as well as 88 Acceleration, Agility, & Balance. Additionally, McAvoy has a passing and puck control rating of 91, and his offensive statistics are 89 for slap shot power, 88 for wrist shot power, 84 for wrist shot accuracy, & 83 for slap shot accuracy.
In 313 matches, all in Boston, the 5th year Boston Bruin has 178 points on the strength of 34 goals with 144 assists. He has also accrued 576 hits, 512 blocked shots, and 243 minutes inside the penalty box. McAvoy, a former All-Star, was named to the All-Rookie Team for the 2017–2018 season.
The Florida Panthers Aaron Ekblad has the best rating of any player on the Presidents' Trophy-winning squad for most pts (they also had the most wins during the 2021-2022 season). Having 93 in Stick Checking, 92 in Defense Awareness, and 91 for Shot Blocking, Ekblad is strong in defense. Along with his 88 in Balance & 87 in Acceleration, Agility, Speed, Aggressiveness, as well as Body Checking, he also possesses 90 in Endurance, 89 in Strength, and 85 in Durability. With 90 for Puck Control and Passing, he is capable of handling the puck, and his 90 in Slap Shot as well as Wrist Shot Power allows him to unleash some devastating blasts.
Ekblad, who is entering his ninth season and has spent all of them with Florida, wants to play a major role in helping the team advance through the second phase (quarterfinals) of the playoffs for the very first time since 1996 when they faced Colorado in their lone (failed) trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In 556 games, Ekblad scored 98 goals with 194 assists for 292 points. He has blocked and hit 591 shots symmetrically, spending 334 minutes in the penalty box. It is clear why Ekblad would be considered one of the finest defensemen in NHL 23 given the stats he has amassed thus far in his career.
Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, a former member of the St. Louis Blues, is currently playing with the young Golden Knights in his third season. The franchise, which is still new, is in its sixth season. They did lose in the Stanley Cup Finals during their initial season, and made the playoffs in the subsequent three, but missed the 2022 playoffs, which was the first time in their history that they didn't make the postseason. With a defense awareness score of 92, and Shot Blocking & Stick Checking scores of 90, Pietrangelo is among the finest defenseman in the world. Also maintaining him on the ice and away from the penalty box are his 90in Poise, Endurance, as well as Strength ratings. He has powerful shooting skills with 90 in Slap Shot & Wrist Shot Power as well as exceptional puck handling skills with 90 in Passing and Puck Control.
Pietrangelo, who is in his fifteenth year and played on the Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis squad in 2019, wants to lift the trophy with his second team as he enters his sixteenth year. In 882 games, Pietrangelo scored 129 goals plus 391 assists for 520 points. In addition, he has 613 hits and 1,624 blocked shots, and he has served 299 minutes inside the penalty box.
The New York Rangers want to win their first championship since 1994 and return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time after 2014 with the help of 24-year-old Adam Fox. Since playmaking defensemen are not a game archetype, the offensive defenseman nearly acts more like one when handling the puck. Fox possesses 87 in Hand-Eye, 96 in Deking, 93 in Deking and Passing, and 96 in Puck Control and Offense Awareness. His 94 in Agility, 93 in Acceleration, with 92 in Speed help him handle the puck. Fox possesses 92 for Stick Checking, 91 for Defense Awareness, 88 for Shot Blocking, 86 for Strength, and 87 for Endurance on the defensive side.
Right defender, starting his fourth season, has 168 points in 207 games with 25 goals & 143 assists. The number of assists actually demonstrates his capacity to set up shots for his mates from the appropriate defensive position. In addition to 88 hits and 327 blocked shots, Fox spent 74 minutes inside the penalty box. This offensive defenseman has performed enough to merit a berth among the top defensemen in NHL 23 despite his little time in the league.
At 90 OVR, John Carlson continues to be a fantastic defenseman, but there is a definite top tier as well as a secondary tier, with Makar being one point above Hedberg and Josi in second place, who are tied for second. Carlson still has excellent qualities at his disposal, making him suitable to be included as one of the top 23 defensemen in the NHL, thus this does not imply that he is poor. With 94 Passing, 93 in Puck Control, Offense Awareness, Slap Shot Power, as well as Wrist Shot Power, the 2-Way Defender excels offensively. Carlson is a strong right defenseman with defensive ratings of 92 in defense awareness, 91 in stick-checking, and 90 in shot-blocking.
With impressive scores in Endurance, Balance, Speed, Strength, Acceleration, Agility, as well as Body Checking, as well as 85 in Aggressiveness and Durability, he also demonstrates his physicality on the ice.
In his fifteenth season, all with the Washington Capitals, the defenseman continues to stand out as one of the finest to play the position. He has won the Stanley Cup twice, both times with Washington, and is a two-time All-Star. In 891 games, the former first-round pick has 133 goals plus 462 assists for 595 points. He has 774 hits, 1,689 shot blocks, and 292 minutes inside the penalty box.
Josi, the final defenseman to rank among the top players overall, is tied for the second spot with Hedman, just behind Makar. The Nashville Predator can still compete on the attack, but his defense is a little stronger than it is offensively. Josi possesses 90 in Shot Blocking as well as Poise, 94 in Stick Checking, 96 in Defense Awareness, and 94. Josi also possesses 85 in Aggressiveness, 87 in Body Checking, 92 in Strength, 89 in Durability, and 89 in Durability. He also takes satisfaction in being a skilled skater, scoring 93 for Endurance, 90 for Balance, and 88 for Acceleration, Agility, as well as Speed.
Josi, who will play his twelfth season with the Predators in Nashville, aspires to take the team to its second Stanley Cup Finals berth. Josi has played in 765 games for a total of 140 goals with 403 assists for 543 points. In addition, he has 540 hits and 1,429 shot blocks, sitting in the penalty box for 302 minutes. He has established himself to be one of the finest defensemen in the league, without a shadow of a doubt.
Victor Hedman, a defenseman who made the list of the greatest players overall, is tied with Roman Josi for second place in the game among defensemen, just behind Jaromir Makar. Despite not having Makar's attacking punch, the 2-Way Defender edges him on defense to make up for it. Hedman scores 95 in defense awareness, stick checking, as well as poise, the latter of which is crucial for defensemen. In addition, the 2-Way defender possesses 88 in Aggressiveness, 93 in Strength, 90 in Shot Blocking, and 90 in Body Checking. Possessing 94 for Balance, 90 for Endurance, 88 for Acceleration & Speed, and 87 for Agility, he can keep up with the top skaters.
As a teammate of the 3-time defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning, he has won two championships. They were defeated by Colorado in six matches in their bid for a hat trick, and they are currently vying for their third championship in four years. Hedman, who is entering his fourteenth season, has 134 goals with 472 assists over 902 games, each with Tampa Bay. Despite spending 624 minutes inside the penalty box, he still managed to block 1,377 shots and land 976 hits.
Cale Makar is not only the top defenseman from NHL 23, but he is also the second-best player overall, behind only Connor McDavid (95 OVR), Auston Matthews, and Nathan MacKinnon, who both have 94 OVR. The 23-year-old possesses a number of exceptional skills, most notably 97 in Deking & Puck Control and 96 in Acceleration, Agility, as well as Speed. As an offensive defenseman, he also boasts 96 in passing, 96 in offensive awareness, and 90 in poise. With 95 defensive awareness, 89 shot blocking, and stick checking, he is still a strong defender. To top it off, he also possesses 82 in Body Checking and 85 in Aggressiveness, Durability, as well as Strength.
In his fourth season with Colorado, he just defeated the Tampa Bay mini-dynasty to help the Avalanche win the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals. Because he was the best player throughout the Finals, Makar was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. Makar has played 180 games throughout his career and has 184 points (48 goals, 136 assists). Importantly, in his brief career, he has only racked up 54 penalty minutes. In addition, the great defenseman has 190 hits and 196 shot blocks.
We have come to the end of this list and by looking at their overall ratings, you now know who the top defenseman in NHL 23 is. Will you make an attempt to steal Makar, or will you go after somebody like Doughty or Victor?