NHL 20 Franchise Mode: Best Young Defensemen

Every team needs an elite-level blueliner if they want to win the Stanley Cup in the future.


When it comes to Franchise Mode on NHL 20, one of the most satisfying elements is giving young talents a chance in your NHL lines and developing them into world-beating superstars.

Stanley Cup-winning teams invariably boast at least one elite-level defenseman that controls the pace of the game, munches minutes, lays out hits, blocks shots, and often chips in with a fair few points. On this list, you’ll find many potential candidates to become your future star blueliner.


So, here are the best young defensemen in NHL 20’s Franchise Mode. They are all 21-years-old or younger, with all of the figures taken from the 10 October 2019 Online Roster – to give EA Sports a bit of time to adjust to the NHL rosters.

Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins

Overall: 86
Age: 21-years-old
Potential: Elite med
Player Type: Two-Way Defenseman
Contract: $4.9 million, 3 years, 1-way
Nationality: American

Only a few years back, the Boston Bruins looked to be on the brink of going all-in on a rebuild. But then, thanks to the timely integration of some budding prospects, they surged to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. Among the young Bs is Charlie McAvoy, who has already proven himself to be a force in the NHL. In his first season, he scored 32 points in 63 games, following up with 28 points in 54 regular season games last season and a further eight points through 23 playoff matches.

In NHL 20, Charlie McAvoy is already among the best defensemen in the game, with the right-handed shot being rated 86 OVR. The two-way defenseman is mobile with an 86 rating across acceleration, agility, and speed, and boasts great awareness at 90 for defensive awareness and 88 for offensive awareness. The Bruins defenseman is already worthy of top-line placing, and he’ll become one of the highest-rated blueliners in Franchise Mode.

Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres

Overall: 85
Age: 19-years-old
Potential: Elite med
Player Type: Two-Way Defenseman
Contract: $0.925 million, 2 years, 2-way
Nationality: Swedish

Selected first overall in last year’s NHL Entry Draft, the starved Buffalo Sabres fan base put all of their hopes in Rasmus Dahlin being the beginning of the end of basement-dwelling for their hockey club. With nine goals and 44 points through all 82 games of last season, Dahlin looks to be living up to his billing as a franchise-worthy defenseman. The Swedish teen got off to a quick start this season too, notching nine points in the first eight games.

Rasmus Dahlin is already top-line ready with his overall rating of 85 OVR, and best of all, he can already munch minutes and remain mostly injury-free thanks to his ratings of 90 in durability and endurance. The Swede also starts with an 89 for slap shot power and defensive awareness as well as 88s in shot blocking, stick checking, and wrist shot power. Dahlin has the potential to become the highest-rated defenseman in the game with his lofty overall rating at 19-years-old being coupled with his Elite med potential.

Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning

Overall: 84
Age: 21-years-old
Potential: Elite med
Player Type: Two-Way Defenseman
Contract: $0.895 million, 1 year, 1-way
Nationality: Russian

The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled off a bit of magic when they landed Mikhail Sergachev in a trade from the Montreal Canadiens in June 2017. Their third-overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Jonathan Drouin, was a very highly touted young player, but in January 2016, he was suspended indefinitely due to failing to report for a game with the Syracuse Crunch, as shown by The Star.

So, the Bolts flipped Drouin to the Habs for the ninth overall selection of the 2016 draft, Mikhail Sergachev. Eyebrows were raised at the time, but then the season started, with Sergachev going on to amass 40 points in 79 games, continuing last season with six goals and 32 points in 75 games in 2018/19.

Victor Hedman is still the main man on the Lightning blueline, but there’s an argument to be made for the 21-year-old Sergachev being Tampa Bay’s second-best defenseman despite the presence of Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan McDonagh. In NHL 20, the Russian boasts an overall rating of 84 OVR from the off, with some truly tremendous attribute ratings for a 21-year-old, including 90 slap shot power, 91 wrist shot power, 90 durability, 89 stick checking, 89 balance, 89 endurance, and 89 strength.

Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars

Overall: 83
Age: 20-years-old
Potential: Elite med
Player Type: Two-Way Defenseman
Contract: $0.895 million, 2 years, 2-way
Nationality: Finnish

Having been drafted third overall in 2017, Miro Heiskanen broke into the NHL lines in 2018/19, being very impressive in doing so. For the Dallas Stars, the Finnish defenseman scored 12 goals and 33 points in 82 games and was only given 16 penalty minutes. Heiskanen is a very smart defenseman with great skating and an uncanny ability to be in the right position almost all of the time, regardless of what end of the ice he finds himself.

In Franchise Mode, Heiskanen is a very well-rounded defenseman with astronomical endurance at 93 and a stellar rating of 90 for durability. His Elite med potential and lofty overall at 20-years-old means that he’ll become one of the best two-way defensemen in NHL 20, already touting an 88 rating for stick checking, offensive awareness, and agility.

Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes

Overall: 82
Age: 21-years-old
Potential: Elite med
Player Type: Two-Way Defenseman
Contract: $4.6 million, 6 years, 1-way
Nationality: Canadian

The Arizona Coyotes have been in an ongoing, sometimes rebooting rebuild for many years now, but finally, their top prospects are cementing themselves in the NHL. One of those top young players is the 16th overall selection of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Jakob Chychrun. Although he’s yet to play 70 games or more in a single season, Chychrun has impressed with 54 points through three seasons as a Yote.

Strength and speed are Chychrun’s best assets in Franchise Mode. He boasts an 88 in aggressiveness, 87 in body checking, and 87 in strength as well as an 84 in acceleration, 85 agility, and 84 in speed. The left-shot Canadian improves at a decent pace in NHL 20, building towards his Elite med potential.

Those skaters shown above are the top five young defensemen in NHL 20’s Franchise Mode, but the following players are also worth a look:

NameAgePlayer TypeHandednessPotentialOverall Rating
Cale Makar20Offensive DefensemanRightElite med81
Adam Fox21Offensive DefensemanRightTop 4 Defenseman med81
Henri Jokiharju20Two-Way DefensemanRightTop 4 Defenseman med81
Quinn Hughes19Offensive DefensemanLeftElite med80
Samuel Girard21Offensive DefensemanLeftTop 4 Defenseman med80
Dennis Cholowski21Two-Way DefensemanLeftTop 4 Defenseman med80
Filip Hronek21Two-Way DefensemanRightTop 4 Defenseman med80
Dante Fabbro21Two-Way DefensemanRightElite med80
Libor Hajek21Defensive DefensemanLeftTop 4 Defenseman med78

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Ben Chopping

Will give almost any game a chance, particularly those that include wildlife, monsters, or prehistoric creatures of any kind.

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