NHL 22 Player Ratings: Best Young Defensive Defensemen

Need a lockdown defender for the future? This list has the best young defensive defensemen in NHL 22.


The saying goes that offense wins games, but defense wins championships. A defensive defenseman is your first step in establishing a top-line defense.

Whether you are rebuilding or retooling, finding your defensive stalwart of the future only bodes well for your franchise.


Choosing NHL 22’s best young defensive defensemen

This page will look at the best young up-and-coming defensive defensemen in NHL 22, with names like Jett Woo, Kevin Bahl, and Bryce Montgomery all making an appearance.

The players chosen for this list are all 21 and younger and chosen based on the grade in potential.

At the bottom of the page, you will find a list of the best young defensive defensemen in NHL 22.


Jett Woo 69 OVR (Potential: Top 4 D Med)

Team: Vancouver Canucks
Age: 21
Position: Right Defense
Type: Defensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Contract: $0.860M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 85 Durability, 84 Slap Shot Power, 84 Wrist Shot Power

Jett Woo, former second round pick of Vancouver, finds himself atop this list thanks to his Top 4 D Med potential grade. Potential is not all that he possesses, though.

His 85 in durability should keep him on the ice to learn and grow, and his 84 in both slap and wrist shot power makes him a good offensive force from the right defense. His physical ratings are good with an 83 in aggressiveness, body checking, and strength.


Where he could improve is on the defensive end, particularly since he plays a defensive position. His awareness is only a 77, and both shot blocking and stick checking are 80. Work to improve those three to at least 85.

Woo’s lines from last season with the Utica Comets saw him register three goals and two assists across 28 games. During the 2019-2020 season with the Calgary Hitmen, he had 39 assists and seven goals across 64 games.

Nikita Okhotyuk 65 OVR (Potential: Top 4 D Low)

Team: New Jersey Devils
Age: 20
Position: Left Defense
Type: Defensive Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.790M, 3 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 85 Durability, 85 Slap Shot Power, 85 Wrist Shot Power

One of two New Jersey players on this list, Okhotyuk gains the edge over Kevin Bahl – who is rated higher overall – thanks to the higher potential of the imposing Russian.

His three highlighted attributes are his best, which should help keep him on the ice. He has decent quickness with an 80 in acceleration, agility, and speed.

He can use improvement in all aspects, particularly puck skills and defense. All of his puck skills are in the 60s, and none of his defense skills are above 79. Add those to his mediocre scores in senses with a 75 in discipline and a 70 in both offensive awareness and poise and it’s clear that it will take time, but that he can develop into a solid player.

Last season for the Binghamton Devils, Okhotyuk had four assists and two goals in 28 games. The season prior for the Ottawa 67s, he had 16 assists and three goals in 39 games.

Kevin Bahl 70 OVR (Potential: Top 6 D High)

Team: New Jersey Devils
Age: 21
Position: Left Defense
Type: Defensive Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.795M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 87 Slap Shot Power, 85 Balance, 85 Durability

The 6’7” Bahl may prove to become a dominant force for your franchise, as imposing as his height would suggest.

His balance and durability should keep him on the ice as he will rarely fall, which would increase the risk of injury. He has a fine shot, but his accuracies are paltry at 69 each. He is decent enough at defense with an 83 in shot blocking, 81 in stick checking, and 79 in awareness.

He needs vast improvement in his senses and puck skills, and a bit more focus on his skating. His discipline and poise are 70 while his offensive awareness is 69. His puck skills range from 66-69. Bahl’s non-balance skate skills all fall below 80, albeit only slightly.

He had a quick stint with New Jersey last season for seven games (two assists). With Binghamton in 27 games, he had four assists and one goal. The previous season with the Ottawa 67s, he had 25 assists and six goals in 54 games.

Martin Fehervary 75 OVR (Potential: Top 6 D High)

Team: Washington Capitals
Age: 21
Position: Left Defense
Type: Defensive Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.790M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 87 Balance, 87 Wrist Shot Power, 87 Strength

Martin Fehervary just turned 26 on 6 October, but in NHL 22, he is still listed as 21, so he makes an appearance here.

Fehervary is already a solid all-around player. His defensive skills are good with an 85 in both shot blocking and stick checking and an 81 in awareness. He has good skating skills with his non-balance ratings between 82 and 85. He also checks the boxes on the physical end.

Where he could use improvement are his senses and puck skills. While his discipline is fine at 80, his offensive awareness is 77 and his poise a meager 70. Fehervary’s hand-eye is only 71 with his other puck skills all at 77.

Last season with the Hershey Bears, Fehervary had 14 assists and three goals across 24 games. The season prior, he had ten assists and four goals in 56 games with Hershey, and one assist in six games with the Washington Capitals.

Miska Kukkonen 56 OVR (Potential: Top 6 D Med)

Team: Buffalo Sabres
Age: 21
Position: Right Defense/Left Defense
Type: Defensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Contract: $0.750M, 1 Year Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 85 Durability, 82 Slap Shot Power, 82 Wrist Shot Power

Miska Kukkonen is rare for this list in that he has played all of his career for Finnish teams and the Finland national team.

While Kukkonen does have good durability (85) and shot power (82 for both), he is a prospect in every sense of the word in that he needs plenty of time to develop. Defensively, his awareness is only 69 while his shot blocking and stick checking are 72. His discipline is 75 with poise at 65 and offensive awareness at 63. His physical and skating skills are better, but not by much. You will need patience, but it will pay off.

With Lukko last season, he had nine assists and a goal over 51 games, while the previous season, he had two assists over 19 games.

Bryce Montgomery 53 OVR (Potential: Top 6 D Med)

Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Age: 18
Position: Right Defense/Left Defense
Type: Defensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Contract: $0.750M, 0 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 82 Slap Shot Power, 81 Wrist Shot Power, 80 Durability

Like Kukkonen, Bryce Montgomery will take time and patience to develop for your franchise. Unlike Kukkonen, Montgomery is just 18.

While his durability of 85 is fine, his other physical skills need improvement if he is going to make an impact. His aggressiveness and strength are 72 and body checking 70. His skating skills are a little better, but none are more than 76.

Defensively, Montgomery needs a lot of fine-tuning as his stick checking is 71, shot blocking a 68, and awareness a 67. His puck skills and senses are even lower, but focus on one area at a time.

Montgomery did not appear for the London Knights last season, but during 2019-2020, he had two assists in 33 games. The season before with Cushing Academy, a prep school, he had seven assists in 33 games.

Samuel Bolduc 69 OVR (Potential: Top 6 D Med)

Team: New York Islanders
Age: 20
Position: Left Defense
Type: Defensive Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.750M, 0 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 85 Balance, 85 Slap Shot Power, 85 Durability

Samuel Bolduc could prove to be a steal for your franchise should you develop him appropriately.

He is good in the skating and physical departments (mostly) with an 85 in durability and balance, 84 in strength, 81 in acceleration and speed, and 80 in agility. He can improve his 76 in aggressiveness and body checking, and his 73 in endurance should be targeted quickly.

His defense is adequate, but still needs improvement. His awareness and stick checking are 78 with a 76 in shot blocking, and unlike others on this list, his senses are good with an 80 in discipline and 78 in offensive awareness – though the 70 in poise is concerning. His puck skills need a lot of work, too, but that can be saved for later.

Last season for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, he had eight assists and six goals over 24 games. The previous season, he split time between the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada and the Sherbrooke Phoenix. For the former, he had nine assists and seven goals in 32 games, and for the latter, he had 23 assists and four goals in 29 games.

All the best young defensive defensemen in NHL 22

The below table lists all of the best young defensive defensemen in NHL 22.

NamePotentialOverallAgePositionContractTeam
Jett WooTop 4 D Med6921Right Defense$0.860M, 2 YL, TWVancouver Canucks
Nikia OkhotyukTop 4 D Low6520Left Defense$0.790M, 3 YL, TWNew Jersey Devils
Kevin BahlTop 6 D High7021Left Defense$0.795M, 2 YL, TWNew Jersey Devils
Martin FehervaryTop 6 D High7521Left Defense$0.790M, 2 YL, TWWashington Capitals
Miska KukkonenTop 6 D Med5621Right Defense/ Left Defense$0.750M, 1 YL, TWBuffalo Sabres
Bryce MontgomeryTop 6 D Med5318Right Defense/ Left Defense$0.750M, 0 YL, TWCarolina Hurricanes
Emil AndraeTop 6 D Med6019Left Defense/ Right Defense$0.750M, 0 YL, TWPhiladelphia Flyers
Samuel BolducTop 6 D Med6920Left Defense$0.845M, 2 YL, TWNew York Islanders
Hunter SkinnerTop 6 D Low6020Right Defense/ Left Defense$0.850M, 3 YL, TW  New York Rangers
Hugo Has7th D Med5920Right Defense$0.750M, 1 YL, TWWashington Capitals
Jérémy Groleau7th D Med6621Left Defense$0.750M, 2 YL, TWNew Jersey Devils
Tyler Tucker7th D Med6521Left Defense$0.810M, 2 YL, TWSt. Louis Blues
Emil Martinsen Lilleberg7th D Med5520Left Defense$0.750M, 0 YL, TWArizona Coyotes
Ryan MastAHL Top 2 D Med5018Right Defense/ Left Defense$0.750M, 0 YL, TWBoston Bruins
Thimo NicklAHL Top 2 D Med5619Right Defense/ Left Defense$0.750M, 0 YL, TW  Anaheim Ducks

Using this list, you should be able to find some quality young talent around which to build your defense for years to come.


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