Top 10 Dynasty League Defenseman Rankings
It still might be the summer time, but it is not far away that people will start to think about who to draft in fantasy hockey. It’s very hard to find defenseman who can consistently score goals and record assists. They don’t grow off of trees in somebody’s backyard. Defenseman are also not easy to choose from. Who will emerge into a fantasy stud this season and who will emerge into a fantasy dud?
10. Jaccob Slavin, Carolina Hurricanes: Slavin didn’t become a stud until the end of the 2016-2017 season. He only scored five goals, but he recorded 29 assists. His plus/minus was 23. Slavin will score more goals in 2017-2018 and I would expect the same production from him in the assists category and plus/minus as well. Carolina has some other solid defensive fantasy options, but Slavin has the most upside out of any of them this season.
9. Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets: Werenski was a rookie in 2016-2017 and he didn’t fail to impress. Werenski was very consistent and he will be a solid option for fantasy in the 2017-2018 campaign. He scored 11 goals and had 36 assists last season. His plus/minus was 17. Werenski will probably score more goals this season and I think he could even have more assists with quarterbacking the power play. His plus/minus will probably stay the same.
8. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators: Josi was one of the major reasons why the Nashville Predators made a serious run at the Stanley Cup last postseason. The Predators have solid defenseman and they are also good at putting up numbers and Roman Josi is one of them. He scored 12 goals last season and had 37 assists. His plus/minus was 7. I think Josi will score more goals in 2017, but his assists will stay the same. Josi’s plus/minus will improve. Josi is also a solid player on the power play.
7. Justin Schultz, Pittsburgh Penguins: Schultz emerged as one of the surprises in fantasy for the 2016-2017. He was signed to a three-year deal worth $16.5 million in the offseason. Schultz quarterbacked the power play well last season. It seemed like when Kris Letang quarterbacked the power play instead of Schultz, it regressed. Schultz scored 12 goals and had 39 assists last season. He had a surprising plus/minus of 27. I think Schultz will score more goals in 2017, but his assists will stay around the same. I don’t think Schultz will have as a high of a plus/minus, but it won’t rapidly drop.
6. Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets: The Jets defensive core is usually lost when Byfuglien is out of the lineup. He is a heavy hitter on the boards, but Byfuglien is a valuable fantasy option. He scored 13 goals and had 39 assists last season. His plus/minus was 10. I think Byfuglien will score more goals this season but his assists will stay the same. My concern with him is plus/minus. His goaltending situation isn’t great in Winnipeg and they give up a lot of odd man rushes.
5. Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens: Just a year ago, Weber was traded from the Nashville Predators to the Montreal Canadiens. Weber had an impact with Nashville when he was playing with them, but he had an impact with Montreal as well last season. Weber scored 17 goals and had 25 assists last season. His plus/minus was a solid 20. Weber will probably score more goals this season because they will lack offensive from there forwards. Weber’s assists might actually go down a little but. However, his plus/minus will probably stay the same.
4. P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators: P.K. Subban was one of the main reasons why the Predators made a deep run in the playoffs last season. Subban was traded from Montreal last summer. He had a slow start last season but that is probably because he was at a new venue. Subban scored 10 goals and had 30 assists in 2016-2017. His plus/minus was a surprising -8. Subban will improve in every statistical category in 2017-2018. He will be a force with Roman Josi on defense as well. Subban also has a blazing slap shot and does a solid job on the power play.
3. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning: The Tampa Bay Lightning got scoring from an unexpected source last season in defenseman Victor Hedman. Hedman only had 49 career goals in 470 games. In 79 games last season, he scored 16 goals and had 56 assists. His plus/minus was only three. Hedman might be able to score more goals this season if the Lightning are fully healthy. Teams will have to focus on Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos a lot, which will open up the ice for Hedman to score. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if Hedman had more assists. However his plus/minus will be better.
2. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators: Karlsson is one of the most gifted offensive defenseman the NHL has ever seen. Even though the Senators were eliminated in seven games last season to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, he received one Conn Smythe vote. That tells you how impressive he performs night in and night out on the ice. Karlsson scored 17 goals and had 54 assists last season. He does a tremendous job setting up the Senators power play. If Ottawa didn’t play a trap game, they could score more goals and Karlsson’s numbers would go up. His plus/minus last season was 10. I expect Karlsson’s numbers to be at least the same, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they were better.
1. Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks: Brett Burns was a converted forward a couple of seasons ago. For some reason, Burns has been better offensively with it. Is it maybe because he can control the puck more? Well whatever it is, it is working for him. Burns is excellent at controlling the Sharks power play by either shooting the puck or passing it. He scored 29 goals and had 47 assists. His plus/minus last season was 19. Burns might have to shoot the puck more this season because Patrick Marleau departed for Toronto. I don’t think Burns will score 29 goals again this season, but it wouldn’t be surprising either. Burns plus/minus will probably be the same in the 2017-2018 season.