2017-18 Fantasy Hockey Series: Top 50 NHL Defencemen

0
Brent Burns
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 05: Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks looks on during the game against the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center on January 5, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

Welcome to Last Word On Hockey’s fantasy hockey top 50 NHL defencemen. Our first list looked at the Top 50 NHL Centres, followed by the Top 50 Left Wings and Top 50 Right Wings.

This list will cover the top 50 NHL defencemen in the NHL going into the season, with special attention on the top 10. Projected goals, assists, power play points and total points are included. Past performance and projections for the 2017-18 season are weighed carefully. Where ever possible, a player’s last three professional seasons are taken into account. In addition, injury history, power play time and projected line-mates are considered. Projections are based on 82 games except where otherwise noted.

The Top 3 Elite NHL Defencemen

1. Erik KarlssonOttawa Senators

Over the past three seasons Erik Karlsson has amassed 153 points in just 159 games played. That is just barely under point a game territory at 0.962 points per game. That’s an incredible rate for any NHL player let alone a defenceman. Karlsson should return soon from injury and he should be the first defender off the board in any points only fantasy league.

Projection for 2017-18: 15 G 60 A 26 PPP 75 PTS

2. Brent BurnsSan Jose Sharks

Brent Burns follows just behind our number one spot by only one point with 152 points in 165 games played over the past three campaigns. His points per game average in that span is 0.921 making him the only other NHL defenceman over 0.900 P/GP. If it weren’t for the age difference between Burns (age 32) and Karlsson (age 27) they would almost be a tie. Going forward however, we would expect Karlsson to be more likely to continue at almost a point a game pace. Burns shouldn’t be too far behind.

Projection for 2017-18: 24 G 46 A 26 PPP 70 PTS

3. Victor HedmanTampa Bay Lightning

Victor Hedman‘s career high last season of 72 points in 79 games easily places him in the upper echelon of fantasy hockey defencemen. With a one year points per game average of 0.911 we expect his last three year average of 0.759 to continue to rise. This was no one off. If the other two above aren’t available at your pick, grab Hedman as he should provide close to equal value if not more.

Projection for 2017-18: 14 G 50 A 23 PPP 64 PTS

The Top 4-6 Elite NHL Defencemen

After the top three elite NHL defencmen there is a bit of a drop off in our projections for the next group. In addition there isn’t a big difference in the expected output for this second tier so if you miss out on one of the above you would do well to snag any of one of them.

4. Roman JosiNashville Predators

The Predators number one defenceman has averaged 0.720 points per game over the previous three seasons. With fellow blue liner Ryan Ellis out until at least the new year, Josi will be relied on to power the offence from the defence in Nashville.

Projection for 2017-18: 13 G 44 A 38 18 PPP 57 PTS

5. John KlingbergDallas Stars

After putting up 40 points in only 65 games as a rookie, Klingberg defied the dreaded sophomore slump with 58 points in 76 games. In year three there was a slight regression with 49 points in 80 games.  With Klingberg manning the point on a very dangerous Dallas Stars power play we think Klingberg will return to form.

Projection for 2017-18: 13 G 43 A 19 PPP 56 PTS

6. P.K. Subban – Nashville Predators

Subban’s last three year average of 0.681 points per game is not far behind his teammate Roman Josi. Unfortunately, in the last two of those seasons he was limited to 66 and 68 games played which lowered his totals. Assuming a healthy 82 game season for P.K., he should get back up where he belongs.

Projection for 2017-18: 12 G 44 A 19 PPP 56 PTS

The Top 7-10 Elite NHL Defencemen

7. Dustin ByfuglienWinnipeg Jets

“Big Buff” has been a consistent producer over the past three seasons with Winnipeg. He has averaged right around 0.650 points per game each season. Expect him to be right around that pace again this year.

Projection for 2017-18: 16 G 37 A 15 PPP 53 PTS

8. Zach WerenskiColumbus Blue Jackets

One of the more exciting young offensive defencemen in the NHL, Werenski put up big numbers as a rookie last season. The Calder trophy finalist put up 47 points in 78 games played as teenaged NHL rookie. The sky is limit for this kid.

Projection for 2017-18: 12 G 40 A 23 PPP 52 PTS

9. Drew DoughtyLos Angeles Kings

While it may be true that Drew Doughty is a better “real life” defenceman than he is a fantasy defenceman, he has still put up consistently great numbers over the past three years. Doughty also has not missed a regular season game over that time. With a three year points per game average of 0.576 his projection remains as consistent as he is.

Projection for 2017-18: 13 G 34 A 24 PPP 47 PTS

10. Shea WeberMontreal Canadiens

At age 32, Shea Weber may be in decline. That said his shot remains one of the most feared in the NHL and Weber will be relied upon night in and night out to provide offence for Montreal. Expect better than half a point per game from Weber.

Projection for 2017-18: 16 G 30 A 24 PPP 46 PTS

Fantasy Hockey Top 50 NHL Defencemen (11-20)

11. Oliver Ekman-LarssonArizona Coyotes – 14 G 32 A 20 PPP 46 PTS

12. Alex PietrangeloSt. Louis Blues – 12 G 34 A 19 PPP 46 PTS

13. Rasmus RistolainenBuffalo Sabres – 7 G 39 A 24 PPP 46 PTS

14. Kris LetangPittsburgh Penguins – 12 G 34 A 22 PPP 46 PTS

15. Dougie HamiltonCalgary Flames – 12 G 34 A 16 PPP 46 PTS

16. Duncan KeithChicago Blackhawks – 6 G 40 A 15 PPP 46 PTS

17. Shayne GostisbeherePhiladelphia Flyers – 12 G 33 A 24 PPP 45 PTS

18. Kevin Shattenkirk – New York Rangers – 10 G 35 A 24 PPP 45 PTS

19. Torey KrugBoston Bruins– 6 G 39 A 20 PPP 45 PTS

20. Mark GiordanoCalgary Flames – 12 G 32 A 14 PPP 44 PTS

Fantasy Hockey Top 50 NHL Defencemen (21-30)

21. Oscar KlefbomEdmonton Oilers – 10 G 34 A 17 PPP 44 PTS

22. Tyson Barrie – Colorado Avalanche – 10 G 34 A 15 PPP 44 PTS

23. Keith Yandle – Florida Panthers – 5 G 38 A 20 PPP 43 PTS

24. Nick LeddyNew York Islanders – 8 G 35 A 15 PPP 43 PTS

25. Justin FaulkCarolina Hurricanes – 14 G 28 A 16 PPP 42 PTS

26. Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild – 8 G 33 A 15 PPP 41 PTS

27. Nikita Zaitsev – Toronto Maple Leafs – 6 G 35 A 15 PPP 41 PTS

28. Ryan McDonagh– New York Rangers – 7 G 34 A 14 PPP 41 PTS

29. Colton Parayko – St. Louis Blues – 7 G 33 A 13 PPP 40 PTS

30. Brady Skjei– New York Rangers – 7 G 33 A 10 PPP 40 PTS

Fantasy Hockey Top 50 NHL Defencemen (31-40)

31. Ivan Provorov – Philadelphia Flyers – 8 G 31 A 10 PPP 39 PTS

32. T.J. Brodie – Calgary Flames – 7 G 32 A 12 PPP 39 PTS

33. Cam FowlerAnaheim Ducks – 9 G 29 A 15 PPP 38 PTS

34. Mathew Dumba – Minnesota Wild – 12 G 26 A 14 PPP 38 PTS

35. Jake Gardiner – Toronto Maple Leafs – 8 G 30 A 13 PPP 38 PTS

36. Morgan Rielly – Toronto Maple Leafs – 9 G 28 A 16 PPP 37 PTS

37. Alec Martinez – Los Angeles Kings – 9 G 28 A 12 PPP 37 PTS

38. Seth Jones – Columbus Blue Jackets – 9 G 28 A 11 PPP 37 PTS

39. Jacob Trouba – Winnipeg Jets – 9 G 28 A 8 PPP 37 PTS

40. Mike GreenDetroit Red Wings – 10 G 26 A 12 PPP 36 PTS

Fantasy Hockey Top 50 NHL Defencemen (41-50)

41. Jake Muzzin – Los Angeles Kings – 9 G 27 A 12 PPP 36 PTS

42. Justin Schultz – Pittsburgh Penguins – 7 G 29 A 14 PPP 36 PTS

43. Alex Goligoski – Arizona Coyotes – 5 G 31 A 7 PPP 36 PTS

44. Matt NiskanenWashington Capitals – 5 G 30 A 12 PPP 35 PTS

45. Dion Phaneuf – Ottawa Senators – 8 G 24 A 15 PPP 32 PTS

46. Dmitry Orlov – Washington Capitals – 7 G 25 A 6 PPP 32 PTS

47. Johnny Boychuk – New York Islanders – 8 G 24 A 5 PPP 32 PTS

48. David Savard – Columbus Blue Jackets – 8 G 24 A 11 PPP 32 PTS

49. Zdeno Chara – Boston Bruins – 8 G 22 A 5 PPP 30 PTS

50. Sami Vatanen – Anaheim Ducks – 5 G 24 A 13 PPP 29 PTS

Others to consider: Charlie McAvoy, Josh Morrissey, Hampus Lindholm, Aaron Ekblad, Calvin de Haan, Anton Stralman, Adam Larsson, Shea Theodore, Thomas Chabot, Jaccob Slavin, Tyler Myers, Jack Johnson, Erik Johnson, Travis Hamonic, Ryan Pulock

 

Main Photo:

SAN JOSE, CA – JANUARY 05: Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks looks on during the game against the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center on January 5, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

LEAVE A REPLY