After around two weeks of the NHL season and about two to three weeks of fantasy hockey, it is now the time to pick up some players from the free agency list or the time to make some great trades.
In this article, only the best and the worst defensemen for fantasy hockey will be covered. Other articles on goalies and forwards will be published soon.
The defensemen listed will be classified as a stud or a dud. A stud is a defenseman that is currently trending upwards, who is performing really well, and has been playing consistently throughout the games so far. They should be picked up or traded for as soon as possible.
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A dud is a player that has been underachieving or playing poorly and are currently trending downwards. They should be traded or dropped as soon as possible.
1. Torey Krug, Boston Bruins
Torey Krug has been one of the best players for the Boston Bruins so far this year. He has been a major asset to the team in the blue line, covering up for the absence of key defenders Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. Krug averages 23:25 minutes per game and contributed six assists so far. Krug also contributed greatly to Boston's exciting powerplay as well, registering five power play points.
If Krug is on the free agency or in a very lucky fantasy manager's team, pick him up or trade for Krug. If Krug maintains his role in the Bruin's lineup, he is primed to have a great season this year.
2. John Klingberg, Dallas Stars
John Klingberg has been one of the most exciting rookie NHL defensemen last year as he managed to notch 40 points in 65 games. With the departure of Trevor Daley, Klingberg has been forced to assume a much larger role in the Dallas Star's lineup.
Klingberg currently quarterbacks one of the league's deadliest power play units. He plays with Jason Spezza, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Patrick Sharp. Klingberg registered a goal and five assists so far this season as well as 14 shots.
Klingberg is primed to have an extremely productive season if he continues to play behind Sharp, Seguin and Benn. Pick him up if he is still available or trade for Klingberg because he will contribute lots of points this year.
3. Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
Roman Josi had a breakout year last year when he managed to notch 55 points alongside Shea Weber and rookie Filip Forsberg. This year, Josi will assume a much larger role after his amazing season.
The Nashville lineup hasn't changed a lot since last year as Josi is still playing with Weber, behind James Neal and Filip Forsberg on the five on five situations and power plays.
However, despite the lack of offseason changes, Josi's production has continued to be strong. Josi scored two goals and three assists and registered a solid 19 shots on goal so far. If Josi's game continues at the current rate, he may very easily overtake Shea Weber as Nashville's top producing defenseman.
Make a trade for Josi when you have the opportunity to do so. His potential is endless and he is primed to have a great season given his important role in the Nashville lineup.
1. Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh's shaky defense is founded on a large group of youngsters, with Olli Maatta being one of them. During training camp and the preseason games, Maatta proved to be the best out of all the young defensemen and earned himself a spot next to Kris Letang.
However, Maatta failed to produce the way he was expected to and has since been moved to the second line with Ben Lovejoy.
Maatta plays about 16:48 minutes per game, and has only scored one goal so far this season. He also shoots on average 1.125 shots per game which is horrible for any defenseman from a fantasy standpoint. Drop Maatta as soon as possible because there are many better defensemen out there.
2. Toby Enstrom, Winnipeg Jets
Enstrom has been a huge disappointment in the relatively successful Jets team. Although he plays with one of the most lethal first lines (Wheeler, Little, Ladd) in the NHL and Dustin Byfuglien, Enstrom has been extremely quiet so far this season.
Enstrom has no points and two shots so far this season and these numbers are far from being promising. Also, with surging defensemen like Tyler Myers and Jacob Trouba, it is only a matter of time before Enstrom loses his position in the first defensive pairing for the Jets.
Drop Enstrom if you have him because chances are, he isn't going to improve his stats anytime soon.
3. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Duncan Keith has been trending downwards after last season from a fantasy standpoint. The Blackhawks assistant captain has been contributing less and less every season. Although Keith is still a very valuable defenseman, his fantasy value lacks due to his production issues.
With the offseason moves that took away key forwards like Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeg, Keith is given less options to create opportunities with.
Keith has managed to shoot eight shots on net and he made only two assists in six games this season. Even worse, Keith suffered a tear in his right knee. Keith will be out for around four to six weeks which will make any team in any fantasy league suffer from his absence.
Trade Keith for a younger defenseman if you can. Keith will only get older and his numbers and health are beginning to decline. Keith is no longer a top tier defenseman like he was a few years ago.
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