Top 15 Fantasy Hockey Defenseman

Here are the top 250 skaters and goalies ranking in descending order based on their value in 10- or 12-team “banger leagues.” A typical banger league consists of the following categories:

Skaters Goalies
Goals Wins
Assists Shutouts
Plus/minus Saves
Penalty minutes
Power-play points
Shots on goal
Hits
Blocked shots

The obvious additions in these types of leagues are the hits and blocked shots, which add a huge component to scoring. Players with ultimately low ‘real points’ can still have exceptional seasons as hitting, blocks and shots can still cultivate huge points. With that in mind, the best defenseman will always be those who can get real points, as well as ‘fantasy points’ through peripheral stats.

  1. Erik Karlsson – for obvious reasons. Karlsson can score 80 points but also puts up massive numbers in hits and shots blocked. He honestly should be drafted top 3 in any league, no matter the scoring.
  2. Brent Burns – Similar to Karlsson, he also has the potential to score 70+ points, with more goals. He also quarterbacks the San Jose Powerplay which perennially tears up the Western Conference. While the Sharks window may be closing, Burns is also a top 5 pick in any league. He’s massive. He hits and blocks shots by accident. Previously had dual eligibility as a winger and D man. So he can score.
  3. Dustin Byfuglien – Massive lad, plays on a high intensity, young scoring team. Has probably weighed upwards of 260 since his 12th birthday. And he can go bar down whenever – soft hands. Similar to Burns, Big Buf had dual eligibility and the scoring touch of a forward.
  4. Roman Josi – Part of the deepest D core in the league Josi has the peripheral stats that rival Burns or Karlsson, but does not have the scoring touch.
  5. Victor Hedman – coming off a fantastic season, sans Stamkos, expect Hedman to top at least 65 points this season. With scoring options coming from Kucherov, Stammer, Palat, Johnson and many others, the big Swede has the potential to continue his dominance. He is a strong combo of points, hits, shots and blocks. If Tampa lives up to their expectations, expect his plus minus to be way up there.
  6. Rasmus Ristolainen – Yes indeed. While not having the points totals of the previous 5 members on the list (and limited Powerplay time) but his peripheral stats speak for themselves.
  7. Shea Weber – The guy loves to take slap shots and hit people. For the first quarter of the season, Weber made it rain in Montreal
  8. P.K Subban – If he can remain healthy this season, P.K will be a force to be reckoned with. After a season of adjusting to a differing role on the Predators, P.K playing alongside a developing Ellis, Eckholm and Josi will be a deep D core that will give teams trouble this year.
  9. Kris Letang – If he can stay healthy, he’s a top 5 D man. But he can’t and likely won’t play 60 games. So he slips on this list.
  10. Justin Faulk – Huge upside on the powerplay on the up-and-coming Hurricanes roster.
  11. Mark Giordano – Hits, Blocks, Shoots and plays on a young dynamic team. Will crack 50 points this season.
  12. Zach Werenski – The youngest player on this list, I really hope Werenski continues his breakout season. Klingberg, and the Ghost had similar seasons prior and took steps backward offensively as players began to acclimatize to quick puck moving defenseman.
  13. Radko Gudas – This guy likes to hit people. Whether it is misconducts, PIMS or blocking shots Gudas sits on this list with minimal offensive upside.
  14. John Carlsson – Had an off year last season on a dominant Capitals team
  15. Mark Borowiecki – bit of a oddball pick I know. Boro is a player with little to no offensive upside. He also can be healthy scratched or moved along the lineup. With the Sens having a tonne of new talent on the blue line, Boro’s job may be in jeopardy. That being said he led the league in hits last season, fought pretty consistently and somehow managed to shoot the puck. No Banger List is complete without Boro.

Bonus – John Klingberg – God I want him to be good on Dallas’ roster. With the additions of Hanzal, Radulov, Bishop and Methot, I really hope Klingberg can step up and score 50+ points this season.

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