Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com Correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with an in-depth analysis of fantasy defensemen in our weekly segment: "On the 'D'-fence." From updated defensemen rankings to guys you should keep a close eye on and much more, Metzer will be your fantasy D-man insider all season long.
If you were to take a look at the stat line for the Los Angeles Kings' Alec Martinez you wouldn't be blown away. You wouldn't be scrambling to add him to your fantasy roster for your playoff run and he'd likely only garner interest in the deepest of leagues, but take the time to scrutinize his game log and you see a player who quickly is becoming a must-own commodity.
He is in the middle of one of those special runs that players sometimes have. You know the kind we are talking about; think John Druce scoring 14 goals during the 1990 Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Washington Capitals or Lee Stempniak putting up 18 points in 18 games for the Phoenix Coyotes after arriving in a deadline deal during the 2009-10 season.
It's the kind of unexpected production that seemingly comes out of nowhere, the fantasy hockey version of a golden ticket in a Willy Wonka chocolate bar.
One minute Martinez, is putting up four goals, three assists and 48 shots on goal in 40 games, and the next he is being added in close to 800 Yahoo standard leagues per day.
What happened? How did he make himself one of the most coveted fantasy defensemen in the league?
Well, he reeled off 12 points in 15 games since the Olympic break. He has seven goals, six power-play points and 23 shots on goal over that span, giving you a player that can really help in your fantasy playoffs.
Martinez always has been known for having some offensive upside, but it just hasn't translated to consistent production. Prior to this season his career high in points was 16, set over 60 games during the 2010-11 season.
He has also had a number of injuries that have derailed his progression into an every-day contributor for the Kings. So while he has been in the league since 2009-10, he has appeared in 197 games, 55 of them this season.
The fact that he has been able to stay in the lineup and is getting more ice time than at any time previously during his career seems to be making the difference.
While he isn't shooting the puck a ton, he is taking full advantage of his shot when he gets a look at the ne and is scoring on 30.4 percent of his shots during his hot streak. So while he may not be able to keep this same level of production going, he should be patrolling every fantasy blue line.
While he is being added to rosters at a breakneck pace, he is still owned in 12 percent of leagues overall. Get him while you still can and let him help you to fantasy glory.
Jake Gardiner, Toronto Maple Leafs -- Gardiner is doing his best Martinez impression at the moment, as he has managed to put up 11 of his 28 points this season in his past 13 games. While he has had his ups and downs this season, he has been great offensively in March. He was riding a four-game scoring streak that came to an end Tuesday against the Calgary Flames, but he is a very worthy pickup for the playoffs. He also has 31 shots, three power-play points and a plus-3 in that 13-game span. He is owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars -- It seems that we have written about Goligoski in a trending up or trending down section more than any player this season and he is here again. While he has been streaky this season he is heating up a bit. He had four assists Friday in a 7-3 win against the Nashville Predators and added another assist Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. He is a plus-9 in his previous three games and is on the ice lots of time along with the Stars' top forwards, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. He also gets top power-play time as part of his team-lead 24:15 average ice time per game. Goligoski is owned in 51 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Tom Gilbert, Florida Panthers -- Gilbert was having a pretty nice fantasy season with 28 points in 73 games. Not sure anyone expected that kind of production from him after he earned his roster spot via a professional tryout during training camp. However, his season is over due to surgery to repair a sports hernia. Keep an eye on him during the offseason to see where he lands, as he will be an unrestricted free agent.
Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers -- We are placing Timonen here to alert you to the fact that he was out of the Flyers' lineup Tuesday after taking a puck off of his chin Sunday. While Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Timonen was "fine," he is listed as day-to-day. Make sure to monitor his status before getting him back in your lineup. He has been one of the hotter defensemen in the League since helping Finland win the bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
KEEP AN EYE ON ...
Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks -- Vatanen has been in and out of the lineup all season but looks to be gaining a bit of a foothold on a spot in the wake of an injury to Cam Fowler. Over the five games he has played since Fowler left the lineup, he has five points, two hits, five blocked shots and nine shots on goal. He is comfortable quarterbacking a power play and should be able to contribute some solid numbers if he stays in the lineup. Worth noting is his ice time dipped from 26:55 to 19:24 to 13:56 in his past three games, but he remains one to watch; he is owned in three percent of Yahoo leagues.
TOP 60 FANTASY DEFENSEMEN
These rankings are based on expectations of the season going forward. The plus or minus for each player is movement based on our most recent rankings -- NR means not ranked in previous rankings. They are based on a standard fantasy league with these offensive categories: G, A, plus/minus, PIMs, PPP, SOG.
1. Erik Karlsson, Senators (same)
2. Duncan Keith, Blackhawks (same)
3. P.K. Subban, Canadiens (same)
4. Alex Pietrangelo, Blues (same)
5. Dustin Byfuglien, Jets (+1)
6. Shea Weber, Predators (+1)
7. Keith Yandle, Coyotes (-2)
8. Kevin Shattenkirk, Blues (+2)
9. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Coyotes (-1)
10. Ryan Suter, Wild (-1)
11. Zdeno Chara, Bruins (same)
12. Niklas Kronwall, Red Wings (same)
13. Drew Doughty, Kings (same)
14. Ryan McDonagh, Rangers (same)
15. James Wisniewski, Blue Jackets (+2)
16. Brent Seabrook, Blackhawks (same)
17. Victor Hedman, Lightning (-2)
18. Matt Niskanen, Penguins (same)
19. Andrei Markov, Canadiens (+1)
20. Mark Giordano, Flames (+1)
21. Andrej Sekera, Hurricanes (-2)
22. Jay Bouwmeester, Blues (+1)
23. Brian Campbell, Panthers (+2)
24. John Carlson, Capitals (+2)
25. Torey Krug, Bruins (-3)
26. Jason Garrison, Canucks (-2)
27. Cody Franson, Maple Leafs (same)
28. Mike Green, Capitals (+1)
29. Marek Zidlicky, Devils (-1)
30. Matt Carle, Lightning (+1)
31. Justin Schultz, Oilers (+1)
32. Slava Voynov, Kings (-2)
33. Dan Boyle, Sharks (+1)
34. Christian Ehrhoff, Sabres (+2)
35. Mark Streit, Flyers (+2)
36. Alex Goligoski, Stars (+3)
37. Dion Phaneuf, Maple Leafs (-4)
38. Jacob Trouba, Jets (same)
39. Jack Johnson, Blue Jackets (+3)
40. Andrew MacDonald, Flyers (-7)
41. Olli Maatta, Penguins (same)
42. Erik Johnson, Avalanche (+1)
43. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Sharks (-3)
44. Roman Josi, Predators (+2)
45. TJ Brodie, Flames (+2)
46. Tobias Enstrom, Jets (-2)
47. Kimmo Timonen, Flyers (+1)
48. Tyson Barrie, Avalanche (+1)
49. Alexander Edler, Canucks (-4)
50. Jake Muzzin, Kings (+2)
51. Nick Leddy, Blackhawks (same)
52. Jake Gardiner, Maple Leafs (NR)
53. Andy Greene, Devils (-3)
54. Alec Martinez, Kings (NR)
55. Francois Beauchemin, Ducks (-2)
56. Jason Demers, Sharks (same)
57. Justin Faulk, Hurricanes (same)
58. Hampus Lindholm, Ducks (-4)
59. Kevin Bieksa, Canucks (-4)
60. Dougie Hamilton, Bruins (NR)
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