There's no doubt people will question Shea Weber being our top fantasy blueliner. Truth is, there are a few players that could hold down the top spot, but we believe Weber possesses the most upside -- and his track record suggests just that.
With the exception of an injury-plagued season in 2007-08, Weber has recorded at least 16 goals in every full season since arriving in the NHL in 2005, with a career-best 23 in '08-09. Take into account that only four other defensemen (Dustin Byfuglien, Lubomir Visnovsky, Brent Burns and Nicklas Lidstrom) scored more than 16 goals last season and you're staring at one consistent, high-scoring blueliner. Also remember that Weber is solid in the plus/minus category, takes tons of shots and has a knack for playing a very physical game, which leads to a healthy amount of penalty minutes. Altogether, this makes Weber the most well-rounded fantasy defenseman and our No. 1 guy.
It's always difficult to know when to select your first defenseman in a fantasy draft, but remember: they simply won't outproduce many forwards. Visnovsky led all blueliners with 68 points last season, but 27 forwards finished with more points than that. Furthermore, only three d-men ranked among the top 75 NHL players in points (Visnovsky, Lidstrom and Keith Yandle). While it's important to have a clear-cut No. 1 defenseman on your squad, don't go off the board and select one too early -- you're guaranteed to regret it.
You could make up ground later in the draft by selecting youngsters who could potentially break out this season. Guys like Alex Pietrangelo, John Carlson, Cam Fowler and Ryan Ellis all have tons of potential and could impact your fantasy team in a big way.
Let the games begin: Fantasy league formats and strategies
Top 175 | Top 50 Breakdown | Centers | Left Wings | Right Wings | Goalies
|58.||Michael Del Zotto|
Just Missed: Jamie McBain, Dan Girardi, Jay Bouwmeester, Ed Jovanovski, Bryan McCabe, Victor Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Andy Greene, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Erik Gudbranson
Contact Matt Cubeta at MCubeta@nhl.com
On a weekly basis during the regular season, NHL.com will answer the most compelling fantasy hockey questions from you, the fans.
To submit a question for NHL.com's Fantasy Mailbag, contact fantasy insider Pete Jensen at PJensen@NHL.com.
Follow us on twitter @NHLcomFantasy