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On the 'D'-fence: Jets defensemen taking off early

Wednesday, 10.09.2013 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

By Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

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On the 'D'-fence: Jets defensemen taking off early
The Winnipeg Jets' offense is clicking, and it's not just up front. Their top four defensemen in terms of minutes have 11 points in three games, making them worth having in your lineup.

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.


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. P.K. Subban, Canadiens (same)
  • 2. Erik Karlsson, Senators (same)
  • 3. Dustin Byfuglien, Jets (+2)
  • 4. Ryan Suter, Wild (-1)
  • 5. Alex Pietrangelo, Blues (+1)
  • 6. Shea Weber, Predators (-2)
  • 7. Mike Green, Capitals (+3)
  • 8. Dion Phaneuf, Maple Leafs (+1)
  • 9. Keith Yandle, Coyotes (-2)
  • 10. Duncan Keith, Blackhawks (-2)
  • 11. Tobias Enstrom, Jets (+3)
  • 12. Zdeno Chara, Bruins (same)
  • 13. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Coyotes (same)
  • 14. Kevin Shattenkirk, Blues (-3)
  • 15. Niklas Kronwall, Red Wings (+1)
  • 16. Mark Streit, Flyers (+1)
  • 17. Drew Doughty, Kings (-2)
  • 18. Brian Campbell, Panthers (same)
  • 19. Jack Johnson, Blue Jackets (+2)
  • 20. Justin Schultz, Oilers (-1)
  • 21. Slava Voynov, Kings (-1)
  • 22. Alexander Edler, Canucks (+3)
  • 23. Cody Franson, Leafs (+3)
  • 24. Jason Garrison, Canucks (+7)
  • 25. John Carlson, Capitals (-3)
  • 26. Alex Goligoski, Stars (-3)
  • 27. Michael Del Zotto, Rangers (-3)
  • 28. Dennis Wideman, Flames (+4)
  • 29. Justin Faulk, Hurricanes (+4)
  • 30. Kimmo Timonen, Flyers (-3)
  • 31. Dan Boyle, Sharks (-3)
  • 32. Sergei Gonchar, Stars (-3)
  • 33. Brent Seabrook, Blackhawks (+1)
  • 34. Paul Martin, Penguins (+2)
  • 35. James Wisnieski, Blue Jackets (+3)
  • 36. Matt Carle, Lightning (+3)
  • 37. Andrei Markov, Canadiens (-7)
  • 38. Francois Beachemin, Ducks (+3)
  • 39. Christian Ehrhoff, Sabres (-4)
  • 40. Mark Giordano, Flames (+13)
  • 41. Victor Hedman, Lightning (-4)
  • 42. Ryan McDonagh, Rangers (-2)
  • 43. Jonas Brodin, Wild (same)
  • 44. Dan Hamhuis, Canucks (NR)
  • 45. Cam Fowler, Ducks (same)
  • 46. Lubomir Visnovsky, Islanders (+1)
  • 47. Tyson Barrie, Avalanche (+2)
  • 48. Dougie Hamilton, Bruins (same)
  • 49. Dmitry Kulikov, Panthers (-3)
  • 50. Jake Gardiner, Maple Leafs (-6)
  • 51. Torey Krug, Bruins (NR)
  • 52. TJ Brodie, Flames (+4)
  • 53. Marek Zidlickey, Devils (-2)
  • 54. Travis Hamonic, Islanders (same)
  • 55. Zach Bogosian, Jets (same)
  • 56. Brenden Smith, Red Wings (-4)
  • 57. Jay Bouwmeester, Blues (same)
  • 58. Patrick Wiercioch, Senators (+2)
  • 59. Nick Leddy, Blackhawks (-1)
  • 60. Niklas Hjalmarsson, Blackhawks (NR)

Players that dropped out of previous rankings: Jared Spurgeon

Injured: Kris Letang, Joni Pitkanen, Roman Josi, Fedor Tyutin

The Winnipeg Jets find themselves in good standing in the Central Division after one week of games and their deep group of offensive defensemen is a big reason why. Their top four in terms of minutes played have combined for 11 points (one goal) in their first three games.

Our No. 3-ranked defenseman, Dustin Byfuglien, is leading the way with four assists and that isn't shocking when you consider his history since joining the Jets.

Byfuglien has posted .55 points per game over his career, but that number jumps to .72 per game when you look just at his games played with the Jets. His shots per game also jumped from 2.99 to 3.73, which includes a season in which he took 347 shots.

The big rearguard has picked up two of his points on the power play and is averaging 4:24 of ice time with the extra man each night. He is also contributing in some lesser fantasy categories with nine hits and eight blocked shots.

Tobias Enstrom is also off to a tremendous start, posting four assists. Injuries have been a concern for the talented Swede over the past two seasons, but he is a must play when healthy since his breakout 2009-10 season in which he posted 50 points in 82 games. Since that time he has scored at a rate of .63 points per game.

Enstrom is also logging a ton of power play time, skating 4:13 with the extra man nightly.

Zach Bogosian might have been overshadowed by others in his draft class in years past, but he has shown signs of becoming a viable fantasy option. Though he's dealt with some injuries of his own, he finished last season with seven points (two goals) in his final four games. He's picked up one assist through three games and is worth a look in terms of defensive depth. He could eventually work himself up to D2 status if one of Byfuglien or Enstrom were to go down.

Lastly, rookie Jacob Trouba made the team out of camp and started with a bang, picking up two points (one goal) on opening night. He is logging 21:55 of ice time per night, which places him third on the team behind only Byfuglien and Enstrom, and should be grabbed in dynasty and keeper leagues.

The Jets' offense is tied for third in the League, posting four goals per game, and that will keep this talented group of defensemen flush in scoring opportunities, so make sure to get them in your lineups.

TRENDING UPWARD

Mark Giordano, Flames -- The Flames haven't been so hot in the early going, but their captain certainly has been. Giordano has picked up four points (one goal) through three games, posted an even rating and launched 11 shots on goal. He is owned in just 27 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Jason Garrison, Canucks -- Garrison scored 16 goals for the Panthers two seasons ago and followed it up with eight more for Canucks last season. Double digits might not be out of the question for him this season, as he has already scored two goals through four games and added two assists. He has nine shots on goal and is logging over 22 minutes each night. He is owned in 65 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Torey Krug, Bruins -- The sweetheart of last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs is at it again. Krug has picked up two points (one goal) through two games this season, both of which came on the power play and has added six shots on goal. Though he is a bit of specialist, he could pay big dividends and he's owned in just 25 percent of Yahoo leagues.

TRENDING DOWNWARD

John Carlson, Capitals -- Carlson has plenty of time to rebound, but he can do it on someone else's team. Though he is logging 24 minutes per game, he has yet to pick up a point. The biggest issue is that he isn't getting much work on the power play, where the Capitals have done most of their damage.

Andrei Markov, Canadiens -- Markov is off to a slow start, posting zero points through two games this season. He has only taken two shots on goal and is quickly looking like a guy who only has fantasy value on the power play, where he hasn't been able to do much to this point.

Brendan Smith, Red Wings -- Smith is skating over 18 minutes per night, but he has yet to log a point on the season. He has a minus-2 rating and has taken just two shots on goal. Sadly, he is in a similar spot to that of Carlson, having logged not even a single second on the power play this season.

KEEP AN EYE ON ...

Olli Maatta, Penguins -- Though Maatta seems destined to be returned to the London Nights of the Ontario Hockey League, he is taking full advantage of his chance in Pittsburgh. The youngster had a breakout game Tuesday night, picking up his first two career assists. He is plus-1 on the season and is getting roughly a minute of power play time each night.

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