Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey contributor Brian Metzer provides in-depth defenseman analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer is your go-to guy for fantasy D-men advice all season long.
Long time readers of this column already know it, but defensemen can make or break your fantasy season. You definitely need the right mix of forwards, but you are not going to win your league unless you have solid players to fill out your four starting defensemen slots in Yahoo Standard Leagues.
There have always been a handful of guys capable of putting up big numbers from the backend, but it seems the number grows by the season. To demonstrate that fact, I pulled some numbers from a column I wrote following the 2011-12 season.
The top-60 defensemen that made up my final rankings accounted for 454 goals and 1,575 assists, or an average of 7.56 goals, 26.25 assists and roughly 34 points.
Of that group, there were 17 who scored 10 or more goals and 21 who had 30 or more assists.
Through the halfway point of this season, the top 60 have accumulated 313 goals and 933 assists, or an average of 5.21 goals, 15.5 assists and roughly 21 points, putting them on pace to eclipse the 2011-12 totals by a nice margin.
It is also worth noting there are already 10 defensemen with eight or more goals, two of whom have 14 or more, and 18 defensemen with 25 or more points.
With all this said, I wanted to take time to look at some of the top scoring blue lines in the NHL this season: how they're built, how many defensemen they have used, who gets the power-play time and if they have any options available for you on the waiver wire.
Before we jump in, here are a couple notes about the overall list. There are 13 teams that have gotten 80 or more points from their blue line collectively. The next 11 teams on the list have gotten at least 61 points from their groups. The Nashville Predators lead the way with 104 points and the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils bring up the rear with just 51 points apiece from their defensemen.