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Fantasy Top 60 'D': Severson serves up points

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

Each new season brings with it a few standout rookies capable of significant fantasy contributions; sadly they don't often emerge on the blue line. In fact, over the past four seasons no first-year defenseman has finished higher than fourth in the rookie scoring race.

That could be changing this season with Damon Severson of the New Jersey Devils.

Severson wasn't able to add to his totals on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, but he has played at a level that is far beyond his 20 years. Devils coach Peter DeBoer and teammates such as Jaromir Jagr have been blown away by Severson's poise and have spoken in glowing terms about his maturity, pucks skills and willingness to take chances to finish a play.

"He's playing the game like he's been in the League for 10 years," Jagr told Rich Chere of NJ Advance Media. "He tries stuff that a veteran would try and if he doesn't make it, he's going to try it again next shift.

"Sometimes that's an advantage kids have. They don't feel the pressure. They don't feel the fear. I was the same way. You don't think what might happen. You just play the game."

That accurately sums up Severson's game. He doesn't seem to feel any pressure at all as he effortlessly jumps into the play, quarterbacks the power play or starts a breakout from behind his own goal.

The 2012 second-round draft pick (No. 60) is playing big minutes for the Devils, logging a season high 27:31 on Saturday night during a 3-2 overtime win against Ottawa. He is averaging over three minutes per game with the extra man for a power play that ranks fourth in the NHL, and even gets on the ice with the penalty-killing unit.

All of that ice time has turned into productively for Severson. He is currently tied for second in the rookie scoring race, picking up four goals, three assists, a plus-6 rating and 27 shots on goal through nine games. He has added four hits and five blocked shots, but it is the offense that will help your team.

He might not be getting on the score sheet on a nightly basis, but signs point to him having a nice season. He is carrying a higher points-per-game average than Torey Krug (Boston Bruins), Justin Schultz (Edmonton Oilers), Jake Gardiner (Toronto Maple Leafs), and Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues) did during their first seasons, when each led first-year defensemen in scoring.

Severson has been compared to Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks, but it would seem that he might be a bit more Duncan Keith, which would bode very well for fantasy owners moving forward. He is owned in 61 percent of Yahoo standard leagues and that total is growing, so go and try to get him today.

TOP 60 FANTASY DEFENSEMEN

These rankings are based on expectations for the season ahead. Value is quantified by defense pairings, overall upside and past performance in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal). NOTE: Players with D/RW eligibility in Yahoo leagues (Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Burns) have been ranked as defensemen.

1. P.K. Subban, D (SAME)

2. Erik Karlsson, D (SAME)

3. Duncan Keith, D (+1)

4. Shea Weber, D (-1)

5. Brent Burns, D (+4)

6. Keith Yandle, D (SAME)

7. Dustin Byfuglien, D (-2)

8. Kevin Shattenkirk, D (SAME)

9. Mark Giordano, D (+1)

10. Kris Letang, D (-3)

11. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D (+3)

12. Ryan Suter, D (-1)

13. Alex Pietrangelo, D (-1)

14. Drew Doughty, D (-1)

15. Ryan McDonagh, D (+2)

16. Andrei Markov, D (SAME)

17. Torey Krug, D (+3)

18. Cam Fowler, D (+3)

19. Brent Seabrook, D (-1)

20. Niklas Kronwall, D (-3)

21. Jason Garrison, D (+3)

22. James Wisniewski, D (SAME)

23. Alex Goligoski, D (+4)

24. Johnny Boychuk, D (+2)

25. Mark Streit, D (+3)

26. Sami Vatanen, D (+3)

27. Tyson Barrie, D (+9)

28. Christian Ehrhoff, D (-9)

29. Matt Niskanen, D (-4)

30. Damon Severson, D (+13)

31. Lubomir Visnovsky, D (NR - IR)

32. TJ Brodie, D (+2)

33. Justin Schultz, D (-3)

34. Marek Zidlicky, D (-1)

35. Trevor Daley, D (+4)

36. Mike Green, D (+9)

37. Brian Campbell, D (-6)

38. Andrej Sekera, D (-6)

39. John Carlson, D (-4)

40. Matt Carle, D (-3)

41. Cody Franson, D (-3)

42. Olli Maatta, D (+2)*

43. Jack Johnson, D (-2)

44. Tobias Enstrom, D (+2)

45. Nick Leddy, D (+2)

46. Paul Martin, D (-6)

47. Dion Phaneuf, D (-5)

48. Dennis Wideman, D (+1)

49. Anton Stralman, D (NR)

50. Alec Martinez, D (same)

51. Alexander Edler, D (same)

52. Ryan Ellis, D (NR)

53. Michael Del Zotto, D (-1)

54. Jake Gardiner, D (-6)

55. Dougie Hamilton, D (+2)

56. Hampus Lindholm, D (-2)

57. Kris Russell, D (NR)

58. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D (same)

59. Erik Johnson, D (same)

60. Justin Faulk, D (-4)

Dropped out: Roman Josi, Zach Bogosian, Tyler Myers

Key injuries: Victor Hedman, Zdeno Chara, Dan Boyle, Ryan Murray, Kimmo Timonen, Sergei Gonchar

*- Maatta will remain active through Saturday, but will be out for four weeks following surgery to remove a tumor on his thyroid gland.

Brian Metzer
NHL.com Correspondent

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