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Canadiens' Subban ranked No. 1 fantasy defenseman

by Brian Metzer /

With the 2013-14 NHL season inching closer by the day, has you covered with positional fantasy rankings. Based on projected lineups, potential Yahoo! position eligibility, past performance, injury history and each insider's opinions, Matt Cubeta (centers), Matt Sitkoff (left wings), Pete Jensen (right wings), Brian Metzer (defensemen) and Justin Goldman (goalies) bring you up to speed by identifying all the players worth targeting at each position in your upcoming drafts.

There are many different weapons you can wield when heading into a fantasy hockey battle; the defenseman is just one of them. Sure, the forward is the most formidable, but the defenseman is the wild card, the factor that can make the difference between coming in second and hoisting the fantasy crown!

Here is our creed.

These are our fantasy defensemen rankings. They can be your best friend, as fantasy championships aren't won without blueliners. You must draft defensemen before "he" drafts defensemen, and you must do so with faith that these selections will ring true as assets that will separate you from those who shun the defensemen.

As years go by, defensemen get more valuable. Gone are the days of one guy rising above the group and everyone else just sort of stepping in line. We're in an era that features a number of dynamic options, and this year any of P.K. Subban, Erik Karlsson or Kris Letang could have claimed the top spot. Each player has the ability to score at a point-per-game pace or to at least come close to it, as they put up .90, .82 and 1.09 points per game respectively last season.

Scouts often talk about the fact it takes defensemen a bit longer to develop, and that echoes in that 35 of our top 60 players are age 26 or older, but there are a number of youngsters that can bolster your attack. Players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who saw his points-per-game jump from .39 to .50 at the age of 22, and Michael Del Zotto, who could benefit greatly from a coaching change that saw John Tortorella replaced by Alain Vigneault.

Edmonton's Justin Schultz admittedly hit a wall last season after playing more hockey than at any point during his young career, which forced a dip in his production and in turn could leave him on the board longer than he should be. He is sure to build upon the .56 points per game he posted last season playing with a talented group of forwards headlined by Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Lastly, there are a number of veterans that have slid down our list this year, mainly due to the youth that has developed around the League, but they can still pay huge dividends. Players like Sergei Gonchar, who landed in Dallas, Montreal's Andrei Markov and San Jose's Dan Boyle could all produce upwards of .50 points per game.

As you know, forwards will provide the bulk of your fantasy punch, but do not neglect your blue line when drafting, because defensemen are scoring more than ever and can mean the difference between winning your league and finishing in the middle of the pack.

FANTASY FACEOFF -- DEFENSE: P.K. Subban vs. Erik Karlsson

RANKINGS: Top 200 Overall | Center | Left Wing | Right Wing | Goalies | Top 50 Analysis

2013-14 FANTASY SLEEPERS: Cubeta | Jensen | Sitkoff

NOTE: Positional rankings do not necessarily reflect the order of's top 200 overall rankings, which are compiled based on the individual rankings of the four insiders whose opinions were taken into account.

Rank Team Player
1. P.K. Subban
2. Erik Karlsson
3. Kris Letang
4. Ryan Suter
5. Shea Weber
6. Dustin Byfuglien
7. Keith Yandle
8. Alex Pietrangelo
9. Duncan Keith
10. Dion Phaneuf
11. Kevin Shattenkirk
12. Zdeno Chara
13. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
14. Niklas Kronwall
15. Mike Green
16. Drew Doughty
17. Tobias Enstrom
18. Mark Streit
19. Brian Campbell
20. Justin Schultz
21. Jack Johnson
22. Slava Voynov
23. Alex Goligoski
24. John Carlson
25. Michael Del Zotto
26. Alexander Edler
27. Kimmo Timonen
28. Dan Boyle
29. Cody Franson
30. Sergei Gonchar
Rank Team Player
31. Andrei Markov
32. Jason Garrison
33. Brent Seabrook
34. Dennis Wideman
35. Christian Ehrhoff
36. Justin Faulk
37. Victor Hedman
38. James Wisniewski
39. Matt Carle
40. Jake Gardiner
41. Ryan McDonagh
42. Paul Martin
43. Francois Beauchemin
44. Roman Josi
45. Jonas Brodin
46. Cam Fowler
47. Joni Pitkanen
48. Dougie Hamilton
49. Dmitry Kulikov
50. Lubomir Visnovsky
51. Fedor Tyutin
52. Tyson Barrie
53. Marek Zidlicky
54. Brendan Smith
55. Mark Giordano
56. Travis Hamonic
57. TJ Brodie
58. Jay Bouwmeester
59. Jared Spurgeon
60. Patrick Wiercioch

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