The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next month, which leaves some time for teams to jockey for seeding. That time has passed for fantasy owners, with playoff matchups underway in many leagues as of Monday.
There are many different strategies when it comes to setting playoff rosters, but one that seems to be gaining popularity is streaming.
Streaming is the art of picking up players on a day-to-day basis to bolster specific statistical categories. Maybe you're trailing in shots on goal, so you look to load up there to make a comeback. The same can be done with plus-minus, power-play points, or anywhere else you need some help to secure victory.
On that note, there are some under-the-radar defensemen that could be used as streaming options to help you secure victory in your fantasy matchup. They aren't the kind of players you'll want to hold for the duration of your run to fantasy greatness, but they can help you win a category or two along the way.
The Vancouver Canucks lost Alexander Edler to a broken leg back in February and recently announced that he would not be returning to the lineup this season. That has opened the door for Ben Hutton (2 percent owned).
Hutton, 22, has a bright future, but he isn't the kind of guy who is going to be on many Yahoo standard rosters. He can help you in a streaming capacity though, as he has 10 points in his past 16 games. Seven of those have come in his past 10 games, a span that's also seen him block 15 shots and put 17 SOG.
He's skating on the Canucks' top pair alongside Christopher Tanev (when Tanev is healthy) and averaging 2:12 per night on the power play. You'll be able to pick him up at will considering his low ownership.
There are two more options in Western Canada, Andrej Sekera (33 percent owned) of the Edmonton Oilers and Jacob Trouba (37 percent owned) of the Winnipeg Jets. Each is readily available and brings different categories to the table.
Video: NSH@WPG: Trouba snaps the puck past Rinne
Sekera has 20 shots in his past eight games. That bolsters a category for you, but he's also contributed four assists, a plus-2 rating and 16 blocked shots over that span. He gets plenty of ice with Edmonton's talented group of forwards and is logging 2:15 per night on the power play.
If you're in the market for blocked shots, Trouba could be perfect for you. He has 36 blocks in his past 15 games. He's also contributed 25 hits and 28 SOG in that span with five points. Trouba is also carrying a plus-8 rating over his past nine games.
Surprisingly, Zach Bogosian (8 percent owned) of the Buffalo Sabres has been a SOG machine of late. He leads defensemen in the statistic since March 1 with 25 in seven games. He has four points, nine blocked shots and a plus-4 rating in that span.
If plus-minus is on your menu, Paul Martin of the San Jose Sharks is glad to oblige. He's not scoring a ton, but his presence on a pairing with the high-scoring Brent Burns has him on the ice for a ton of goals. That has manifested itself in a plus-10 rating over his past 16 games. He has four assists and 23 blocked shots over that span and is owned in one percent of leagues.
Penalty minutes can be a tricky area in fantasy hockey. Typically they aren't worth the roster spot, because the player might cost you too much in terms of other categories. Enter Radko Gudas (23 percent owned) of the Philadelphia Flyers. Gudas has 53 penalty minutes in his past 17 games and has the most in the League among defensemen since Feb. 14 (32). He had a recent seven-game stretch between Feb. 20 and March 5 that saw him pick up two goals and seven points and he's averaging three SOG per game over his past 12.
Last but not least, here's an option that brings a little bit of everything to the table: Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild. Dumba is available in more than 70 percent of Yahoo leagues, but his ownership is on the rise. He has five goals, 13 points and 49 SOG over his past 22 games. He has a plus-7 rating in March and is showing why he was picked No. 7 in the 2012 NHL Draft.
The aforementioned players can help in at least one category, but you'll also reap the benefits of whatever else they contribute, even if you don't need it.
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Weber is looking a lot like himself of late. He ended February with a four-game scoreless drought, then missed three games with a lower-body injury. He rejoined the lineup on March 1 and had one goal and three points in a 5-3 victory against the Dallas Stars. That sparked a run that's seen him pick up two goals, eight points, 20 SOG, 12 hits and 18 blocked shots over his past seven games. Take full advantage of this run and use him on a nightly basis.
Video: DAL@NSH: Weber nets the PPG with slap shot
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Hedman has picked a bad time to cool off. After flying out of the gates into 2016 with 18 points in 19 games between Jan. 2 and Feb. 18, he has one point in his past 14 games. He does not have a power-play point in 17 games. It is hard not to use him because of his all-around skill and the team he plays on, but it might be wise to play your hot hands from night to night in the fantasy playoffs. Hedman does have 35 SOG in this span and the allure of other contributions should keep him in fantasy lineups.
KEEP AN EYE ON
Dennis Wideman, Calgary Flames
Wideman could be a sneaky pickup for the fantasy playoffs. He's appeared in two games since rejoining the Flames' lineup last Friday and has yet to pick up a point, but certainly has offensive upside. The Flames still boast Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie, but Kris Russell has moved on. That could open up some additional ice time for Wideman down the stretch, and, though he has two goals and 19 points in 50 games, he's one season removed from a career-high 56 points in 80 games. His ownership has dropped to 40 percent.
TOP 60 FANTASY DEFENSEMEN
These rankings are based on expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by defense pairings, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, PPP and SOG).
1. Erik Karlsson, OTT
2. Brent Burns, SJS
3. Kris Letang, PIT
4. John Klingberg, DAL (DTD)
5. Roman Josi, NSH (+2)
6. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (-2)
7. Shea Weber, NSH (+5)
8. Drew Doughty, LAK (+1)
9. P.K. Subban, MTL (DTD)
10. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG (-2)
11. Tyson Barrie, COL (-1)
12. Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (+3)
13. Duncan Keith, CHI (+1)
14. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI (+4)
15. Victor Hedman, TBL (-4)
16. Ryan Suter, MIN
17. TJ Brodie, CGY (-4)
18. Sami Vatanen, ANA
19. Keith Yandle, NYR (+2)
20. Brent Seabrook, CHI (-1)
21. Jake Muzzin, LAK (-1)
22. Andrei Markov, MTL (+1)
23. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS (+2)
24. Torey Krug, BOS (+2)
25. Mark Giordano, CGY (-3)
26. Ryan McDonagh, NYR (-2)
27. Nick Leddy, NYI (+3)
28. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF (-1)
29. Anton Stralman, TBL (-1)
30. Alex Pietrangelo, STL (-1)
31. Dougie Hamilton, CGY (+1)
32. Aaron Ekblad, FLA (-1)
33. Alex Goligoski, DAL (+5)
34. Francois Beauchemin, COL (-1)
35. Johnny Boychuk, NYI (-1)
36. Seth Jones, CBJ
37. Dion Phaneuf, OTT (-2)
38. Matt Niskanen, WSH (+3)
39. Andrej Sekera, EDM
40. Morgan Rielly, TOR
41. Erik Johnson, COL (+2)
42. Mark Streit, PHI (+2)
43. Mattias Ekholm, NSH (+2)
44. Michael Stone, ARI (+3)
45. Zdeno Chara, BOS (-8)
46. Matt Dumba, MIN (+5)
47. Alec Martinez, LAK (+5)
48. Cam Fowler, ANA (-6)
49. Ben Hutton, VAN (+6)
50. Mike Green, DET (-2)
51. David Savard, CBJ (+2)
52. Colton Parayko, STL (-3)
53. Brian Campbell, FLA (-3)
54. Jake Gardiner, TOR (+3)
55. Hampus Lindholm, ANA (+3)
56. Tyler Myers, WPG (+3)
57. Ryan Ellis, NSH (-3)
58. Trevor Daley, PIT (-2)
59. Danny DeKeyser, DET (NEW)
60. Zach Bogosian, BUF (NEW)
Dropped out: John-Micheal Liles
Key injuries: John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Niklas Kronwall, Alexander Edler, Jason Demers, Oscar Klefbom, James Wisniewski