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Fantasy defenseman bargains for 2017-18

Hamilton, Carlson, Chara can return value based on low average draft positions

by Ben Zweiman @BZweimanNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

There are a multitude of factors to consider when locating potential defenseman bargains in Yahoo fantasy hockey.

The most notable, particularly to start this season, is injuries. With Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators likely to miss the start of the season, he stands out as a potential bargain (18.6 average draft position) should owners in your league opt to go with a safer pick. That ADP will likely become lower as more drafts take place. 

 

FANTASY RANKINGS: Top 250 | Top 100 'F' | C | LW | RW | Top 50 'D' | Top 25 'G'

DRAFT GUIDES: Standard mock draft 1.0 | Keeper / dynasty | Hits | Faceoff wins

2017-18 PROJECTIONS: Forward points | D-man points | Goalie wins | Team previews

LISTS: Forward bargains | D-man | Goalie | Breakouts | Sleepers | Deep sleepers | Rookies

 

Other things to consider include which team that respective player is on and how their scope for the 2017-18 season is looking. Does said player have a history of outperforming his draft slot, and is a bounce-back season on the horizon? Many defensemen go overlooked each season, and it's important to figure out who those players are prior to your draft. Those picks will make or break your season.

Here are some defensemen with low Yahoo ADPs. These players should be around at least a round or two after their NHL.com rank among the top 50 defensemen and provide added value the later they fall:

 

Dougie Hamilton, CGY (NHL.com: 9; Yahoo ADP: 61.3, 12th among D)

There is nothing to suggest Hamilton won't finish among the top 10 defensemen again this season. He was fifth in 2016-17 after scoring 50 points (13 goals, 37 assists, 14 power-play points) with a plus-12 rating and 222 shots on goal. The Calgary Flames only got better this offseason by adding defenseman Travis Hamonic and goalie Mike Smith. Hamilton makes for a solid No. 1 defenseman who can be drafted around the fourth or fifth round in a 12-team league.

 

John Klingberg, DAL (NHL.com: 12; Yahoo ADP: 97.5, 22nd)

Klingberg gets a nice boost with the Stars after the hiring of coach Ken Hitchcock and the acquisitions of forward Alexander Radulov, defenseman Marc Methot and goalie Ben Bishop. When the Stars were the top offense in the League in 2015-16, Klingberg had 58 points (10 goals, 48 assists) and finished seventh among defensemen in Yahoo.

Video: SJS@DAL: Spezza, Klingberg team up for backdoor goal

 

John Carlson, WSH (NHL.com: 23; Yahoo ADP: 115.3, 28th)

The Washington Capitals' defense is thin with the departures of Kevin Shattenkirk, Karl Alzner and Nate Schmidt. But they still have a formidable forward group (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov), and Carlson will be tasked with running the power play. He had 25 points (five goals, 20 assists) in his first 42 games last season before a lower-body injury on Jan. 15; he had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 29 games after returning. Carlson is entering the final season of his contract and if he's 100 percent healthy, there's no reason he can't finish among the top 10 defensemen in scoring.

 

Jaccob Slavin, CAR (NHL.com: 36; Yahoo ADP: 171.3, 71st)

The book may be out on the Carolina Hurricanes, but not when it comes to fantasy. Many of their defensemen are being overlooked, including Slavin, who had 34 points (five goals, 29 assists) and was plus-23 in 82 games last season. He even had a stretch of 14 points in 16 games towards the end of the regular season. Slavin is second-unit PP time away from being an above-average fantasy contributor.

Video: DET@CAR: Slavin lays out for clutch defensive play

 

Ivan Provorov, PHI (NHL.com: 37; Yahoo ADP: 167.5, 65th)

The No. 7 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft had his ups and downs as a rookie last season. He showed enough promise to land a spot among the top 50 defensemen, but Yahoo owners don't believe the hype. Well, start believing; he had 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) in 82 games, partly as a teenager (he turned 20 on Jan. 13), which is impressive. Provorov should take a step forward and be a threat to score 45-50 points.

 

Zdeno Chara, BOS (NHL.com: 42; Yahoo ADP: 161.5, 46th)

Chara is entering the final season of his contract with the Boston Bruins, although the 40-year-old captain plans to keep playing. Chara hasn't averaged less than 23:20 of ice time per game since 2001-02. Expect strong coverage in goals, penalty minutes and plus/minus, with top 25 upside.

Video: TBL@BOS: Chara drills a blistering one-timer for PPG

 

Nikita Zaitsev, TOR (NHL.com: 47; Yahoo ADP: 175.3, 77th)

It's difficult to fathom that a defenseman who could be featured on one of the more potent power plays in the League is barely being drafted on average. Zaitsev, at worst, will be on the Toronto Maple Leafs' second PP unit, and will likely be on the first with some combination of Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitchell Marner, James van Riemsdyk, Jake Gardiner and Patrick Marleau. He was second to Gardiner among Maple Leafs defensemen in PP ice time per game (2:00), and 12 of his 36 points were scored with the man-advantage.

 

Damon Severson, NJD (NHL.com: 58; Yahoo ADP: 170.8, 70th)

Severson is another player who has a brighter outlook following the New Jersey Devils' offseason moves. The Devils acquired forward Marcus Johansson from the Capitals, and selected center Nico Hischier with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Add them to a group that already has Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique, and the offense is looking up. Severson expects to be on the first power play, which has potential; New Jersey ranked ninth (19.9 percent) with arguably a worse group in 2015-16. The 23-year-old has improved his point total in each of his three NHL seasons, so his ceiling could reach 40-45 points with solid coverage in SOG and PPP.

 

Other defensemen draft bargains based on ADP:

Kevin Shattenkirk, NYR (NHL.com: 10; Yahoo ADP: 63.5, 13th)

Shea Theodore, VGK (NHL.com: 45; Yahoo ADP: 166.5, 61st)

Mattias Ekholm, NSH (NHL.com 48; Yahoo ADP: 180.9, 79th)

Dion Phaneuf, OTT (NHL.com: 51; Yahoo ADP: 167.8, 66th)

Brandon Carlo, BOS (NHL.com: 52; Yahoo ADP: 181.9, 80th)

Noah Hanifin, CAR (NHL.com: 56; Yahoo ADP: 171.8, 72nd)

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