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Fantasy top 50 defenseman rankings for 2016-17

NHL.com lists most valuable standard-league assets during regular season

by Brian Metzer / NHL.com Correspondent

All season long, NHL.com will rank the top 50 fantasy defensemen for standard Yahoo leagues (goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points, shots on goal). Players with long-term injuries have been removed from this list.

These rankings are based on expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by defense pairs, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard leagues. Changes in value each week are based on recent performance and/or lineup trends.

The NHL Trade Deadline is one week away (March 1, 3 p.m. ET) and defensemen likely will be the most coveted position on the market, as general managers look to strengthen their teams for the stretch run and Stanley Cup Playoffs. Fantasy owners should pay close attention because of the new roles of the players involved.

MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: TOP 100 FORWARDS | DFS PICKS: FEB. 22 | PROJ. GOALIES

A player who might not have had fantasy value a week ago now could get the chance to quarterback a power play or play more minutes, and that could lead to big-time production as the fantasy season begins to wind down.

On Monday, the Calgary Flames acquired defenseman Michael Stone (22 percent owned) from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2017 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2018 fifth-round pick. It might not sound like a huge deal, but with the Flames, Stone could produce like he did last season. The 26-year-old had career highs in assists (30), points (36), shots on goal (161) and powear play points (14), but has struggled this season with the Coyotes and had one goal and nine points in 45 games.

Flames general manager Brad Treliving worked with Stone as an assistant GM in Arizona (2003-14) and knew Stone when he was a standout in the Western Hockey League for the Calgary Hitmen.

"I was there when we drafted Mike from the Hitmen, so I know the kid and he's a good person," Treliving told the Calgary Herald. "That was a number of years ago - he's married now and has twins - but he's a solid NHL player. He can do a lot of things. He's a right shot who can log minutes, he has a heavy shot and can play power play and can kill penalties."

Video: TBL@ARI: Stone slams home PPG for first of the season

Stone made his debut Tuesday, skating on the third pairing with Matt Bartkowski and had an assist on Mikael Backlund's game-tying goal in the third period. He finished with one assist, two attempted shots, and one hit in 17:09 minutes during the Flames' 6-5 comeback victory against the Nashville Predators.

There is a good chance Stone will move up the defensive depth chart. The Flames were in search of a second pairing defenseman, specifically one with a right shot, to play with left-shooting TJ Brodie (28 percent owned). Stone took some shifts with the Brodie on Tuesday and could be a sneaky pickup down the stretch and could jumpstart Brodie as well.

Here are a few other players who could move at the deadline and the fantasy impact it would have:

 

Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues

Shattenkirk has been subject of trade rumors for some time and has the skills to influence the power play and transition game with his skating and puck-moving ability. He is owned in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues and ranks 11th among defenseman and 83rd overall, but could see a boost in production if he goes to the New York Rangers or Pittsburgh Penguins who rank first (3.47) and third (3.32) respectively in goals-per game. Regardless of where he ends up if he is traded, Shattenkirk has 11 goals, 31 assists and 42 points in 60 games and is closing in on career highs in all three categories. This is the guy to target if you're in need of a defenseman at the deadline, but he likely won't be cheap.

Be sure to pay close attention to his situation, because his landing spot could also determine where he should be selected in drafts for next season. The right spot could boost him into the top five players at the position.


Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche

Barrie (61 percent owned) is another strong puck-moving defenseman who could be moved, joining the group of Colorado Avalanche players mentioned in our top 100 forwards piece this week. Barrie has dealt with injury this season, but has two points, is plus-2 and has 20 SOG in six games since returning. He has one of the worst ratings (minus-25) in the NHL, but could be in for a major boost if he joins a contending team in a first-unit power-play role. Prior to this season, Barrie was one of seven defensemen with at least 100 points (102) in the two previous seasons combined and also had 37 PPP in the span (T-14th at position).

Video: COL@CAR: Barrie fakes, fires home a wrister

 


Mike Green, Detroit Red Wings

Green (38 percent owned) has one-year remaining on his contract that will pay him $6 million next season, according to capfriendly.com. That is a bit steep for a 31-year-old who isn't a rental, but he's had a productive season scoring 10 goals and 26 points in 50 games. He's averaging .52 points per game, which is up from the .47 he averaged last season. Green also has seen an uptick from 1.68 shots per game to 1.80. He's not going to come close to the offensive totals in his back-to-back 70-plus point seasons for the Washington Capitals (2008-09, 2009-10), but he can be very productive and can quarterback a contender's power play.


Cam Fowler/Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks

As reported by Lisa Dillman in NHL Trade Buzz on Monday, nothing appears to be imminent in terms of trades for the Anaheim Ducks, but Fowler (83 percent owned) and Vatanen (57 percent owned) have each come up in rumors this season. Fowler has 11 goals, 20 assists and 31 points in 61 games. Vatanen recently returned the lineup and has had an up-and-down season with two goals and 16 assists in 52 games.

Each player is capable of filling a top-two defensive role for most teams in the League and currently rank first (24:50) and third (22:01) respectively in terms of overall time on ice for the Ducks. They also rank first (3:13) and second (3:00) among all Ducks defenseman in power-play time per game. Fowler's fantasy outlook could be diminished if he's traded; Vatanen's likely would improve.

Video: COL@ANA: Fowler wires a quick shot past Pickard

 


Worth Noting

-- The Penguins have lost Justin Schultz (concussion protocol), Olli Maatta (left hand) and Trevor Daley (lower-body) to injuries, forcing them to use American Hockey League call-ups Chad Ruhwedel, Cameron Gaunce and Steve Oleksy. If the Penguins trade for a defenseman, that player likely would see an immediate boost in value.

-- Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild (57 percent owned) missed four games with a lower-body injury, but returned on Tuesday in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. He finished with a minus-4 rating.


Top 50 Fantasy Defensemen

These rankings were last updated Feb. 22 

1. Brent Burns, SJS (SAME) 
2. Erik Karlsson, OTT (+1) 
3. Victor Hedman, TBL (-1 
4. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG (+1) 
5. Kris Letang, PIT (-1) 
6. Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (SAME) 
7. Shea Weber, MTL (SAME) 
8. Duncan Keith, CHI (SAME) 
9. Drew Doughty, LAK (SAME) 
10. Torey Krug, BOS (+2) 
11. Roman Josi, NSH (SAME) 
12. Dougie Hamilton, CGY (+1) 
13. P.K. Subban, NSH (+5) 
14. Ryan Suter, MIN (SAME) 
15. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF (SAME) 
16. Zach Werenski, CBJ (SAME) 
17. Ryan McDonagh, NYR (SAME) 
18. Seth Jones, CBJ (+7) 
19. Keith Yandle, FLA (+1) 
20. John Carlson, WSH (+1) 
21. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (-2) 
22. Dion Phaneuf, OTT (+11) 
23. Colton Parayko, STL (+1) 
24. John Klingberg, DAL (-2) 
25. Justin Faulk, CAR (-2) 
26. Matt Niskanen, WSH (+1) 
27. Jake Gardiner, TOR (+5) 
28. Mark Giordano, CGY (+6) 
29. Cam Fowler, ANA (+1) 
30. Nick Leddy, NYI (-2) 
31. Alex Pietrangelo, STL (-5) 
32. Andrei Markov, MTL (+5) 
33. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI (+8) 
34. Tyson Barrie, COL (+6) 
35. Brent Seabrook, CHI (-6) 
36. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS (-5) 
37. Matt Dumba, MIN (-1) 
38. Jared Spurgeon, MIN (+4) 
39. Morgan Rielly, TOR (SAME) 
40. Aaron Ekblad, FLA (+6) 
41. Mike Green, DET (-6) 
42. Ivan Provorov, PHI (-4) 
43. Nikita Zaitsev, TOR (SAME) 
44. Brady Skjei, NYR (+6) 
45. Oscar Klefbom, EDM (NEW
46. Jeff Petry, MTL (-2) 
47. Jacob Trouba, WPG (SUSP.
48. Alexander Edler, VAN (NEW
49. Trevor Daley, PIT (DTD
50. Zdeno Chara, BOS (NEW

Dropped out: Dmitry Orlov (WSH), Alec Martinez (LAK) 

Key injuries: Justin Schultz (PIT), Tyler Myers (WPG)

 

READ: Last week's Top 50 defenseman rankings

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