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Fantasy top 50 defenseman rankings for 2018-19

Pulock sleeper for Islanders under Trotz; Red Wings' youth movement boosts Green; Petry has value with Weber injured

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / NHL.com Fantasy Editor

NHL.com updates the top 50 fantasy defenseman landscape based on past production and expectations for next season in standard Yahoo leagues. Fantasy owners should use these updated rankings as a basis for team evaluation, keeper decisions and offseason draft research. These rankings will be updated throughout the offseason after other signings, trades, injury and prospect news, training camp, NHL Preseason games, fantasy mock drafts and any other developments.

 

FANTASY COVERAGE: Top 250 | 100 'F' | 25 'G'Team power ranks

Mock draft for 2018-19 | Injury report | Free agency roundup | Cheat sheet

 

After 2018 free agency, here are some notable defensemen that have gained value as beneficiaries from offseason movement, coaching changes and injuries around the NHL.

Ryan Pulock, D, NYI -- Most of the New York Islanders roster has taken a fantasy hit after elite center John Tavares signed a seven-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the impact of new coach Barry Trotz could have a net-positive effect on the 23-year-old defenseman. Pulock was one of the lone bright spots for the Islanders amid their second-half struggles; they allowed the third most goals in the NHL and second most shots. Despite the Islanders' poor goal differential over their final 43 games (minus-28), Pulock managed to have 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists), seven on the power play (led Islanders defensemen) and was plus-8. The Islanders will play a more structured defensive system under Trotz, who won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals last season, which should benefit Pulock at even strength. If Trotz uses Pulock over Nick Leddy on the first power-play unit, he would gain exposure to Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal and could return value as a fantasy sleeper.

Video: NYI@DET: Pulock ties it up late with power-play goal

Mike Green, D, DET -- The Detroit Red Wings have made a commitment to their youth this offseason, but have brought back the veteran defenseman on a two-year contract. Green, who missed 16 games last season with a neck injury, was on an 82-game pace of 41 points, which would have been his most since 2014-15 with the Washington Capitals (45). The Red Wings weren't an appealing fantasy team last season beyond their top scorer, center Dylan Larkin (63 points in 82 games), but the future in Detroit looks much brighter after selecting forward Filip Zadina with the No. 6 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. In addition to Zadina, the Red Wings will have young forwards Michael Rasmussen, Evgeny Svechnikov and defenseman Filip Hronek all competing for roster spots. Suddenly, the Red Wings have some sneaky fantasy options, making Green an injury bounce-back candidate that will be underestimated in late rounds.

Jeff Petry, D, MTL -- The Montreal Canadiens defenseman will likely see an increased workload this season after news that Shea Weber will need 5-6 months to recover from offseason knee surgery. Petry was fantasy-relevant in the second half last season with 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists), including 16 power-play points, from Jan. 1 to April 9 (43 games). He was tied with Dougie Hamilton for 20th in the NHL among defensemen in points over the span and tied for sixth in PPP with Shayne Gostisbehere. Petry, 30, will likely play on the top defense pairing again and on the first power-play unit, similar to last season when Weber missed 56 games with a foot injury. Petry is even more valuable in points-only leagues because his plus/minus (minus-30 last season) won't hurt you, but it's worth noting he was only minus-8 over the final 43 games. The Canadiens are ranked 30th of 31 teams in NHL.com's fantasy power rankings, but Petry is worth a late-round flier as a fourth or bench defenseman given his expanded role.

Read: Fantasy offseason injury report

Video: NYR@MTL: Petry taps home Hudon's sweet dish

 

TOP 50 DEFENSEMAN RANKINGS

Standard Yahoo categories include goals, assists, plus/minus, PIMs, PPP and SOG for skaters. ... Value has been quantified based on factors including but not limited to past production, defense pairs, power-play usage, injury history, age, sleeper, bounce-back or breakout potential, anticipated regression and contract status (pending unrestricted or restricted free agent). Any potential 2019 UFAs (*) and RFAs (**) are also noted below. ... INJ. indicates players with injury concerns. ... Rob Reese's defenseman rankings may differ from Pete Jensen's order at the position in NHL.com's top 250 overall.

1. Victor Hedman, TBL
2. P.K. Subban, NSH
3. Brent Burns, SJS
4. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG
5. Erik Karlsson, OTT*
6. Seth Jones, CBJ 
7. Drew Doughty, LAK
8. John Klingberg, DAL
9. John Carlson, WSH
10. Roman Josi, NSH
11. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI
12. Dougie Hamilton, CAR
13. Torey Krug, BOS
14. Tyson Barrie, COL
15. Rasmus Dahlin, BUF
16. Kris Letang, PIT
17. Alex Pietrangelo, STL
18. Ryan Ellis, NSH*
19. Charlie McAvoy, BOS**
20. Keith Yandle, FLA
21. Ivan Provorov, PHI (INJ.)**
22. Mark Giordano, CGY
23. Zach Werenski, CBJ**
24. Matt Dumba, MIN (RFA)
25. Morgan Rielly, TOR
26. Aaron Ekblad, FLA
27. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI
28. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF
29. Jake Gardiner, TOR*
30. Ryan Suter, MIN (INJ.)
31. Mikhail Sergachev, TBL
32. Jake Muzzin, LAK
33. Brandon Montour, ANA (RFA)
34. Shea Theodore, VGK (RFA)
35. Erik Johnson, COL (INJ.)
36. Colin Miller, VGK
37. Colton Parayko, STL
38. Ryan Pulock, NYI
39. Justin Faulk, CAR (INJ.)
40. Justin Schultz, PIT (NEW)
41. Sami Vatanen, NJD (INJ.)
42. Will Butcher, NJD**
43. Mike Green, DET (NEW)
44. Kevin Shattenkirk, NYR (INJ.)
45. Darnell Nurse, EDM - RFA (NEW)
46. Mike Matheson, FLA (NEW)
47. Cam Fowler, ANA (INJ.)
48. Duncan Keith, CHI (NEW)
49. Jared Spurgeon, MIN
50. Ryan McDonagh, TBL

Dropped out: Shea Weber, MTL (INJ.); Noah Hanifin, CGY (RFA); Tyler Myers, WPG; Nick Leddy, NYI; Mattias Ekholm, NSH

Just missed: Josh Manson, ANA; Jeff Petry, MTL; Oscar Klefbom, EDM; Samuel Girard, COL; Quinn Hughes, VAN

 

READ: Top 50 defenseman rankings June 2018

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