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Fantasy top 60 'D': Devils' Severson serves up points

by Brian Metzer / NHL.com

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

UPDATED TOP 60 DEFENSEMEN RANKINGS

Each new season brings with it a few standout rookies capable of significant fantasy contributions; sadly they don't often emerge on the blue line. In fact, over the past four seasons no first-year defenseman has finished higher than fourth in the rookie scoring race.

That could be changing this season with Damon Severson of the New Jersey Devils.

FANTASY HOCKEY ANALYSIS

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Severson wasn't able to add to his totals on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, but he has played at a level that is far beyond his 20 years. Devils coach Peter DeBoer and teammates such as Jaromir Jagr have been blown away by Severson's poise and have spoken in glowing terms about his maturity, pucks skills and willingness to take chances to finish a play.

"He's playing the game like he's been in the League for 10 years," Jagr told Rich Chere of NJ Advance Media. "He tries stuff that a veteran would try and if he doesn't make it, he's going to try it again next shift.

"Sometimes that's an advantage kids have. They don't feel the pressure. They don't feel the fear. I was the same way. You don't think what might happen. You just play the game."

That accurately sums up Severson's game. He doesn't seem to feel any pressure at all as he effortlessly jumps into the play, quarterbacks the power play or starts a breakout from behind his own goal.

The 2012 second-round draft pick (No. 60) is playing big minutes for the Devils, logging a season high 27:31 on Saturday night during a 3-2 overtime win against Ottawa. He is averaging over three minutes per game with the extra man for a power play that ranks fourth in the NHL, and even gets on the ice with the penalty-killing unit.

All of that ice time has turned into productively for Severson. He is currently tied for second in the rookie scoring race, picking up four goals, three assists, a plus-6 rating and 27 shots on goal through nine games. He has added four hits and five blocked shots, but it is the offense that will help your team.

He might not be getting on the score sheet on a nightly basis, but signs point to him having a nice season. He is carrying a higher points-per-game average than Torey Krug (Boston Bruins), Justin Schultz (Edmonton Oilers), Jake Gardiner (Toronto Maple Leafs), and Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues) did during their first seasons, when each led first-year defensemen in scoring.

Severson has been compared to Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks, but it would seem that he might be a bit more Duncan Keith, which would bode very well for fantasy owners moving forward. He is owned in 61 percent of Yahoo standard leagues and that total is growing, so go and try to get him today.


TRENDING UP

Brent Burns, RW/D, San Jose Sharks

Brent Burns
STATS PRIOR TO OCT. 29 GAMES
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 12
SOG: 36 | +/-: 1
Burns spent last season skating on the wing and was very effective, but when the Sharks let Dan Boyle move on they needed Burns to shift back to the blue line. Burns, who stands 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, has seamlessly made the transition and is leading all defensemen with 12 points (four goals) in 11 games. He has 36 shots on goal, 18 penalty minutes, 14 blocked shots and 14 hits. It doesn't get more balanced than that. The good news is he still carries dual eligibility in Yahoo Standard leagues and that offers your team a lot of flexibility. He might not be available on waivers, but if you're looking for trade targets this is definitely one of them.

TRENDING DOWN

Christian Ehrhoff, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins expected big things of Ehrhoff when they signed him this summer, and that sentiment was echoed by fantasy owners who hoped he'd again be the guy who rolled up 94 points over a two-season span in Vancouver between 2009 and 2011. Sadly, he has yet to reach that level. He has just two assists and 10 shots on goal through eight games and isn't getting any time with the top power play unit. Until that begins to change, we'd suggest looking elsewhere for production.

Anton Stralman
STATS PRIOR TO OCT. 29 GAMES
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 8
SOG: 17 | +/-: 9
KEEP AN EYE ON

Anton Stralman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

If there is a silver lining buried in the injury sustained by Victor Hedman, it is Stralman emerging as a very viable fantasy option. He is skating on the top pair with Matt Carle, getting the No. 1 power play minutes and is currently tied for fifth in defensemen scoring with seven points. He has 16 shots on goal, 12 hits and six blocked shots and is owned in just 39 percent of Yahoo Standard leagues.


TOP 60 FANTASY DEFENSEMEN

These rankings are based on expectations for the season ahead. Value is quantified by defense pairings, overall upside and past performance in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal). NOTE: Players with D/RW eligibility in Yahoo leagues (Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Burns) have been ranked as defensemen.

1 P.K. Subban, MTL (SAME) 31 Lubomir Visnovsky, NYI (NR - INJ.)
2 Erik Karlsson, OTT (SAME) 32 TJ Brodie, CGY (+2)
3 Duncan Keith, CHI (+1) 33 Justin Schultz, EDM (-3)
4 Shea Weber, NSH (-1) 34 Marek Zidlicky, NJD (-1)
5 Brent Burns, RW/D, SJS (+4) 35 Trevor Daley, DAL (+4)
6 Keith Yandle, ARI (SAME) 36 Mike Green, WSH (+9)
7 Dustin Byfuglien, RW/D, WPG (-2) 37 Brian Campbell, FLA (-6)
8 Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (SAME) 38 Andrej Sekera, CAR (-6)
9 Mark Giordano, CGY (+1) 39 John Carlson, WSH (-4)
10 Kris Letang, PIT (-3) 40 Matt Carle, TBL (-3)
11 Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (+3) 41 Cody Franson, TOR (-3)
12 Ryan Suter, MIN (-1) 42 Olli Maatta, PIT (+2)
13 Alex Pietrangelo, STL (-1) 43 Jack Johnson, CBJ (-2)
14 Drew Doughty, LAK (-1) 44 Tobias Enstrom, WPG (+2)
15 Ryan McDonagh, NYR (+2) 45 Nick Leddy, NYI (+2)
16 Andrei Markov, MTL (SAME) 46 Paul Martin, PIT (-6)
17 Torey Krug, BOS (+3) 47 Dion Phaneuf, TOR (-5)
18 Cam Fowler, ANA (+3) 48 Dennis Wideman, CGY (+1)
19 Brent Seabrook, CHI (-1) 49 Anton Stralman, TBL (NEW)
20 Niklas Kronwall, DET (-3) 50 Alec Martinez, LAK (SAME)
21 Jason Garrison, TBL (+3) 51 Alexander Edler, VAN (SAME)
22 James Wisniewski, CBJ (SAME) 52 Ryan Ellis, NSH (NEW)
23 Alex Goligoski, DAL (+4) 53 Michael Del Zotto, PHI (-1)
24 Johnny Boychuk, NYI (+2) 54 Jake Gardiner, TOR (-6)
25 Mark Streit, PHI (+3) 55 Dougie Hamilton, BOS (+2)
26 Sami Vatanen, ANA (+3) 56 Hampus Lindholm, ANA (-2)
27 Tyson Barrie, COL (+9) 57 Kris Russell, CGY (NEW)
28 Christian Ehrhoff, PIT (-9) 58 Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS (SAME)
29 Matt Niskanen, WSH (-4) 59 Erik Johnson, COL (SAME)
30 Damon Severson, NJD (+13) 60 Justin Faulk, CAR (-4)

Dropped out: Roman Josi, Zach Bogosian, Tyler Myers

Key injuries: Victor Hedman, Zdeno Chara, Dan Boyle, Ryan Murray, Kimmo Timonen, Sergei Gonchar

*NOTE: Maatta will remain active through Saturday, but will be out for four weeks following surgery to remove a tumor on his thyroid gland.

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