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Fantasy top 60 'D': Giordano powers blue line feast

by Brian Metzer

Every Wednesday during the season, 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.


Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving back on Oct. 13 and those of us in the United States will do the same on Thursday. The holiday brings friends, families and loved ones together as they reflect on all that they are thankful for.

Those friends, families and loved ones come together for celebrations featuring traditional fare such as turkey and stuffing, as well as covered dishes and desserts provided by each of the arriving guests.

In keeping with that spirit, it is time for the defensemen of the NHL to gather for the second annual defensive fantasy feast!


The 2014-15 NHL season is in full swing, so has you covered with weekly fantasy hockey positional rankings, real-time spin updates and waiver wire advice.

These defensemen aren't cooking up culinary delights, but they are bringing a cornucopia of goals, assists, blocks and hits to help you win your fantasy league.

As always, goals and assists are the main course and some very familiar faces have toiled in that kitchen through the first 20 games of the season.

The interesting thing about the portion of goals is that the biggest is being provided by a red-hot player on the Calgary Flames, and his name isn't Mark Giordano. Yes, our top-ranked defenseman is among the leaders having notched six goals, but it is his teammate Dennis Wideman who's leading the League with eight.

Brent Burns (San Jose Sharks) and his dual eligibility at forward and defenseman comes with seven goals and his buddies Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators) and Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) have six each. The three can also provide plenty of sustenance across all fantasy categories.

Assists are a vital part of this meal, and Giordano leads the way with 17. Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues) joins the party with 15, Sami Vatanen (Anaheim Ducks) and TJ Brodie (Flames) arrived with 13, while Burns and Keith Yandle (Arizona Coyotes) showed up with 12.

No fantasy feast, specifically one hosted in a Yahoo Standard League, is complete without plus-minus. Luckily participating in a NHL fantasy turkey bowl in the backyard are teammates Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon (Minnesota Wild) who carry identical plus-13 ratings. Lined up against them are Christian Ehrhoff (Pittsburgh Penguins) and his plus-13 along with Anton Stralman (Tampa Bay Lightning) and his plus-12.

If goals and assists are tasty, those coming on the power play taste even better because they tend to count in both categories! Some of our already mentioned guests are providing a heaping helping here as well. Vatanen (12), Karlsson (10), Shattenkirk (10) and Yandle (10) all do some of their best cooking while their teams are up a man.

Radko Gudas
POINTS: 3 | HITS: 67
SOG: 36 | PIMs: 30
No meal is complete without side dishes, and while some will focus on the entrées we previously mentioned, others are anxious to ladle up big servings of blocked shots and hits, which are popping up in more leagues every season.

Radko Gudas (Lightning) has a recipe for hits that is to die for, already with 67 this season, but he trails Roman Polak (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Brooks Orpik (Washington Capitals) who have 83 and 75 respectively. Alexei Emelin (Montreal Canadiens) has 66 and just might be issuing a Bobby Flay-like throw down to the rest of the League's physical defensemen.

As this feast comes to an end for another year, it's worth noting it just might be our top-ranked D-man, Giordano, who offers you a little taste of all of the cuisine on this table. He has picked up 24 points (six goals), seven points on the power play, 56 shots on goal, and registered a plus-11 rating.

Thanks for taking part in year two of the feast; the boys will be back a year from now to do it again. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Ryan McDonagh
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 3
SOG: 22 | +/-: 0

Ryan McDonagh, New York Rangers

It's no secret McDonagh is a must-own player when healthy, and he appears in this space because he is close to getting back to game action after missing 24 days and 10 games with a separated shoulder. He returned to practice with the Rangers on Tuesday and coach Alain Vigneault thinks he'll be back playing within a week. His ownership slipped to 77 percent while he was out and he could be available in your league. It might also be a good time to work a trade for McDonagh, especially if he belongs to a less-than-savvy owner who isn't aware of how close he is to getting back in the lineup.


Mike Green, Washington Capitals

Even though he has gotten off to a nice start this season, picking up 12 points (three goals), Green is trending down because he has suffered an injury that will keep him out Wednesday. He has had trouble staying healthy in recent seasons and you should tread lightly until sure he won't have to miss any significant time.

John Klingberg
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 8
SOG: 11 | +/-: 6

John Klingberg, Dallas Stars

Klingberg has been a pleasant surprise for the Stars through his first eight games. After scoring a goal and an assist Tuesday, he now has eight points (three goals), all of which have come in his past five games. He's carrying a plus-6 rating, has 12 blocked shots and is owned in just 20 percent of leagues.


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

Key injuries: Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Zdeno Chara, Ryan Murray, Kimmo Timonen, Alec Martinez


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