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Fantasy top 60 'D': Power-play points key category

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

FANTASY HOCKEY ANALYSIS

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

Scoring in fantasy hockey leagues has grown to include statistics like hits, blocked shots, and time on ice, but at its root it still comes down to goals, assists, and points. As part of that base scoring, many leagues have begun to give extra credit for things such as shorthanded points and what we're going to discuss today: points on the power play.

There are plenty of players getting power-play minutes around the NHL, but when you are trying to locate steady sources of productivity you have to consider a number of different variables.

First, you want to look at the team itself.

Is the power play clicking at a high rate? Which players make up the unit? Will the players in your lineup be the ones picking up the points when that power play scores?

One example of a power play you should target is that of the Arizona Coyotes. They currently rank sixth in the League with a conversion rate of 23.4 percent and they have two of the best power-play defensemen in the game.

Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson might not be available on your waiver wire, but if you are in the market for power-play production they should be on your trade wish list. The duo logs more power-play ice time than any other in the League, with Yandle skating 5:44 per night and Ekman-Larsson 5:27. They also pick up the bulk of their points with the extra man, with 94 percent of their combined 17 points coming on the power play.

Shane Doan, Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker have combined for nine points, but this power play flows through the aforementioned defensemen.

Kevin Shattenkirk
STATS PRIOR TO NOV. 5 GAMES
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 10
SOG: 25 | PPP: 7
Another defenseman who keys his team's power play is skating for the St. Louis Blues, in this case Kevin Shattenkirk. Alex Pietrangelo gets most of the headlines, but it is Shattenkirk who is picking up the minutes with the No. 1 unit.

He is averaging 3:51 of power-play ice time per game and has recorded 70 percent of his points on the man advantage.

We mention the percentage of points scored with the extra man because it is another important indicator. Here are a few others who have picked up large percentages of their points on the power play.

Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins gets to skate with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist and Chris Kunitz on the most productive unit in the League, and he has scored 100 percent of his points this season with the extra man.

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Johnny Boychuk of the New York Islanders has scored 78 percent of his points skating on a power play with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, while Mark Streit has rolled up 55 percent of his points on a unit with Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek for the Philadelphia Flyers.

All of the players we have mentioned are likely going to be trade candidates, but here are a few that might just be lurking on your waiver wire.

TJ Brodie and Dennis Wideman of the Calgary Flames are owned in 77 and 58 percent of Yahoo Standard leagues respectively, and they have combined for seven power-play points on the season. Trevor Daley of the Dallas Stars is owned in just 47 percent of leagues and has recorded four points with the extra man, and Jason Garrison of the Tampa Lightning has picked up two.


TRENDING UP

Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche

Erik Johnson
STATS PRIOR TO NOV. 5 GAMES
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 9
SOG: 32 | +/-: 3
Johnson plays huge minutes on a team with a number of young offensive weapons and that makes him a viable fantasy option in most formats. He isn't always as consistent offensively as owners would like, but he has collected eight points (two goals), 19 shots, four power-play points and a plus-3 over his past seven games. Johnson is owned in 74 percent of Yahoo Standard leagues and while he shouldn't be your No. 1 option, he can help your team.

TRENDING DOWN

Matt Niskanen, Washington Capitals

Niskanen's breakout performance last season seems like a lifetime ago, as the 27-year-old is stuck on the Capitals second defensive pairing and isn't getting top power-play minutes. While he has been an effective player for his team, he doesn't have much fantasy value unless he can start to be used in a bit more of an offensive role. He is carrying a minus-2 rating with three assists and 11 shots on goal. Look elsewhere for now.

Mattias Ekholm
STATS PRIOR TO NOV. 5 GAMES
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 3
SOG: 3 | +/-: 4
KEEP AN EYE ON

Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators

Ekholm had no points through his first eight games this season, but has seen increased ice time over his past several games. With that added responsibility, he has collected assists in three of his past four games and is carrying a plus-3 rating. He isn't someone that can be leaned on heavily by owners, but he certainly could be added in deeper leagues or on nights where the Predators are one of the few teams playing. He's owned in less than one percent of 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 Erik Karlsson, OTT (+1) 31 Marek Zidlicky, NJD (+3)
2 P.K. Subban, MTL (-1) 32 Trevor Daley, DAL (+3)
3 Brent Burns, RW/D, SJS (+2) 33 Mike Green, WSH (+3)
4 Keith Yandle, ARI (+2) 34 Matt Niskanen, WSH (-5)
5 Duncan Keith, CHI (-2) 35 Brian Campbell, FLA (+2)
6 Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (+2) 36 Andrej Sekera, CAR (+2)
7 Shea Weber, NSH (-3) 37 Matt Carle, TBL (+3)
8 Mark Giordano, CGY (+1) 38 Tobias Enstrom, WPG (+6)
9 Dustin Byfuglien, RW/D, WPG (-2) 39 Cody Franson, TOR (+2)
10 Kris Letang, PIT (SAME) 40 Jack Johnson, CBJ (+3)
11 Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (SAME) 41 Dennis Wideman, CGY (+7)
12 Ryan Suter, MIN (SAME) 42 Nick Leddy, NYI (+3)
13 Drew Doughty, LAK (+1) 43 Anton Stralman, TBL (+6)
14 Alex Pietrangelo, STL (-1) 44 Paul Martin, PIT (+2)
15 Cam Fowler, ANA (+3) 45 Dion Phaneuf, TOR (+2)
16 Brent Seabrook, CHI (+3) 46 Alec Martinez, LAK (+4)
17 Andrei Markov, MTL (-1) 47 Erik Johnson, COL (+12)
18 Jason Garrison, TBL (+3) 48 Alexander Edler, VAN (+3)
19 Niklas Kronwall, DET (+1) 49 Ryan Ellis, NSH (+3)
20 Johnny Boychuk, NYI (+4) 50 Dougie Hamilton, BOS (+5)
21 Alex Goligoski, DAL (+2) 51 Hampus Lindholm, ANA (+5)
22 TJ Brodie, CGY (+10) 52 Alexei Emelin, MTL (NEW)
23 Mark Streit, PHI (+2) 53 Jake Gardiner, TOR (+1)
24 Sami Vatanen, ANA (+2) 54 Kris Russell, CGY (+3)
25 Christian Ehrhoff, PIT (+3) 55 Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS (+3)
26 Tyson Barrie, COL (+1) 56 Michael Del Zotto, PHI (-3)
27 Damon Severson, NJD (+3) 57 Zach Bogosian, WPG (NEW)
28 Lubomir Visnovsky, NYI (+3) 58 Justin Faulk, CAR (+2)
29 Justin Schultz, EDM (+4) 59 Andy Greene, NJD (NEW)
30 John Carlson, WSH (+9) 60 Francois Beauchemin, ANA (NEW)

Key injuries: Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, James Wisniewski, Olli Maatta, Dan Boyle, Ryan Murray, Kimmo Timonen

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