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Fantasy top 60 defensemen: Markov's flashback year

by Brian Metzer

Every Wednesday during the season, fantasy hockey contributor Brian Metzer provides in-depth defenseman analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer is your go-to guy for fantasy D-men advice all season long.

Oct. 21 was recognized as "Back to the Future Day," a celebration of the day in the film "Back to the Future Part II" in which Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, travels from 1985 to Oct. 21, 2015 to save his future children.

That doesn't have a ton to do with fantasy hockey, but the time-travel aspect of those films was the first thing that came to mind while watching Andrei Markov have a five-point game Oct. 23 in a victory against the Buffalo Sabres.

That's the kind of performance we expect from Markov's teammate P.K. Subban, who just took over the top spot in our rankings, but it was the 36-year-old Markov with a game reminiscent of 2008.

In 2008-09, Markov set personal NHL-bests in assists (52), points (64), shots on goal (165) and power-play assists (32). A quick start that season saw him with one goal and 13 points in his first 10 games. That level production looks similar to what he's doing in the here and now.

Through 10 games this season Markov has one goal and 10 points. He also has four penalty minutes, 12 shots on goal, four power-play points and a plus-9 rating, which was plus-14 until he went a combined minus-5 in his past two games.

It might be folly to expect Markov to continue to score at his current pace. But it isn't out of the question when you consider that the Canadiens started the season 9-0-0; they lost their first game Tuesday at the Vancouver Canucks.

If Markov does continue at this pace, we could be looking at a season that sees him with an estimated seven goals and 39 assists. The goals projection is based on the fact that he has scored one goal in 10 games this season for an average of 0.10 goals per game.

To project his assists, I looked at the fact that he scored points in six of 10 games so far. If he were to do that the rest of the way, he'd likely find himself held scoreless 28 times, which leaves 44 games with the potential to record his average of 0.90 assists per game in that first 10.

It also is worth noting that the Canadiens are scoring 3.60 goals per game, which is 0.65 goals per game more than the 2008-09 season.

Markov is skating on the top pair next to Subban and each log time with a power-play unit featuring forwards Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher.

Subban entered play Wednesday fifth in the League and first on the Canadiens in average power-play ice time at 4:15 per game; Markov is second on the Canadiens at 3:33.

I like to think that Markov is playing Doc Brown to Subban's McFly in this Canadiens version of "Back to the Future." Markov and Subban might not guarantee a trip back to the Stanley Cup Final for them. But they bring far more than the 1.21 gigawatts of power needed to push your flux capacitor-outfitted fantasy DeLorean towards 88 mph.


Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues

Colton Parayko
Defense - STL
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 6
SOG: 20 | +/-: 6
A third-round pick (No. 86) in the 2012 NHL Draft, Parayko is starting to pay big dividends for the Blues. Parayko, 22, is skating on the second pair and getting time on the first power play ahead of defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo. Having the 6-foot-5, 226-pound Parayko has helped offset the recent loss of Kevin Shattenkirk. Parayko has played more than 22 minutes in three straight games. He had an assist Tuesday in a victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning, giving him three goals, three assists and a plus-6 rating in nine games. He had six shots on goal Oct. 24 against the New York Islanders has 20 shots on goal this season. He also can assist in secondary categories such as hits (eight) and blocked shots (18). His ownership is rising but he remains available in more than 40 percent of Yahoo Standard Leagues.


Trevor Daley, Chicago Blackhawks

I can admit when I am wrong and it seems that might have been the case with Daley. In three games without defenseman Duncan Keith, Daley's ice time has dropped in each from 15:49 to 14:23 to 13:29 on Monday. He has zero points, two shots on goal and a minus-1 rating during that span. While he still has upside playing in that lineup, it might be wise to look elsewhere for the time being. If you wanted to keep it in the Blackhawks family, keep an eye on Trevor van Riemsdyk and Viktor Svedberg. Both have seen their roles increase without Keith. Van Riemsdyk in particular has shouldered a larger load; he's played at least 21 minutes the past three games after playing as many as 19 minutes twice in six games with Keith in the lineup.


Ryan Ellis, Nashville Predators

Ellis is coming off of back-to-back 27-point seasons. He started a bit slowly this season but is heating up. He is on a pair with Mattias Ekholm and getting time with the second power-play unit. Though he recently missed a game because of a lower-body injury, he returned with a goal and two assists against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 22. He has 17 shots on goal, a plus-2 rating and is averaging one blocked shot per game. If you need blue line support, Ellis is available in 76 percent of Yahoo Leagues.


These rankings are based on expectations for this season. Value is quantified by defense pairings, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus-minus, penalty minutes, power-play points and shots on goal).

1 P.K. Subban, MTL (+1) 31 Francois Beauchemin, COL (SAME)
2 Erik Karlsson, OTT (-1) 32 Brent Seabrook, CHI (+6)
3 Brent Burns, SJS (+1) 33 Niklas Kronwall, DET (-1)
4 Victor Hedman, TBL (+1) 34 Aaron Ekblad, FLA (+3)
5 Dustin Byfuglien, WPG (-2) 35 Jake Muzzin, LAK (-1)
6 John Carlson, WSH (+4) 36 Andrej Sekera, EDM (+3)
7 Andrei Markov, MTL (+11) 37 Cam Fowler, ANA (-2)
8 Roman Josi, NSH (-2) 38 Marek Zidlicky, NYI (+2)
9 Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (-1) 39 Dion Phaneuf, TOR (+3)
10 Shea Weber, NSH (-1) 40 Olli Maatta, PIT (+1)
11 Kris Letang, PIT (SAME) 41 Alex Goligoski, DAL (+2)
12 Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (DTD) 42 Matt Niskanen, WSH (+5)
13 Mark Giordano, CGY (-1) 43 Nick Leddy, NYI (+1)
14 Keith Yandle, NYR (+1) 44 Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF (+1)
15 Justin Faulk, CAR (-1) 45 Trevor Daley, CHI (-9)
16 John Klingberg, DAL (+1) 46 Jason Garrison, TBL (SAME)
17 Drew Doughty, LAK (+2) 47 Seth Jones, NSH (+4)
18 Mark Streit, PHI (+2) 48 Zdeno Chara, BOS (SAME)
19 Alex Pietrangelo, STL (-6) 49 Jacob Trouba, WPG (SAME)
20 Torey Krug, BOS (-4) 50 Ryan Ellis, NSH (+10)
21 Dennis Wideman, CGY (+1) 51 Colton Parayko, STL (NEW)
22 Ryan McDonagh, NYR (+2) 52 Michael Del Zotto, PHI (-2)
23 Tyson Barrie, COL (+3) 53 Travis Hamonic, NYI (+2)
24 Johnny Boychuk, NYI (+3) 54 Ben Hutton, VAN (+2)
25 Ryan Suter, MIN (+3) 55 Trevor van Riemsdyk, CHI (+3)
26 Anton Stralman, TBL (+3) 56 David Savard, CBJ (-4)
27 Dougie Hamilton, BOS (-6) 57 Jack Johnson, CBJ (-4)
28 Sami Vatanen, ANA (-5) 58 Hampus Lindholm, ANA (-4)
29 Cody Franson, BUF (+4) 59 Marc Staal, NYR (NEW)
30 Erik Johnson, COL (SAME) 60 Toby Enstrom, WPG (-3)

Dropped out: Justin Schultz

Key injuries: Duncan Keith, Mike Green, TJ Brodie, James Wisniewski, Kyle Quincey


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