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Fantasy defenseman top 50 rankings for 2019-20 on July 9

Josi gains value from Subban's departure, Duchene signing; Klingberg can benefit from Pavelski; Ekman-Larsson brings power-play exposure to Kessel

by Rob Reese @NHLReese / Fantasy Editor's fantasy hockey top 50 defenseman rankings are based on past production and expectations for the 2019-20 season in standard Yahoo leagues. For more fantasy coverage, visit and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.


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Roman Josi, NSH -- The Nashville Predators defenseman gained value after the departure of P.K. Subban, who was traded to the New Jersey Devils on June 22. Josi is the clear-cut No. 1 defenseman now and has had at least 53 points in four of the past five seasons. It's feasible that Josi can match or eclipse his NHL career-high 61 points (14 goals, 47 assists) from 2015-16, the season prior to when Subban joined the Predators. Center Matt Duchene, who signed with Nashville on July 1, also boosts Josi's fantasy outlook this season. Duchene could provide a much needed spark to their power play, which finished last in the NHL last season (12.9 percent). Defensemen Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm could also see increased offensive production after Subban's departure and should be selected in mid-to-late rounds of standard 12-team fantasy drafts.

John Klingberg, DAL -- The Dallas Stars defenseman moved up in the rankings after the addition of forwards Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry, who each agreed to contracts on July 1. Klingberg missed 18 games with multiple injuries but was on pace for 58 points over a full season. He had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games and should quarterback the top power-play unit with Pavelski and valuable forwards Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov. Defenseman Miro Heiskanen led rookie defensemen with 12 goals last season and could also benefit from the Stars' offseason additions.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI -- The Arizona Coyotes defenseman has gained value from the acquisition of right wing Phil Kessel from the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 29. Ekman-Larsson has yet to match or exceed his 55 points (21 goals, 34 assists) from 2015-16 but should have the opportunity to do so with exposure to Kessel, who has 174 points (T-13th in NHL) over the past two seasons. Kessel could also spark forward Clayton Keller, who had 65 points as a rookie but saw a dip in production last season (47 points). With the expectation that Kessel will provide a much-needed boost to Arizona's offense, Ekman-Larsson should be targeted among the 25 best at the position.



 Standard Yahoo categories include goals, assists, plus/minus, power-play points, shots on goal and hits for skaters. ... Value has been quantified based on factors including but not limited to past production, defense pairs, power-play usage, injury history, sleeper, bounce-back or breakout potential, anticipated regression, age and contract status (UFA: *; RFA: **). INJ. indicates player with injury concern. 

1. Erik Karlsson, SJS (SAME; INJ.)

2. Brent Burns, SJS (SAME)

3. Victor Hedman, TBL (SAME; INJ.)

4. John Carlson, WSH (+1)

5. P.K. Subban, NJD (+1)

6. Roman Josi, NSH (+5)

7. Kris Letang, PIT (+1)

8. John Klingberg, DAL (+4)

9. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG (-2)

10. Tyson Barrie, TOR (+3)

11. Morgan Rielly, TOR (-7)

12. Seth Jones, CBJ (-3)

13. Mark Giordano, CGY (-3)

14. Torey Krug, BOS (SAME)

15. Keith Yandle, FLA (SAME)

16. Erik Gustafsson, CHI (SAME)

17. Shea Weber, MTL (SAME)

18. Cale Makar, COL (+18)

19. Alex Pietrangelo, STL (-1)

20. Thomas Chabot, OTT (-1)

21. Matt Dumba, MIN (-1; INJ.)

22. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (+4)

23. Drew Doughty, LAK (-2)

24. Dougie Hamilton, CAR (-2)

25. Rasmus Dahlin, BUF (-2)

26. Miro Heiskanen, DAL (-2)

27. Quinn Hughes, VAN (-2)

28. Charlie McAvoy, BOS** (-1)

29. Shea Theodore, VGK (+1)

30. Jacob Trouba, NYR (+3)

31. Aaron Ekblad FLA (-3)

32. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF (-1)

33. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI (-1)

34. Zach Werenski, CBJ** (SAME)

35. Ryan Ellis, NSH (SAME)

36. Ivan Provorov, PHI** (+1)

37. Mattias Ekholm, NSH (+1)

38. Ryan Suter, MIN (-9)

39. Mikhail Sergachev, TBL (SAME)

40. Oscar Klefbom, EDM (+1)

41. Jake Muzzin, TOR (+1)

42. Josh Morrissey, WPG (+2)

43. Alexander Edler, VAN (-3)

44. Colton Parayko, STL (-1)

45. Ryan Pulock, NYI (SAME)

46. Vince Dunn, STL (SAME)

47. Justin Faulk, CAR (+1)

48. Filip Hronek, DET (-1)

49. Mike Green, DET (SAME; INJ.)

50. Samuel Girard, COL (NEW)

Dropped out: Ryan McDonagh, TBL

Just missed: Jake Gardiner, TOR*; Esa Lindell, DAL; Samuel Girard, COL; Cam Fowler, ANA; Travis Sanheim, PHI; Jeff Petry, MTL; Devon Toews, NYI; Erik Brannstrom, OTT; Jared Spurgeon, MIN; Justin Schultz, PIT; Darnell Nurse, EDM; Bowen Byram, COL; Adam Fox, NYR

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