All season long, NHL.com's Brian Metzer will rank the top 50 fantasy defensemen for standard Yahoo leagues (goals, assists, plus/minus, penalty minutes, power-play points, shots on goal). Players with long-term injuries have been removed from this list.
These rankings are based on expectations for the rest of the season. Value is quantified by defense pairs, power-play usage, past performance and overall upside in standard leagues. Changes in value each week are based on recent performance and/or lineup trends.
The New York Rangers had some spots to fill on their blue line entering the season after losing Dan Boyle to retirement and Keith Yandle to free agency. That need sparked a draft day trade that saw general manager Jeff Gorton send a fourth-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Nick Holden.
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Holden (29 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) has been a steadying force for the Rangers, playing with Marc Staal. Holden has played in 37 games and has added to his value by chipping in offensively which makes him intriguing for fantasy owners.
The 29-year-old might not be the first name you'd think of when looking for a player to bolster your defense, but he's quickly becoming that with six goals, 12 assists and 18 points this season. He has three goals and six points in his past nine games and has seen an uptick in minutes over that span logging 21 or more in six of them.
Video: OTT@NYR: Holden nets wraparound for second goal
Holden had career highs in goals (10) and points (25) in 54 games with the Colorado Avalanche in 2013-14 and has shown that level of offensive production this season.
Holden also has an attractive plus-14 rating, 10 penalty minutes and 31 shots on goal. He also has 70 hits and 40 blocks which can be very valuable if your league counts those statistics.
He isn't getting a ton of power-play time, averaging 29 seconds per game to rank fourth among Rangers defensemen, but does have two power-play points. One reason for him not playing much on that unit is his shot accuracy; Holden has missed the net 27 times this season.
Holden may not end up among the top scorers at the position this season, but 10 goals and 35 points could be a possibility. That production could be valuable especially if an injury causes you the need for a defensemen.
Video: OTT@NYR: Holden strikes from along the goal line
T.J. Brodie of the Calgary Flames (31 percent owned) was drafted in 99 percent of leagues after posting back-to-back 40-plus point seasons. But the Flames struggled out of the gate and so did Brodie. He was among the most dropped players several weeks ago, but it looks like he's started to round into form. Brodie has two goals and six points in his past six games with three of those points coming on the power play. That has pushed his season totals to three goals, 13 points, 12 PIMs, five power play points and 37 shots. The drawback with Brodie is a minus-18 rating, although he has had a plus-rating in back-to-back games.
Roman Josi had a career-high 61 points last season, the third straight season he set a career high. Unfortunately for the Predators and fantasy owners, it doesn't appear he will accomplish that feat again this season. He's still on pace for 40-plus points, but is going through a tough scoreless stretch and hasn't had a goal in seven games. Josi has three points in his past nine games. The 26-year-old is a minus-6 over his past six games, but if there is a sign of hope, it's that he's shooting the puck a lot. Josi has 35 shots on goal over his past 10 games and has 104 through 34 games. His biggest issue might be that he is scoring on a career-low 4.8 percent of his shots. We have to assume that his percentage will eventually go up, especially considering that Josi has scored on at least 7.1 percent of his shots in four of his first five seasons in the league.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins got Trevor Daley (10 percent owned) back in the lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. He had an assist, one SOG, three hits and a plus-1 rating in a 3-2 Penguins victory. Daley played on a pairing with Justin Schultz, who became the first Penguins defenseman to have 17 points in a calendar month since Sergei Zubov did it in March of 1996.
- Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has been skating with the team wearing a non-contact jersey and if he doesn't play on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens, he should return on Jan. 8, the Penguins' next game.
- P.K. Subban of the Predators has missed five games with an upper-body injury and has been ruled out for the team's next two games.
- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has points in six of seven games (two goals, 10 assists). This hot streak has seen him jump to third in scoring among defensemen with seven goals and 31 points. - Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Mark Streit is getting close to returning to the lineup, and could return Friday against the San Jose Sharks.
Video: ARI@PIT: Daley scorches a one-timer home from slot
Top 50 Fantasy Defensemen
These rankings were last updated Dec. 29
1. Brent Burns, SJS (SAME)
2. Erik Karlsson, OTT (SAME)
3. Victor Hedman, TBL (+1)
4. Shea Weber, MTL (-1)
5. Zach Werenski, CBJ (SAME)
6. Kevin Shattenkirk, STL (SAME)
7. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG (SAME)
8. Ryan Suter, MIN (+2)
9. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF (+3)
10. Drew Doughty, LAK (+1)
11. Roman Josi, NSH (-2)
12. Duncan Keith, CHI (+1)
13. Ryan McDonagh, NYR (+2)
14. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI (SAME)
15. John Carlson, WSH (+7)
16. Brent Seabrook, CHI (SAME)
17. Keith Yandle, FLA (SAME)
18. Mark Giordano, CGY (SAME)
19. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (SAME)
20. Dougie Hamilton, CGY (SAME)
21. Justin Schultz, PIT (+12)
22. Colton Parayko, STL (+3)
23. Cam Fowler, ANA (-2)
24. Alex Pietrangelo, STL (SAME)
25. John Klingberg, DAL (+2)
26. Torey Krug, BOS (+4)
27. Sami Vatanen, ANA (DTD)
28. Alec Martinez, LAK (SAME)
29. Seth Jones, CBJ (+5)
30. Aaron Ekblad, FLA (+2)
31. Jake Gardiner, TOR (NEW)
32. Dion Phaneuf, OTT (+14)
33. Damon Severson, NJD (-2)
34. Tyson Barrie, COL (+4)
35. Matt Dumba, MIN (+13)
36. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, SJS (-1)
37. Ivan Provorov, PHI (-1)
38. Trevor Daley, PIT (NR - INJ.)
39. Jeff Petry, MTL (+10)
40. Anton Stralman, TBL (+1)
41. Ian Cole, PIT (-2)
42. Morgan Rielly, TOR (-2)
43. Matt Niskanen, WSH (-1)
44. Nick Holden, NYR (NEW)
45. Nick Leddy, NYI (SAME)
46. Jake Muzzin, LAK (-3)
47. Ryan Ellis, NSH (SAME)
48. Jared Spurgeon, MIN (NEW)
49. Mattias Ekholm, NSH (+1)
50. Dmitry Orlov, WSH (NEW)
Dropped out: Oscar Klefbom (EDM)
Key injuries: Kris Letang (PIT), P.K. Subban (NSH), Andrei Markov (MTL), Justin Faulk (CAR), Mike Green (DET), Mark Streit (PHI), Tyler Myers (WPG), Alexander Edler (VAN)
READ: Last week's Top 50 defenseman rankings