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Week 5: Fantasy top 50 defenseman rankings for 2017-18 lists most valuable standard-league assets for rest of season

by Brian Metzer / Fantasy Correspondent

Each week during the regular season, has you covered with an overview of the fantasy defenseman landscape. With production trends, injury news and top 50 rankings based on performance and upside in standard Yahoo leagues, fantasy owners should use this information as a basis for roster decision-making. 


MORE FANTASY RANKINGS: Top 100 forwards | Top 25 goalies



Samuel Girard, COL (1 percent owned): The three-team trade between the Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators on Sunday sent center Matt Duchene to the Senators, center Kyle Turris to the Predators and Girard, a high-end defenseman prospect, to the Avalanche. There's no guarantee the No. 47 pick (second round) of the 2016 NHL Draft will stick in the NHL for the rest of the season, but there's a much better chance of it now than one week ago. The Predators used Girard sparingly; the 19-year-old had three points (one goal, two assists), one power-play point and eight shots on goal in five games, scratching the surface of the potential he showed when leading all Quebec Major Junior Hockey League defensemen in assists (66) and points (75) last season.

He has joined the Avalanche in Sweden and is expected to play against the Senators in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series this week. He'll likely slot in on the Avalanche's second or third pair and see power-play time. Girard instantly becomes the second-most appealing fantasy defenseman on the Avalanche roster behind Tyson Barrie and is a player to monitor in keeper/dynasty leagues. One knock on Girard has been his size (5-foot-10, 162 pounds), but he makes up for it with great on-ice vision, mobility and a low, hard and accurate shot that is perfect for tips and creating rebounds. 

Torey Krug, BOS (78 percent owned): The Boston Bruins are dealing with injuries to some of their key offensive players, including forwards Brad Marchand, David Krejci, David Backes and Ryan Spooner. Although this has taken a toll on their offense (15 goals in six games since Oct. 26; 26th in NHL), Krug has become more of a focal point in the absence of those forwards. The 26-year-old has six points (two goals, four assists) with one PPP, a plus-2 and 10 SOG in his past four games. Although he's still minus-8 on the season, this scoring burst gives him eight points (three goals, five assists) and two PPP in 12 games. Fantasy owners of Krug should be glad to see him back on the first power-play unit over rookie Charlie McAvoy with forwards Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak.

New York Rangers: The Rangers have overcome a rough start to the season by scoring 27 goals over their past six games (most in NHL) and going 5-1-0. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is tied for the League lead in scoring at the position (15 points in 16 games) with Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues) and John Klingberg (Dallas Stars) and has a five-game point streak totaling eight points (three goals, five assists), four PPP, a plus-1 and 14 SOG. Ryan McDonagh (83 percent owned) has also bounced back fantasy-wise with six assists, 10 SOG, one PPP and a plus-6 in his past six games.

Video: NYR@FLA: Shattenkirk wires OT winner past Luongo




Duncan Keith, CHI: After scoring 15 goals over their first two games, the Chicago Blackhawks have the second-fewest goals in the League with 28 over their next 13 games. Elite forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have combined for six goals in the span, and the scoring drought is hurting Keith's fantasy value as well. Chicago's power play is near the bottom of the League (13.6 percent; 27th), and Keith has no goals, eight assists, two PPP and is minus-2. His shot volume has been strong (39), but he has dropped out of the top 10 fantasy defensemen this week for the first time in a long time.

Dougie Hamilton, CGY: The Calgary Flames are averaging 2.40 goals per game, second-fewest in the League. Hamilton scored his first power-play point of the season with six SOG in a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, but has been held without a point in 10 of 15 games. He's ranked outside the top 150 overall (155th) in Yahoo after a high average draft position (61.4). He's averaging more than three SOG per game (49 in 15 games), an indication he should eventually rebound. But the fact that he's on the second power-play unit, away from top forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, hurts his fantasy stock moving forward.

Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF: After scoring 45 points (six goals, 39 assists) and ranking fourth among defensemen in PPP (25) last season, Ristolainen is struggling to start the season. The 23-year-old is leading the NHL in average ice time (27:09 per game), but is still without a goal through 13 games. He has 32 SOG and 38 hits but only five assists and two PPP to go along with a minus-4. Worst of all for fantasy owners, he has missed the Buffalo Sabres' past two games with an upper-body injury. Ristolainen's struggles are certainly team-related, as the power play he quarterbacks when healthy has regressed from first in the NHL last season (24.5 percent) to 29th (11.5).



Standard Yahoo categories include goals, assists, plus/minus, PIMs, PPP and SOG for skaters. ... Value has been quantified based on factors including but not limited to past production, defense pairs, power-play usage, team's offseason changes, injury history, age, sleeper, bounce-back or breakout potential, anticipated regression, contract status, Yahoo ADP and overall upside for the rest of the season. ... Any players with day-to-day injury concerns (DTD) are noted. NEW - INJ. indicates a player who has returned from injury and rejoined the rankings.

1. Erik Karlsson, OTT (SAME)
2. Victor Hedman, TBL (SAME)
3. Alex Pietrangelo, STL (+2)
4. Brent Burns, SJS (-1)
5. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG (-1)
6. John Klingberg, DAL (+2)
7. Kevin Shattenkirk, NYR (+3)
8. Roman Josi, NSH (-2)
9. P.K. Subban, NSH (-2)
10. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHI (+1)
11. Drew Doughty, LAK (+1)
12. Zach Werenski, CBJ (+1)
13. John Carlson, WSH (+4)
14. Duncan Keith, CHI (-5)
15. Shea Weber, MTL (SAME)
16. Kris Letang, PIT (SAME)
17. Mikhail Sergachev, TBL (+4)
18. Will Butcher, NJD (+4)
19. Dougie Hamilton, CGY (-5)
20. Aaron Ekblad, FLA (SAME)
21. Mike Green, DET (+2)
22. Tyson Barrie, COL (+3)
23. Torey Krug, BOS (+4)
24. Seth Jones, CBJ (+4)
25. Ryan Suter, MIN (-1) 
26. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI (-8)
27. Rasmus Ristolainen, BUF (DTD)
28. Morgan Rielly, TOR (+5)
29. Mark Giordano, CGY (-3)
30. Justin Schultz, PIT (NEW - INJ.)
31. Jake Muzzin, LAK (+3)
32. Ivan Provorov, PHI (-3)
33. Charlie McAvoy, BOS (-2)
34. Ryan McDonagh, NYR (+4)
35. Nick Leddy, NYI (+6)
36. Justin Faulk, CAR (-6)
37. Keith Yandle, FLA (SAME)
38. Colton Parayko, STL (-6)
39. Jake Gardiner, TOR (-4)
40. Brent Seabrook, CHI (-4)
41. TJ Brodie, CGY (-2)
42. Brandon Montour, ANA (-2)
43. Jared Spurgeon, MIN (-1)
44. Oscar Klefbom, EDM (-1)
45. Shea Theodore, VGK (-1)
46. Hampus Lindholm, ANA (-1)
47. Colin Miller, VGK (SAME)
48. Tim Heed, SJS (+2)
49. Jacob Trouba, WPG (NEW)
50. Brad Hunt, VGK (-4)

Dropped out: Jaccob Slavin, CAR; Olli Maatta, PIT

Key injuries: Cam Fowler, ANA; Matt Niskanen, WSH; Ryan Ellis, NSH; Alexander Edler, VAN; Andrej Sekera, EDM


READ: Last week's Top 50 defenseman rankings

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