2021/22 Top – 10 Fantasy NHL Defensemen
I grew up spoiled, the NHL was at its highest scoring plateau ever, and yet we had some of the best defensemen ever in the history of the game. Nicklas Lidstrom, Ray Bourque, Chris Chelios, Dennis Potvin, Paul Coffey, Scott Stevens, Chris Pronger, Rob Blake and yes Leafs fans, Larry Murphy. While most of these guys were offensive juggernauts, Stevens became a terminator on the ice and played some of the most physical play in league history by sacrificing his personal offensive numbers for the glory of the Stanley Cup (three times). I consider myself blessed to have seen all these guys play live at one point or another in their careers, and hopefully in 20 years some fan like myself will feel the same about this list I have comprised below.
- Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay: Anchoring the best team in the NHL is no small feat, and neither is Hedman, at 6’7” he towers amongst most, and his play speaks for itself. Give him a full season this year and I’m calling another Norris and Stanley Cup his additions to the trophy cabinet he may or may not keep. Hedman is the best defenseman hands down in the NHL, prove me wrong, at 30 years old, he still has years of his prime left.
- Cale Makar, Colorado: When he joined the Avalanche, expectations were thru the roof, Makar did not disappoint, and will continue to play with his foot firmly on the Colorado gas pedal. He will win himself a few Norris Trophies along the way, and hopefully for the Avalanche fan base, a Stanley Cup. They are loaded in Colorado and buy into the team concept, so there’s no reason not to expect these prizes.
- Roman Josi, Nashville: One of the steadiest rear guards in the league, look for Josi to continue to lead the Predators in all defensive categories and most likely most offensive as well. Since the overpriced forwards (Duchene/Johansen) I’m looking in your direction fail to score at will to match their hefty contracts. Josi led the Preds in Blocked Shots, Total Ice Time, and PP Ice Time along with scoring last season.
- John Carlson, Washington: The “Rock” of the Blue Line in the U.S. Capitol will continue to the same into this upcoming season again. He is the point on the Caps Power Play, and leader in Blocked Shots, Total Ice Time, and PP Ice time. Carlson just 31 was second in Points in the shortened season last year with 44 in the 52 games he suited up for, so expect more of the same.
- Adam Fox, N.Y. Rangers: Reigning Norris Trophy winner certainly made Ranger fans forget about malcontent Tony DeAngelo and took away top D-man honors in Manhattan from overpriced Jacob Trouba. What a second season for the in state native, and his play really balanced out the thin veil the Rangers were portraying on the defensive side of the ice. I love the Rangers and would have been hoping they landed Dougie Hamilton, but not anymore, Fox could go as high as the number one defenseman picked in fantasy drafts, but don’t let him fall much further than this.
- Darnell Nurse, Edmonton: There may be more talented players behind Nurse in my rankings, but I love the way he adds points to a fantasy squad. Nurse hits, block shots, gets PIM’s and he upped his goal total from five to sixteen this past season and stepped up as the leader back there after Oscar Klefbom went down. The big man is just coming into his prime at only 26 years old, and he was third on the Oilers last season with 154 shots, behind of course, my man Leon and McJesus and almost 26 minutes per game make him to good to pass up.
- Quinn Hughes, Vancouver: He’s a Wolverine, enough said and I feel he’s a better player than Makar overall, but his team is still going through growing pains. Hughes will anchor this very young team and got some welcome help in Oliver Ekman-Larsson from Arizona to help push the Canucks in the right direction this season.
- Morgan Rielly, Toronto: I’ve never been very sure on Rielly as the anchor of this team and all it’s talent up front. He led all Leafs rear guards in points and anchors a deadly power play, but I just don’t have a steady love for him, he’s a jack of all trades, master of none, and I’m not liking the fact he has to step in front of the weak net-minding in Toronto also. You can take him, I’ll pass.
- Jacob Chychrun, Arizona: Now the number one defenseman in the desert, Chychrun will build on his young career and anchor the very sporadic forward group in front of him searching for consistency. The Coyotes did bring in help with the Ekman-Larsson departure, with Shayne Gostisbehere and the age defining Anton Stralman. The Coyotes are the leagues dumping ground for loaded contracts and this season is no different with Andrew Ladd and Loui Eriksson coming on board. Jacob will continue to lead the ice-time for Arizona and fight for a team lead in points, where he came in second last season just two behind Phil Kessel with 41 points.
- Charlie McAvoy, Boston: The anchor for the next decade in Beantown, Chuck finished sixth in scoring on a forward heavy talented squad and will continue lead the Bruins in points from the defensive side of the house. McAvoy led the B’s with 80 Blocked Shots last season, and in Total Ice Time which will also continue to climb as he grows as a player, and the fact he is the best defenseman by a mile in Boston. At only 23 years old, Charlie is not even close to hitting his prime and I see future Norris Trophy winner written all over him, and he will get to play top minutes with three of the best forwards in the league and quite possibly the top line in the NHL with Pastrnak, Bergeron and Marchand.
Reach out anytime to talk pucks, I love it, plus I play baseball and football in the Fantasy Realm as well @PolkaPat is my Twitter handle.