Fantasy Hockey: Top 30 defencemen for keeper leagues

Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson talks about getting older and gaining weight in the offseason.

After presenting my top 30 players at each forward position (check out Top 30 Left Wingers, Top 30 Right Wingers and Top 30 Centres), it’s time to move on and rank the best defencemen.

Once again keep in mind that these rankings are for points-only leagues. As common as head-to-head and rotisserie leagues are, the points-only leagues are still king. And points (goals + assists) are categories used in all formats – something that can’t be said about PIM, SOG, Hits, blocks, PPPts, etc. So even head-to-head and rotisserie leaguers will find value in this.

Also keep in mind that I’m going to assign players to the position I see them in. So, you won’t see Jeff Carter (for example) on both C and RW lists, only C. And finally, I pulled these directly from my Top 300 rankings list. This is a ranking I’ve done monthly for years and you’ll see them on on the first of every month.

RK Player Team Rating
1 Erik Karlsson OTT 114.2
2 P.K. Subban MON 91.5
3 Keith Yandle NYR 76.9
4 Kevin Shattenkirk STL 76.0
5 Oliver Ekman-Larsson ARI 68.1
6 Victor Hedman TBL 62.8
7 Alex Pietrangelo STL 63.1
8 John Carlson WAS 62.6
9 Drew Doughty LAK 62.1
10 Duncan Keith CHI 61.9
11 Dustin Byfuglien WPG 61.6
12 Roman Josi NSH 59.4
13 Mark Giordano CGY 59.4
14 Shea Weber NSH 59.1
15 Brent Burns SJS 53.3
16 Tyson Barrie COL 50.8
17 Mike Green DET 49.9
18 Kris Letang PIT 49.4
19 Dougie Hamilton CGY 48.2
20 John Klingberg DAL 48.0
21 Aaron Ekblad FLA 47.2
22 Justin Schultz EDM 42.0
23 Morgan Rielly TOR 41.0
24 Jacob Trouba WPG 35.9
25 Sami Vatanen ANA 35.2
26 Nick Leddy NYI 34.9
27 Justin Faulk CAR 34.5
28 Torey Krug BOS 33.4
29 Seth Jones NSH 32.9
30 Cam Fowler ANA 31.8

• In my estimation, the top two candidates on this list to drop in ranking by November are Pietrangelo and Green. The latter due to injury and the former due to his increasing role as a shutdown guy while Kevin Shattenkirk logs the PP minutes.

• The top two candidates to rise in the ranking by November are Klingberg and Letang.

• This week’s “could go either way” award winner is Schultz. It’s a big year for him, as he could play his way out of the league, or he could take advantage of the improved roster around him and really flourish.

• Just missing this list: Matt Niskanen (WSH), Ryan Suter (MIN), Anton Stralman, as well as kids Matt Dumba (MIN), Hampus Lindholm (ANA), Derrick Pouliot (PIT), Cody Ceci (OTT) and Anthony DeAngelo (TB).

• Two players who I suspect could pop onto this list soon are Buffalo’s Cody Franson and Philadelphia’s Michael Del Zotto. We may hold a low opinion of the Sabres right now after the year they just had, but the roster has dramatically improved. Franson will load up on assists thanks to the likes of Jack Eichel and Evander Kane. Meanwhile, MDZ really turned things around in the second half last season thanks to more ice time and a longer leash. Now that he has a new contract, he’ll continue to get that ice time and I think you’ll get a pleasant surprise from his numbers in the season ahead.

Follow Dobber on Twitter (@DobberHockey), and as the perfect supplement to your Sportsnet Fantasy Guide check out Dobber’s 10th annual Fantasy Guide here.

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