With NHL training camps set to begin about four weeks from now, it’s time for fantasy hockey managers to start reengaging their brains and begin planning for their upcoming Fantasy Hockey Draft. Most drafts will take place in the latter-half of September, but it’s never too early to start looking for that gem of a late-round pick, the underrated talent who is set for a breakout season or the veteran presence who is due for a rebound year.
Today’s Position: Defenseman
Picking good defenseman during your fantasy hockey draft is slightly more difficult because so much more strategy can come into play. Forwards, for the most part, are there to help you get points in the offensive categories and to help you gain ground in as many of those categories as possible. Defenseman, on the other hand, can be better suited to help you in a single stat category like penalty minutes, power play points or plus/minus. With that being said, here are a few players that could help your game.
If You Want Offense – Take Mike Green and take him in the first round. Seventy-six points last season, plus-37 and 10 power play goals certainly help make him as good an asset on your fantasy team as most forwards.
If You Want Defense – Take Niklas Lidstrom. His plus-22 last season was a “down” season. Plus he’ll give you a boost in offensive categories as well.
If You Want Penalty Minutes – Then take Shane O’Brien. This guy is good for 150 or more penalty minutes a season.
For a Good All-Around Defenseman – Consider Duncan Keith (pictured). This is a player that seems to get better every year. Nab him quickly if you need help in the assists category or plus/minus.
The Secret is Out On – Drew Doughty. After winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the Olympics, Doughty has emerged as a premier young defenseman in the NHL and is expected to do great things with his career. Last year, in his sophomore season, Doughty potted 16 goals and added 43 assists. Expect things to keep getting better as Doughty continues to come into his own.
Still Under the Radar Is – Tobias Enstrom. But don’t plan on him being under the radar for long. With 50 points last season on the blue line for the Thrashers, Enstrom could be a pivotal part of Atlanta’s power play this season.
Keep An Eye On – Tyler Myers. Myers, the Calder Trophy winner last season, had 11 goals, 37 assists and was a plus-13 for the Sabres. If he can avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, Myers might be a great addition to your roster.