Fantasy Hockey Top-30 Defenseman

Top-30 Fantasy Hockey Defenseman

All we have left are goaltenders now! But in reality who cares about those freaks of nature and their weird pregame rituals. Better off not ranking those creatures of hockey. Just kidding, honestly just hoping a goalie comes across this and gets a laugh out of it.

Anyhow… this year 2018-2019 Top-30 Fantasy defenseman heading into the year are as follows…

(Based on G, A, PT, PPP, PPA, PPG, PIMS, HITS, TOI, SHOTS) I do not account for blocks here because not every league or most leagues run that way. 

Top-30 Defenseman

  1. Victor Hedman, TBL
  2. P.K. Subban, NSH
  3. Drew Doughty, LAK
  4. Erik Karlsson, OTT
  5. Brent Burns, SJS
  6. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG
  7. John Carlson, WSH
  8. Roman Josi, NSH
  9. Seth Jones, CBJ
  10. John Klingberg, DAL
  11. Dougie Hamilton, CAR
  12. Torey Krug, BOS
  13. Matt Dumba, MIN
  14. Shayne Gostisbehere, PHL
  15. Aaron Ekblad, FLA
  16. Alex Pietrangelo, STL
  17. Mark Giordano, CGY
  18. Ivan Provorov, PHL
  19. Kris Letang, PIT
  20. Rasmus Ristolanien, BUF
  21. Tyson Barrie, COL
  22. Oliver Ekman Larsson, ARI
  23. Zach Werenski, CBJ
  24. Charlie McAvoy, BOS
  25. Jake Muzzin, LAK
  26. Mikhail Sergachev, TBL
  27. Brandon Montour, ANH
  28. Colin Miller, VGK
  29. Jacob Trouba, WPG
  30. Josh Manson, ANH

Ok, I was completely torn on this one. I am a big advocate for defenseman but some guys like Ekman Larsson, Ristolanien, Barrie fall off a bit due to their plus/minus, other players surrounding them, and honestly injury concerns. I like the bottom of the pack, around McAvoy down and think they all can be interchangeable at some point in the year. We can easily see Montour take off and surpass McAvoy but that bottom of the list is young and up and coming for sure. The top 10 is pretty simple, you cannot argue that or maybe you can but to me that’s pretty realistic. Anyone within that top 10 can realistically win the Norris this year to be honest.

The list looks good to me perhaps you do not agree. If not, feel free to comment below or tweet at me on Twitter @liveinthestands !

See you tomorrow for top-20 goalies for the 2018-19 year! To see what last years list looked like click here to find out!


NHL trades

Pierre Dorion still looking to move Erik Karlsson and Zack Smith as rebuild hits full stride

Mike Hoffman deal breakdown

After the Mike Hoffman trade, we thought this was the end of bad deals in Ottawa, but it seems that is not so. To address how bad the Hoffman deal was the Senators at the end of it all received Mikkel Boedker, the 29-year-old who has had one 50 point year and will be receiving 4 mil over the next 2 years. Julius Bergman, a 22-year-old second round draft pick who has spent the last 3 years with San Jose Barracuda(AHL) tallying 61 points in 189 games. Bergman a 6’1 defenseman has yet to touch NHL ice time, some would say he is about a B to C level prospect. Lastly they also received a 2020 6th round pick. Not to mention at the deadline the Senators were rumored to be able to receive a top-level prospect and a 1st round pick for Hoffman. To add salt to the wound, Pierre Dorion made it clear he did not want Hoffman in the Atlantic division, clearly, San Jose said the hell with that because now Hoffman is with Florida who also plays out of the Atlantic division.

Karlsson and Smith on the move?

Going off that terrible trade, the Senators came out moments after the Hoffman trade and said they are still shopping Erik Karlsson and Zack Smith. Karlsson, well we all know him a 2-time Norris trophy winner, leading all active defenseman in points, has tallied six 45 plus assists years and six 60 plus point seasons plus being one of the best offensive defensemen in the league has now hit the market. Zack Smith is no slump though, being a bottom six style player, Smith would work well on any NHL teams roster in the bottom six possibly even filling a vacant spot within the top six. Smith plays a grinder style game but can definitely add value to a roster. Karlsson and Smith have been rumored to be leaving Ottawa, the Hoffman trade happened so unexpectedly, well there was no rumors or leak, it just happened. Therefore we can expect this to be the case for Karlsson and Smith. If a deal were to get done the Senators would be losing Karlsson, Smith and Hoffman all within a week.


Karlsson leaving seems so unlikely but at this point, we never know what is unlikely and not unlikely. Smith leaving Ottawa we can imagine. Smith will not cost as much for other NHL teams, so there is no breaking bank on the 30-year-old forward. But Karlsson will cost a good chunk of money, prospects and NHL player(s). An ideal situation for Ottawa right now as they two first-round picks, no second or third and not a first next year, would be to load up draft picks and get some NHL ready prospects while clearing a ton of cap space. With Karlsson leaving it would free up 6.5 mil, and Smith would free up 9.75 million. Smith is at 3.25 AAV which is going to be the toughest thing for teams to bite on so Ottawa will have to retain some of that salary. But in the end, if Smith and Karlsson do leave, Ottawa will have around 26-28 mil in cap space, a ton of picks and their current draft picks(2018) in the making. We could also see a possible draft day deal be done for Karlsson where a team like Vegas, Toronto or some other team will trade their first overall pick and more for Karlsson.

Either way, you look at it, the Senators have been robbed already with the Hoffman trade and it will only get worse and look worse letting one of the best defensemen in the NHL leave. If you are a Senators fan, it’s ok it only gets better from here, I guess?

NHL Ottawa Senators

Erik Karlsson wife Melinda files restraining order against Mike Hoffman fiancee Monika

Well, if things in Ottawa could not get any worse, this story about Erik Karlsson’s wife Melinda receiving threats from Mike Hoffman’s girlfriend Monika Caryk now hit the latest buzz in Ottawa.

First, it was the turmoil with the Senators and their poor play this season, Eugene Melynk and his relationship with players and especially the whole debacle with Karlsson this season. The Senators supposedly trying to trade Karlsson and now this.

If you are to sit there and think that Karlsson and Hoffman will be back in Ottawa next year, you may be smoking that hash too much sir/mam. This is now more and more terrible news to come out of Ottawa especially circulating around Karlsson. There were rumors that Karlsson was almost sent to Vegas during the trade deadline but it never fell through.

But here is the story about Melinda Karlsson and Monika Caryk:

To a small extent here are some of the words Caryk has said to Karlsson

“Caryk has said to me numerous statements wishing unborn child dead.”

“She also uttered that she wished I was dead and that someone should take out my husbands legs to end his career.”

She has also posted 1000 negative and derogatory statements about me as a professional.”

This is only a small amount of statements made by Melinda, the worst part about it all. The team officials knew about these harassment allegations for weeks now, Karlsson’s agent said. To make the case even worse this has been going on since November 2017.

Since the news about Karlsson’s expecting a child who was later announced unborn due to losing the child during pregnancy. The support of people online was greatly appreciated by the Karlsson’s but with it came some “trolls” who accused Melinda of popping painkillers while pregnant and Karlsson fought back the trolls, who one week after deactivated their account (@sandydandy45). Trolls also hit Twitter as reported by Ottawa citizen said that “This newspaper also found other social media users coming to Melinda’s defence after Twitter user @petersonmegan51 used an anti-bullying event to insult her. That account has also since been deleted.”

2015 NHL Awards - Red CarpetHoffman has said he has no comment for this investigation as there is nothing for him to say. But later commented that there is no chance he and his fiance Monika are involved in this acquisition. More news circulating this story comes moments before the newspaper released this story, Monika had made an Instagram marked private and moments after the story the account was later deactivated. Yet, Caryk and Hoffman have denied not commented on these allegations and have said they have nothing to hide and are willing to cooperate with the investigation.

There was a restraining order filed by Melinda against Monika Caryk. Which is under investigation and will be actively handled by the courts.

Who will go Hoffman or Karlsson?

The worst part about this case is that the team officials knew about it, it comes against two of Ottawa’s best players and for sure one of them is leaving at the end of this offseason. If I had to make any assumptions it would be Karlsson that is leaving. With all that he dealt with this year and all the turmoil with Melynk and head coach Karlsson is clearly not happy in Ottawa and neither is his wife Melinda. Plus how will road trips and everything work out if Caryk and Melinda come what do they do? It will cause a ton of turmoil, stress and poor performance for sure by the two players. One has to go and I am confident that Karlsson is leaving.

NHL Ottawa Senators

What went wrong: Ottawa Senators 2017-2018

Imagine this making the Conference finals in 2016-17 season being a few wins away from a Stanley Cup appearance to then in one season being the laughing stock of the league and a team that has some major concerns heading into next season now.

What could have possibly went wrong for Ottawa, well to start…

erik-karlsson-injured(1) Erik Karlsson was out to start the season. Anytime a Norris defenseman and all-star caliber player is not there day one it can cause some in balance in things and a team to get off to a rocky start.

(2) Scoring was a major issue, the Senators ranked 25th for goals for with 219 and 2nd for goals against with 284. They did not have enough scoring on the front end to supplement for their awful goals against number. They certainly lacked goal scoring as they had 4 players with 20+ goals and 5 players with 40+ points or more. Their number one player Mark Stone lead the team in points with 62 and only played 58 games. Which leads to point number three…

(3) Bobby Ryan Mark Stone Matt Duchene only played a little more than half the season, health was definitely an issue with this team and it hurt them that Stone only had 58 games played, perhaps a full season with Stone scoring 100 points could have helped.

(4) Craig Anderson was extremely(emphasis) sub par this season, the lack of goal tending showed on the Senators record as Anderson posted a 23-25-6 record with a 3.32 GAA and .898 SV %. The goaltender was inconsistent and struggled a ton this year plus Mike Condon was not a viable back up option posting a 3.25 GAA and 5-17-5 record.

NHL Ottawa Senators(5) Head coach, Eugene Melynk and players were not on the same page. There was one point when Ottawa funded Melnyk must go when he wanted to trade star defenseman Erik Karlsson, and when your superstar player/captain and owner are not on the same page nor can’t even sit in a room together problems will occur.

Will everything be better next year? 

Probably not. Although they will probably have a better season, Anderson is one of those goalies who goes on and off years, so he’s probably destined for a better season. Anything is better honestly. They do have a top 5 pick this years draft, which could land them a very solid forward in which they need. Whomever they get will help them.

But the Senators still have not said anything about what they are doing with Karlsson or nothing is definite, yet… They have to sign Mark Stone this off season and at the same time think about whatever they do with him will affect Karlsson’s contract, Duchene’s and Dzingel’s also. With also needing to sign Chris Weidman, Cody Ceci and Fredrik Cleasson this off season as well. The Senators have a ton of contracts to ponder so it’s inevitable at least one or two key pieces won’t be returning either next season or the following year in 2019-20.

My prediction for Ottawa is another basement finish probably around 20th in the league, no playoff spot, around a few games under .500 they will have a better year but nothing like they did in 2016-17 though.



NHL Trade Deadline

Is Erik Karlsson actually leaving Ottawa?

Alright, I wanted to wait a day before I started reporting on this but I’ve been hearing so many rumors about Erik Karlsson seriously being on the move. The asking price for this guy is ridiculous yet several teams have called about him.

Karlsson is a free agent after next season though, so it is either the Senators look to get something for him before 2020 offseason or re-sign for probably around $11-12 mil per year for six to seven years that is $84 mil for one player. Yeah, he is one of the best defensemen in the league but be realistic you think Ottawa is winning anything with him and this team they have, no shot. They don’t have the goaltending to make a deep run and Anderson is only getting older. Plus they have a laundry list of players to resign within the next few months and year.

Karlsson to Tampa Bay…?

So, like you are saying there is a chance? People, yes, there is more than chance Karlsson legit gets moved by the end of his contract. I don’t think we see it at the trade deadline just yet, but in the offseason expect to see headlines every day about where Karlsson could be heading. I’ll tell you this, one team that has actively been asking about Karlsson are the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yes, the Lightning an already Stanley Cup team, imagine adding Karlsson to that back end and having a power play of Kucherov, Stamkos, Hedman, Karlsson, Johnson/Palat/Point/WHOEVER. Having Hedman and Karlsson on the 1-2 pairings, this could be scary. but almost impossible for Tampa Bay to pull off… I think.

The Cap Space situation for Tampa Bay… 

Let’s look at it, the Lighting have 2 mil in cap space, three forwards they can let walk that will free up around 4 mil in cap, Andrej Sustr walks which frees up 1.95 mil, and probably try and get rid of Callahan’s contract to someone. Without getting rid of Callahan’s contract this leaves the Lightning with 7.95 mil for Karlsson. The only way Tampa Bay pulls this off is a trade, they cant sign him straight up, they would essentially deal Mikhail Sergachev, Vladislav Namestnikov, a pick and a prospect for Karlsson. I still don’t even get how Tampa Bay even pulls this off though, they still need to resign Kucherov in 2019-2020, who is going to be worth 8.5 plus mil a year with the way he has been playing, considered the best player in hockey, well one of the best, easily. Lightning sign Karlsson that means they have Kucherov at let’s say around 9 mil, Karlsson at 12 mil, Stammer at 8.5 mil, Hedman at 7.8 mil that is already 37.3 mil on four players which takes up 51 percent of their cap and leaves them with around 34.7 mil for the rest of their roster, and 46 other contracts.

I don’t see Tampa Bay getting Karlsson but still, we can expect Karlsson to be moved in the offseason, do not be surprised if it is to Toronto as well by the way.

NHL News

Following Doughty, Karlsson, Tavares, where will they land?

These three names are three very important names in the NHL, and three players everyone knows pretty well. The future though for these three players seems bleak to some, but to others, it is clear as day. Well, that’s what they think.

Drew Doughty’s contract ends at the end of 2018-19, and right now he is getting paid $7 mil a year. That contract has to only be going up, as a former Norris winner, two-time Stanley Cup winner, and a staple to the Kings defense. Doughty will be asking for anywhere around $10 plus mil. He will be basing his contract off of Erik Karlsson’s, as he has come out and openly said. Can L.A. afford Doughty though? Right now they have 34.1 million locked up between Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Tyler Toffilo, Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson, $8 mil between Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin, and $5.8 mil a year for Jonathan Quick. Now, that is $47.9 mil a year cap the Kings have locked up on just eight players. Add in the 12.5 mil a year Doughty will be asking for the Kings will then have 60.4 mil locked up on nine players. Of their $71.3 cap hit, they will have just $10.9 mil to use on 14 other players. I’m not saying LA, cannot afford Doughty and he won’t end up back in a Kings uniform, but do not be surprised if Doughty does not resign. He has openly said he is ok with leaving L.A. and it seems at this point in his career, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, Norris winner, getting paid is more of a priority for Doughty.

Erik Karlsson’s contract ends the same year as Doughty, 2018-19, and right now Karlsson gets $6.5 mil a year. After his storied career, and producing the most points for defenseman over the last eight years, a two time Norris winner, and after his performance in the playoffs last season. Karlsson will 100 percent be receiving, $12 plus mil a year. And, I’m not sure Ottawa can afford that right now. Ottawa has $35.6 mil locked up between 8 forwards, and Mark Stone needs to be resigned, Derek Brassard, and Matt Duchene within the next two to three years. Along with $9 mil locked up between Dion Phaneuf and Cody Ceci, and $7.1 mil in goaltenders, the Senators have 51.7 mil locked up in 12 players and of their 73.1 mil cap hit a year, the Senators already use half of that on 12 players(not including Karlsson right now). Fitting in Karlsson luxury signing may leave the Senators to part ways with Brassard, Dzingel and another forward, or they attempt to trade him soon and try to receive plenty of picks, prospects and a serviceable defenseman now to help them build for the future. Because let’s be honest this team is not winning anything. And Karlsson has yet to capture a ring, and at this point in his career, a family on the way, getting paid and also wanting to win is on his priority list. Staying with Ottawa may mean, a slight pay cut for Karlsson and I’m not too sure how willing he may be to do that.

John Tavares is not the most interesting to follow because he has been offered contracts and has declined some offers by the Islanders, plus his contacts end at the end of this season. But with the recent news of the Islanders acquiring a new arena in Belmont, NY. Moving back to Long Island and Tavares getting the home he has been longing for, entices Tavares to come back. Right now, with how he has been playing and the love Islander fans have for him Tavares is almost a shoe-in to stay with them. Tavares is basically the lord and savior of this franchise and if he left, the team would be heartbroken. But, the player and competitor Tavares is I’m sure he has to be thinking about getting paid as well as what team gives him the best chance to win a Stanley Cup. Tavares will probably see a similar contract to Connor McDavid/Anze Kopitar, right now he is getting paid $5.5 mil but his contract ends at the end of this season. And the worst part about that is Jordan Eberle’s contract ends in the season 2019-20 same with Anders Lee, but also the following player’s contracts ending in 2017-18 for the Islanders are Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey, Shane Prince, Alan Quine, Calvin De Haan, Tomas Hickey, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech. As you can tell the Islanders are going to have some difficult questions to answer. We can assume Tavares gets a 12.5 mil a year contract for eight-plus years, the Islanders are going to have to part ways with a couple forwards, and some defenseman to resign Tavares. Obviously, the Islanders first priority is to re-sign Tavares and of the other two(Karlsson, Doughty), I would honestly say I would be most confident Tavares lands back with the team he has spent his whole career with and finishes his career where he started it.

NHL Fantasy Hockey

Drafting Sleepers Q&A; Tyler Johnson, Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber injury

I will be adding a video/audio part to this as well, but as the week winds down, I’ll answer the questions proposed by the followers at Drafting Sleepers. For those that have not checked out the site, it is a great site for all fantasy sports followers. They have a Q&A board for all fantasy sports, and it is actively followed by the users. Basically any question you have just post it here and it will get answered within minutes.

Question 1: Chelsea Briggs asked “DYT Tyler Johnson is a “sell high” candidate or a “hold” if you think he can maintain this type of play?” 

Answer: To be honest, I’m not sure why Johnson was even slotted on the third/fourth line to start the season. I guess it was a way to allow Yonni Gourde show what he was made of but, Johnson is there to stay on the second line and I think he provides great fantasy value. Playing alongside Point and Palat has been great for Johnson, that line is not the most physical but they are a gritty line that produces. Johnson is a “hold” player for me right now but if you think you can stretch this guy and get more for him than do it, he will be on the second line and power play unit rest of the season. Depends on your roster and everything but Johnson definitely could be a “hold” player.

Question 2: Ryan Shumber asked “Overall opinion on Danton Heinen?” 

Answer: Ride him until he starts to fall off, the Bruins are hot right now and Heinen has been seeing anywhere from 15 minutes to 19 minutes a game, so the TOI is there, and over the last two weeks he has 3 goals, 5 assists. He reminds me a bit of Adrian Kempe, a player that broke out for a week or two then slowed down. Hold him until his production declines, really no risk to holding him either.

Question 3: Tanner asked, “Buy low on Karlsson??”

Answer: I don’t know if you’ll be able to buy low on Karlsson, I mean it is his name that holds the value. I can assume many owners are going to ask for a good chunk in return for Karlsson. Unless you see this guy and the Senators breaking out, just stay away from him as a whole. Yes, he is amazing, but the Senators look terrible and it is affecting Karlsson’s game. If you can buy low on Karlsson than go for it, but I doubt many owners are just going to let this guy walk for nothing.

Question 4: Kyle Griffin asked, “How concerned are we about the Weber injury?”

Answer: Honestly, I’d be a little considered, as he has now missed 9 games and was sent home back to Montreal because the rehab on his ankle did not go as expected. Anytime a players rehab assignment does not go as expected it definitely raises some signs of concern. Plus he is a top defenseman in the league and playing with a hurt ankle is not something he probably wants to do. An ankle is not something to be messed with as most players rely a lot on their ankle mobility to play. I’d be concerned about this injury if we do not hear anything after this short 3-day break.