What’s poppin, Razzpimples?
If you missed my Top 20 full-bangs defensemen piece (accounting for standard cats + blocks + PIMs), you can find it right here.
Below, you’ll see #21-#40. After that, I’ll give a list of names to watch for various reasons, but I don’t see much point ranking guys when you get to that range. It’ll depend on personal preference and your team build when it comes to deciding who should be our #4 or #5 defenseman. Odds are they won’t stick on your roster all season anyway.
Keep in mind, these rankings are for categories leagues.
Tier 6 Continued
21. Noah Dobson: Color me shook AF with what we got from Noah Dobson last season. I have shied away from NYI defenders since Mark Streit’s peak, and that was a good many moons ago. Dobson has had hype as a talented prospect for a while, but the Isles system has never lent itself to overly valuable fantasy defenders. Dobson proved that wrong in 2021-22, posting 13 G, 38 A, 22 PPP, 190 SOG, 78 H, and 154 BLK. I think a 50-point repeat is quite obtainable as long as he mans PP1, and there’s exactly zero reason to expect he won’t. Nothing that he did last year strikes me as too lucky or unsustainable, especially considering he was 91st percentile in primary points per 60 among D (according to Dobber).
22. Shea Theodore: The lack of bangs is what keeps Theo out of the Top 20 for me, but you know he’s gonna score goals and shoot the shit out of the puck. His shot rate dipped a tad to 2.6 SOG/G after having it at 3.1 and 3.0 per game respectively in the previous two seasons, yet despite Vegas’s struggles last season, Theo managed a career-best 52 PTS (though that’s not his career-best pace, which would’ve been 65 PTS in 2020-21). It’s also very annoying that his average PPTOI slid down to 2:28 last season. I wanna see that tick back up to 3:00 mark from previous years. The points and shots alone make him a pretty strong fantasy D-man, and there’s hope the PPP can improve if he gets to play with Eichel/Stone/Kessel consistently, the latter of whom is looking less beefy these days!
23. Mikhail Sergachev: In a standard format, I’m passing on Sergy, but in a full-banger that accounts for his blocks and PIM? Sign me up! His minutes should see boost this year without McDonagh around, and Sergy will man the PP2 unit, but it’s not a very formidable one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 40+ PTS, 60+ PIM, 275+ H+BLK, and 175+ SOG from Sergachev in 2022-23. Won’t hurt you in +/- either.
24. Devon Toews: I was alllll the way wrong about this dude last year. Didn’t like him much at all and didn’t see hardly any value coming from him outside of blocks and plus-minus. His first season in Colorado wasn’t anything to write home about, but me oh my did he reach another level last year. His line of 13 G, 44 A, 12 PPP, 158 SOG, 54 H, 85 BLK, 20 PIM, and +52 rating looks phenomenal in and of itself, and then you pause to realize he did all that in just 66 GP. So why am I low enough on him to drop him to #24? I want to see it happen again, I guess; I don’t trust defenders with outlier seasons boosted by 75% secondary assists. Losing Nazem Kadri on his PP2 unit won’t help either. I’m sure he’ll luck into more points than he probably should given his 5v5 linemates, but it’s quite foolish to think his 71-point pace is what you’re drafting.
25. Alex Pietrangelo: We know what we’re getting from Petro these days. If Theo weren’t around and elite PP exposure was a sure thing, I’d have him ranked a lot higher. Still quite likely to pot you 10+ goals, 30+ assists, 225+ shots, 150+ blocks, and 50+ hits. Even chipped in 42 PIM last year. It’s niche, but in leagues that count takeaways his value soars even higher. Had 93 TK last year! Most in the league (Auston Matthews was #2 with 92, and then Adam Fox was #3 with 78).
26. Evan Bouchard: Ugh please give Bouchard PP1 minutes, Mr. Woodcroft! Probably goes to Barrie, but it’s also not unlikely that Barrie gets dealt at some point. Bouchard should still push for 45 or even 50 points this year, with about 200+ SOG and 200 H+BLK. Probably looking at double-digit goals and middling PIM with a positive plus-minus. In other words, just a nice solid all-around fantasy contributor, with upside for more if opportunities present themselves.
27. Miro Heiskanen: Some folks have Miro ranked higher, but I’m not ready to make that leap. And yes, I realize John Klingberg has been in his way his entire career so far. I think Heiskanen is a fantastic real-life player whose skillset doesn’t always translate to fantasy success. His second half left much to be desired last season despite big-time minutes both at full strength and on the man advantage. No doubt it should help that Klinger is gone, but there are couple talented kids by the name of Thomas Harley and Nils Lundqvist who could feasibly squeak into the PP QB picture at some point. I’m also not impressed with Heiskanen’s peripherals. I’m just still kinda meh on him for fantasy purposes.
28. Quinn Hughes: Keeping this one short and sweet. He won’t bang much, won’t shoot too much, won’t score goals too much, but he will absolutely stuff your A and PPP categories with elite totals. He’s so low on this list because, like I said up top, this is a full-bang category ranking.
29. Seth Jones: I’ve wrestled with where to put Jones. I might be too low at #29 even with the astoundingly atrocious +/- that’s coming. I thought and thought and decided I’d take all 28 other guys before I’d take him, so this is where he wound up. He should get quite a few shots, assists, and power-play points along with loads of H+BLK. Chicago is just so bad, and all they have left is Patty Kane. I don’t believe in Toews anymore, and DeBrincat is gone. Mayhap Kane will get traded, and that would all but tank the assists for Jones.
30. Jared Spurgeon: Spurgeon feels like Miro Heiskanen Lite to me. He’s surrounded by good players and is a very good real-life player, yet that just doesn’t consistently carry into fantasy numbers. He did score at a 52-point pace last season with a sexy +32 rating, and he’s managed double-digit goals in three of the last four seasons. The assists won’t be great, though, and Calen Addison might have a grip on PP1 duties. Spurgeon doesn’t hit much and doesn’t shoot much. The blocks will be good, as long as he plays enough games to rack them up. Injuries have become an issue. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t think Spurgeon is a 50-point type of guy, and the peripherals ain’t strong to enough to make me like him any more than this.
31. Tony DeAngelo: Going from Carolina to Philadelphia really, really hurts. And that’s a Giroux-less and Couterier-less Philly squad, at that. Tony D won’t come very close to last year’s numbers, but the fact that he shoots a good amount, scores goals, will run a PP1 unit, and will always get you PIM means that he at least makes my Top 40.
32. Justin Faulk: Faulk was kinda quietly a seriously badass last year. Exactly 250 H+BLK, 16 G, 31 A, 167 SOG, 43 PIM, and a bonkers +41 rating. My hesitation comes from one glaringly obvious question: can he do it again? Peak Carolina Faulk was a shooter and a goal scorer, but that hasn’t been the case in St. Louis until last year. But then again, 16 goals from a career 6.2% shooter (he shot 9.6% last year) screams regression. Also that +41 rating was a career-best by 30 points, but I guess he could feasibly get close-ish to that again. It’s such a weird stat with almost zero predictability. Those 43 PIM were right in line with his norm, but that’s no elite number. I would imagine the goals dip in 2022-23, the assists will be meh, the PPP will be disappointing, yet the H+BLK will be great. He’s a fine later option.
33. Shayne Gostisbehere: Fantastic stuff from one of the unlikeliest of sources last season. He almost looked like the 65-point Ghost from that one magical season in Philly. Everyone expected Jakob Chychrun to monopolize any level of offensive output from the blueline in Arizona, yet it was Ghost who stole it all away and took over the PP1 QB role. That should be the case again, and that PP1 ain’t as bad as the rest of that team is. A similar year could be in store points-wise. The blocks ain’t bad, but the hits are meh, the shots are meh, the PIM are meh, and the plus-minus will be awful.
34. Torey Krug: Krug is basically Ghost with less peripherals but a few more PIM and a much better plus-minus. Not much else to say about him. Depending on some puck luck and whatnot, anywhere from 45 to 55 points is attainable, with upwards of 10 of those being goals. The Blues powerplay is sensational, so the PPA will be there as well.
35. Rasmus Andersson: Andersson is basically Krug with less goals and more blocks. And I know they brought in Hubey and Kadri, but I just can’t help but think losing Johnny Hockey and Matty T means that PP1 unit dips a little.
36. Luke Schenn: Soooo many hits. Great blocks. Great PIM. He’s a bang daddy but won’t score or shoot. If you pace out what he did last year in 66 games, he’d have had 76 PIM, 119 BLK, and 339 H. Said before that pacing doesn’t exactly tell you much and isn’t reliable, but ain’t those some fun numbers?
37. Alexander Romanov: Man do I love me some Alex Romanov in banger leagues. The man absolutely annihilates human beings on skates. Something tells me the bangs get even better with the Isles, and he had 144 BLK an 227 H last year with the Habs. Won’t give you a lick of offense, but close to 400 H+BLK, 50ish PIM, and a not-harmful +/- means he’ll contribute plenty in other ways. Pretty much Schenn with less hits and PIM but more blocks and SOG.
38. Charlie McAvoy: McAvoy would obviously have been in the first article if he were healthy, but as it stands, we’re looking at a December return. Bound to be some rust after that, and it’s never encouraging to know it’s a shoulder issue that’s hindering him. His second half should still be strong enough to warrant an IR stash.
39. Mark Borowiecki: Assuming Borocop can see even the limited minutes he did last year, he’ll bang enough to be a worthwhile addition to fantasy teams. He played just 57 games and averaged barely over 13 minutes, but still racked up 196 H, 79 BLK, and an astounding, league-leading 151 PIM. The days of 300+ PIM guys are long gone, but 151 in just 57 games is quite an achievement. No surprise he led the NHL with 15 major penalties.
40. Erik Karlsson: Guess I gotta put EK65 somewhere. We all know the drill here: you either draft him or you don’t. You gamble or you don’t bother. We got 50 games and 35 PTS last year, which would pace to 57 PTS. Burns is out, so it’s his show entirely. I just can’t even with the health factor anymore. He’s also less valuable in banger categories anyway. I’m passing, but you do you.
Mario Ferraro is a guy to watch for your bangs. Damn near had 300 H+BLK in just 63 GP.
Owen Power has the mega prospect hype to go Moritz Seider on everyone’s ass. Also might just…flop. Definitely has more keeper/dynasty value at the moment and is a complete gamble for redrafts.
Matt Roy piles up the BSH (blocks+shots+hits) and is a great stream for those.
Jeff Petry might have that change of scenery mojo going on this year in Pittsburgh, playing for a legit contender. Plus, if Letang were to go down, that PP1 gig is likely his.
Artem Zub is a good source of bangs and PIM. Ain’t worth a fip for anything else.
Vince Dunn should be a cheap source of PPP and PIM.
Rasmus Ristolainen will give you H+BLK for days and good PIM.
Neal Pionk just might mess around and get PP1 time, and he hits a lot.
Jakob Chychrun could find his magic from a couple seasons ago???
Hampus Lindholm bangs and probably mans PP1 for Boston to start the year.
Gustav Forsling fills quite a few categories and might be leaned on more with Weegar out of the picture.
Connor Murphy bangs like crazy Chicago. So does Jake McCabe, but he’ll be on the IR for a few weeks at least.
Samuel Girard is solid enough as is, but in the event that Makar should ever miss time…
As noted above, Calen Addison might get looks at PP1 for Minnesota, and that’s a very nice place to be.
Chris Wideman is probably your PP1 guy for Montreal, and he had more PIM (67) than games played (64) last year.
I do some fantasy baseball as well as some fantasy hockey here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time.