It's now time to move on to defensemen for my rankings.  I'll be doing the top 40 defensemen in two separate posts, with the top 20 in this one.  I have gone through the top 100 forwards so you can check those out through the hockey page.  For now, let's get right to the blueliners! 1) Brent Burns - You can check out Burns in the top 20 here.  I feel like I ranked him too low, so when I do my top 50 overall post, I may slide him up a bit. 2) John Carlson - Burns is in a tier by himself, and who to put at the top of tier two is has been a big internal debate for me.  I ultimately decided on Carlson for the safety.  Carlson put up 70 points last season, 33 of which were on the power play.  Both numbers are incredible.  He's also a plus player most seasons and there's no reason to expect a change.  The one concern is that his shot rate plummeted last season from almost 3 shots per game to about 2.25.  That's still solid for a defensemen, but nowhere near a great asset.  Even given that, Carlson was the #3 defenseman last season.  Hopefully there's a bounce back in his shot rate, but either way it's high floor and high ceiling.
Hey guys! Over the next month, I will be taking a look at each team’s players to watch out for going into the 2019-20 fantasy hockey season. This analysis features everything from surefire studs, to sleepers, to streamers, deeper league holds, even to rookie-eligible prospects that may make an appearance at some point this season. Please let me know if you guys enjoy this type of material! Reminder that the stat totals are from last season. Last year my previews went alphabetically, but this year we’re going to go division-by-division, starting with the top team. On our 12th stop on the 31 in 31 tour, we’re heading South, wayyyyy South to look at the Dallas Stars! With a great team defence and consistently great goaltending, the Stars found themselves a goal away from playing in the WCF. With their secondary scoring questions answered and a few loose ends tied, this team is looking like an absolute wagon in this log-jam of a Central.
Detroit's season has been over for months, but they haven't mailed it in.  The Red Wings have won six in a row and it starts with their first line.  Of late, Tyler Bertuzzi has been on an absolute tear.  He had two goals and an assist with five shots on Tuesday, his fourth consecutive third point game!  That brings him to 21+26 on the season with 32 PIM and a +13 rating, a great number on a poor team.  So what's his value going into next season?  It's hard to say.  He looks great with Larkin and Mantha, but what if the Red Wings bring someone else in and he's not there to open next season?  The PIM also aren't at the elite level I had hoped like his old man brought.  I do like Bertuzzi a lot for deeper leagues, but for him to be a play in standard leagues, he'll need to get his shot rate up and maintain the role he's had to finish the season.  You don't need streaming on Thursday or Saturday given the massive schedules, but if you need a guy, Bertuzzi is a great choice while he's hotter than hell.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It's hard to find a bigger fan of Blake Wheeler than yours truly.  He's been excellent for years, and while he is showing some signs of aging, he's remained incredibly productive.  Wheeler scored a goal and dished three assists in the 7-4 win over the Avalanche, adding two penalty minutes.  Wheeler now has 7+48 in 42 games, a very strong point total.  So where's the concern?  Well, seven goals obviously isn't great, and his shot rate is closer to 2.5 now than 3 per game.  Add in a career low shooting percentage and you can see why he's on pace for only 14 goals.  He's still solid in PIM and has been a quality +/- player for a long time, so he'll still be a top 50 player for a few years.  However, it would be a mistake to expect Wheeler to be a top 20 player again going forward.  Here's a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
If you would told me before the season that the Canadiens would be in a playoff spot at the halfway point of the season, I'd have guessed that Carey Price was playing at a Vezina level  Yet, here we are with Price struggling and the Canadiens succeeding.  However, we've seen a few good starts lately from Price, with his best coming on Thursday.  Price stopped all 33 Canucks shots in the 2-0 win over Vancouver.  So what do we make of Price?  Well, this game was the second of a back-to-back for Vancouver, who lost their rookie phenom, so I don't take much away from this.  His other really good games were against Arizona and Chicago; not exactly powerhouses.  I feel a little bit better about Price than I did before the season starting, but only to the point that I view him as a middling to bottom end #2 goalie.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
I hope all of you Razzballers that celebrate had a Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to everyone!  The three day hiatus without games is over, so I'm going to do a quick preview of Thursday's games with some streamers, DFS options, and other things I'm looking for.  I'll get back to daily notes tomorrow recapping all of these games, so this will be an opportunity to get my thoughts on games out there and either look smart, dumb, or both.  Let's get to it!
All of the people who have read me since I started writing here three seasons ago (it's going by quick!) knows how big of a fan I am of Dr. Bo Horvat.  In a game where the Canucks were massive underdogs in Boston, Horvat led the Canucks to a major upset, scoring two goals and two assists with four shots and six PIM in the 8-5 win over the Bruins.  That brings Horvat's totals to an outstanding 9+6 in 17 games with 19 PIM and around 2.5 shots per game.  All of the attention is going to Elias Pettersson, and he deserves plenty of it, but Pettersson's arrival finally puts Horvat in a role that he can thrive in.  Yes, Horvat has been fairly luck to this point in terms of on-ice shooting percentage, but he's doing the heavy lifting and still producing plenty offensively.  The question isn't whether Horvat is a hold or not, it's how high his ceiling is.  I don't see a top 50 player, at least not until his linemates improve, but with how the Canucks are playing, he should be a top 100 player.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights:
It looks like we could be seeing the Timo Meier breakout right before our eyes.  The former top ten pick is really coming into his own this season as DeBoer has given him a top six role.  Meier scored a goal on Friday because totaling two goals and an assist with four shots on Sunday.  That brings Meier to eight goals and four assists in 11 games with over three shots per game.  It's pretty clear at this point: Meier is a must-own in all formats right now.  He's still available in over one third of leagues, so if you're fortunate enough to be in one of those, go grab him now.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the weekend:
Last year's point leader for defensemen is off to an even better start this season.  John Carlson had a goal and two assists on Monday, bringing his totals to 5/8/+6/6/19/8 through eight games.  It was hard to see any upside from last season's totals, but some shooting percentage luck could have Carlson around 20+50.  Add in a quality plus-minus, and there's a chance that Carlson ends up the #1 defenseman for the season.  It's far from a guarantee, but it's abundantly clear through three weeks that last season's big breakout was no fluke.  Let's take a look at what else happened over the last two nights: