Five more young defensemen who bear watching next season…
Here are five young defensemen who are ready to make an impact at the NHL level – either offensively or with other aspects of their game.
More and more fantasy hockey leagues are embracing hits and blocked shots as positive statistics. Why? Well, for starters, they are both recorded in every single NHL rink. The accuracy isn't the same as a goal or an assist (the fluctuations in how these stats are recorded from rink to rink are quite pronounced, actually), but adding these statistics gives fantasy value to a wider net of players. It is widely known that the New York Rangers receive a significant home advantage when it comes to hit recording – the Madison Square Garden statistician is very trigger-happy.
If you learn which rinks tend to award hits more liberally, you can use that information to your advantage.
And it is a nice way to reward gritty forwards and defensemen who otherwise would get little to no attention in fantasy circles. Some leagues are also moving away from PIM (a subject that was debated here last year), as PIM are inherently a negative statistic. Debating aside, there is no arguing that including PIM, hits, and blocked shots in fantasy leagues makes it more challenging (and thus, more rewarding) to evaluate and rank players as draft day approaches.
Mark Cundari – Calgary
The 23-year-old defenseman came over to the Flames in the Jay Bouwmeester deal. Cundari is only 5-9, but he is a very smart player. He also has an absolute bomb of a shot. He has three seasons of AHL experience under his belt (20 goals and 70 points in that time), and the Flames liked what they saw out of him in the NHL in 2013.
Cundari will have fantasy value if he manages to stick in the NHL. As I mentioned above, he has a heavy and accurate point shot. He is an aggressive player offensively, and he is an aggressive player in general, too. What he lacks in size he makes up for in grit and tenacity. Cundari had at least