Risky Business – Part One

steve laidlaw

2014-09-16

KrisLetang

 

Over the next two weeks, the Eastern Edge will look at the top 30 scoring defensemen from last year and the risky proposition of drafting high end blueliners.

 

For the next couple of weeks, I’m going stray a little outside the confines of the Eastern Conference and talk about something that is near and dear to me, defensemen. Outside of a few consistently reliable superstars, the position has the potential to be a treacherous minefield for fantasy owners. You can have a stud in Mike Green ripping off back-to-back 70 point seasons, then reeling off 24, seven and 26-point efforts or Kris Letang‘s tantalizing combination of points per game and superstar teammates, has you thinking this is the year he finally puts it all together. Here we go:

 

Including his breakout year in 2011-12, Erik Karlsson has scored at a 20 goal 76 point pace and has only missed significant time due to a freakish severed Achilles tendon, a crime of which has not yet been resolved to a certain owners satisfaction. If there is a lock for 70 points from this position, it’s Karlsson.

 

Can Duncan Keith repeat last year’s 61 points? Over his last six campaigns, he has recorded point totals of 44, 69, 45, 40, 47 (pro-rated due to lockout) and 61. So is he a 60 point guy or 45 point guy? My money is on him dropping back down to the high 40’s. One thing’s for sure, he won’t miss many games; over the course of his nine year NHL career, Keith has missed a grand total of 18 games.

 

If you are looking for consistency, then look no further than the Preds Shea Weber. His point totals over the past six seasons are:  53, 43, 48, 49, 48 (pro-rated for lockout) and 56. Over the last six seasons, he has missed a total of only 12 games. A season of 82 games and 50 points is money in the bank.

 

How many of you knew that prior to last year’s 55 point breakout season, Victor Hedman recorded seasons of 20, 26, 23 and 20 points? Although that last total of 20 points is misleading due to the lockout. Hedman was on pace for a 44 point campaign, so his 55 points last year wasn’t quite the 30 point leap it appeared to be. The Lightning are an up and coming team and have brought him along slowly, I’m confident in saying that the 23-year-old is in line for another 50-plus point campaign this year. He’s arrived.

 

P.K. Subban went from back-to-back seasons of 38 and 36 points to a lockout effort of 38 points in 42 games, a 74 points pro-rated pace. He followed that year by recording 53 points last season. Does he improve upon last season’s totals or does he cave under the immense pressure of his rather large cap hit? Subban will press to try and justify the new contract, but he should still come close to the 60-point mark.

 

The last five seasons have seen Keith Yandle score 41, 59, 43, 51 (pro-rated for lockout) and 53 points. Over th