It’s time for nice (and even naughty!) readers to unwrap another present from under the DobberHockey Christmas tree – a list of the top ten fantasy defensemen from this decade (factoring in games through December 22nd). And although reliving the past is great fun, winning your current league is also of the utmost importance, so to that end be sure to purchase your copy of the Midseason Fantasy Guide.
If this decade is to be remembered for one thing regarding defensemen, it’s upping the ante big time in terms of scoring. After all, we went from 25 total instances of 60+ point scoring by a defenseman (seven of 70+ points) from 2000-01 through 2009-10, i.e., the prior decade, to more than double those totals (51 and 16) just from 2010-11 through the end of last season! Interestingly though, PPPts were lower, as nine more rearguards had 100+ PPPts last decade versus this one. PIM were also down this decade; but SOG, Hits and Blocks were all higher, and more d-men were +50 or better.
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How did I decide who made it into the top ten, and, from there, where they ranked? Of course high scoring mattered; but longevity and to some extent consistency were factors. I didn’t penalize Band-Aid Boys too much, provided the player was otherwise outstanding. I also gave weight to those who excelled in more than just straight scoring, in a nod to leagues that aren’t just points only and because otherwise the list would consist essentially of the top scorers roughly in order.
Here, in alphabetical order, are five rearguards who came closest to making the list; but for whatever reason (inconsistency, not enough seasons, not quite elite enough, etc.), they didn’t make the cut.
Zdeno Chara – Had this list been compiled a few years ago, no question Chara would’ve made it. But due to being reduced to a purely defensive role for the past couple of seasons, he just didn’t quite stack up. Even with his recent production slowdown though, he nevertheless had impressive stats for the decade. Most notably there was his grit, with 1.8 Hits and 1.5 Blocks per game and being in the top six for PIM. Moreover, he easily had the highest plus/minus of any def