There just isn't a lot going on in the NHL these days. Well, there's a lot going on but there's not much on the ice and that's all that really matters for our purposes. Given there are just 11 games in four days leading up to the Christmas break – pending more cancellations – it gives us some time to talk about the season.
Last week, I discussed Corey Sznajder's play-tracking data and why it can be useful for fantasy. (His Patreon can be supported here and his data will be used for this Ramblings.) Check out those Ramblings for talk on both shot and shot-assist rates. There could be some guys breaking out over the last couple seasons who are very much for real, and a couple with some question marks.
Today, we're moving to the defencemen.
One skill that defencemen need in the modern NHL is puck moving. Namely, they need to be able to get the puck on the sticks of their forwards so that the forwards can transition effectively, and not bang the puck off the glass and essentially turn the puck over. Being able to exit the defensive zone cleanly can be as important as entering the offensive zone cleanly. Lucky for us, Mr. Sznajder tracks zone exits.
So, with that in mind, here are some defensemen with strong zone exit rates to start the 2021-22 season. As always, we're working with small samples, so this isn't definitive of anything. This is just to point us in the direction of players we should be paying closer attention to; this isn't to say a defenseman with a good 30 games is now an elite fantasy option.
With all this out of the way, some blue liners off to a great start this year for transitioning the puck out of their zone.
Before the season started, I wrote about Gostisbehere and had him pegged as an end-of-draft defenseman in 12-teamers; someone with 40-point upside. The reasoning being that I thought he was much better in his last year in Philadelphia than he got credit for and could see prime PP minute