This week and next, Brennan Des and I will tier defense and forwards from the East and West. I will start with the West today but just a reminder that these tiers are subjective and meant as a guide to help you for fantasy purposes, not necessarily the level of skill of each defender. I've tiered all the players with multi-category pools in mind.
Cale Makar – Colorado Avalanche – Makar is still on an upward career trajectory, even after 28 goals and 86 points last season. At 23 years of age, he is the best defender in the West and the best defender in the NHL. An added bonus for Makar is that he throws the odd hit and blocks shots and almost made it to the 100 club last season with 95 hits and 110 blocked shots. The only fear with a player like Makar is injury as he has missed seven, 12 and 13 games in his first three seasons in the NHL.
Roman Josi – Nashville Predators – At the age of 32, Josi exploded for career-highs in goals (23) and points (96). It will be difficult for him to duplicate this year, but his three-year average over 82 games is still 81 points, which is probably a more realistic expectation for this season. Josi has always been amongst the league leaders in blocked shots (133 last year).