This week, Grant Campbell and I organized the league's defensemen into tiers based on projected fantasy value this season. Grant covers the Western Conference here at DobberHockey, and you can check out his tiers of defensemen in the West over here. Below, you'll find my tiered ranking of defensemen in the East. There's some subjectivity baked into these rankings, so think of them as a guide for your own thinking rather than a concrete list you need to follow. Tiers were created with multicategory leagues (goals, assists, power-play points, shots, hits, blocks) in mind.
Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning) – Elite defenseman on an elite team; one of a few blueliners with the potential to score at a point-per-game pace. Hedman led all defensemen with 38 power-play points last season. His success with the man advantage should carry into this year as he continues playing a prominent role on Tampa's star-studded top unit. A multicategory beast, Hedman is a high-volume shooter who can rack up a significant number of blocks, while making modest contributions in the hits department.
Adam Fox (New York Rangers) – A young defenseman entering his prime, surrounded by plenty of high-end offensive talent in New York. After pacing for 49 points in his rookie campaign, Fox managed a 70-point pace in his sophomore season, and took another step forward in year three, posting a 78-point pace last season. His own elite skillset, combined with the elite skillsets of his teammates, means he'll have no trouble producing at even-strength and on the power play. From a multicategory perspective, Fox puts up a fair number of shots and blocks, and his offensive output makes up for his deficiency in hits.
Kris Letang (Pittsburgh Penguins) – I think there's a case to be made for placing Letang in Tier One, but I settled on Tier Two because of his age (35), injury history, and potential to see a reduced role this year. Although he's often recognized for his offensive ability, I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for his other contributions. Among all defensemen last year, Letang ranked 6th in points (68), 8th in power-play points (22), 7th in shots (214), 20th in hits (171), and 49th in blocks (122). It's hard to find a defenseman who can make significant contributions to all five of those categories. It's worth noting that Letang led all Penguins defensemen in ice time last year (