Ramblings: Werenski, Durzi, Girard, Forsling, and More Defence Values – September 29

Michael Clifford

2022-09-29

My last few Ramblings have discussed projections I've made for the 2022-23 fantasy hockey season and we're continuing that trend today. On Tuesday, we went over some players that I wrote of often throughout the summer and how they fared in my projections. Today will be more of the same but we're going to focus solely on defencemen.

The nature of the defence position has changed a lot over the last 10 years. It was 2013 when Douglas Murray – 64 career points and 412 PIMs in 518 career games – was traded for two second round picks (I believe one was conditional). Just seven years later, Devon Toews was traded for the same return, though the Islanders were also facing a cap crunch. Toews is now regarded as one of the best defencemen in hockey, finishing top-12 in Norris Trophy voting each of the last two seasons. Being able to skate, move the puck, and finding lanes with edgework are now traits that are valued over cross-checking an opponent to the ice in the corner. It has been a welcome change.

Let's go over some of the blue line values that stuck out to me by my projections. As a refresher (or introduction for those who haven't read my recent Ramblings), we're going to be using a projection metric called Standings Gained Points (SGP). In short, we calculate how much value a player provides at a specific position over a replacement-level player given their projection, sum up the impact in each fantasy category, and that gives us a single number – the SGP – that we can use to compare across positions. Today is about defencemen being reviewed so all that really matters is replacement value, but that is how we get to these numbers.

We are using a 12-team league with a multi-cat scoring system of goals, assists, power-play points, shots, blocks, and hits. It is also assuming five blue liners per team with one on the bench, so 72 total rearguards drafted, with an 82-game projection for every player. We are also going to skip some higher-end options we've already reviewed in recent Ramblings like Cale Makar, Victor Hedman, John Carlson,