A lot of attention is paid to defensemen in fantasy leagues that can help contribute to peripheral categories. And with good reason. It’s these guys who will lead your squad to victory thanks to blocked shots, hits, PIM and shots. It’s why Dustin Byfuglien and Kris Letang are drafted so high: Their ability to contribute in so many categories.
However, there are plenty of defensemen that hurt your team more than help it. If you’re going to draft a 40-point defenseman, he better be helping your squad elsewhere. In my mind, you want a defenseman that is going to get you at least 150 shots, 100 hits, 100 blocked shots and 50 PIM in two or more of those categories.
Below are 10 players that that are routinely drafted that don’t give you much help outside of points. To meet the criteria for this list, we’re only looking at defensemen who don’t contribute in three of the following four categories and have less than 100 blocked shots, 100 hits, 150 shots and 50 PIM. I know there’s been a movement in leagues to move away from PIM, but there are still plenty of leagues who count the stat. I’m in three leagues that count peripheral statistics, and PIMs are still in use in two of them.
10. TJ Brodie
Brodie’s had an interesting career fantasy arc. He posted back-to-back 40-point seasons a few years ago, and all of a sudden, he became a sought-after fantasy hockey player. Since then, he’s come back down to earth, and he’s really not someone you can even take a chance on drafting. Just look at his peripherals: 24 PIM, 102 shots, 21 hits and 86 blocked shots. If 30-point defensemen are replaceable, where exactly is Brodie helping your fantasy squad?
Klingberg has never been able to put up good peripheral numbers. Just look at his five years in the league:
2014-15: 32 PIM, 98 shots, 54 hits and 77 blocked shots
2015-16: 30 PIM, 171 shots, 44 hits and 68 blocked shots
2016-17: 34 PIM, 124 shots, 42 hits and 117 blocked shots
2017-18: 26 PIM, 204 shots, 44 hits and 109 blocked shots
2018-19: 12 PIM, 153 shots, 42 hits and 77 blocked shots
There’s only been one season (2017-18) where he was above the minimum for the guidelines I’ve mentioned. He’s a great offensive player, but he’s never been much for PIM or hits, and his shot totals have a great deal of variance from season to season.
It feels like Sergachev is right on the verge of becoming more fantasy relevant, but for now, he’s just not good enough in other categories to make up for his disappointing 32 points. This year he had 128 shots, 97 hits, 93 blocked shots and 28 PIM. I own Sergachev in a keeper league that counts all of these categories, plus a bunch more and he’s a frustrating own right now. However, I need to preach patience with Sergachev and some of the other young players on this list. Slide them down your list a little in one-year leagues, but keep them in dynasties and keeper leagues.
It’s a good thing that Theodore takes a lot of shots (202 this year), because outside of that, he’s not very fantasy relevant. His 37 points make him a borderline keeper in points-only leagues, but his 20 PIM and 27 hits are completely disappointing in dynasties. His 91 blocked shots also need to improve. At 23 years old, he’s still young and he hasn’t truly become the number one defenseman in Vegas yet, so I don’t expect him to stay on this list for long.
Here’s a fun question to ponder: Was Werenski’s fantasy season overrated? Even in points-only pools, it’s not like he’s demolishing the competition. There has been a lot of hype for the 21-year-old, but in reality, he had a subpar fantasy season with 18 PIM, 168 shots, 67 hits and 89 blocked shots. In leagues that count goals, assists, plus/minus, PIM, power-play points, shots, faceoffs, hits and blocks, Werenski was the 331st ranked player (and 76th among defensemen, behind Zdeno Chara, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, Ron Hainsey and Jordie Benn).
5. Tyson Barrie
Barrie has never been a great peripheral player, but that gets overlooked when you’re putting up 55-plus point seasons. What’s amusing is that this year was one of his best ever seasons when it comes to peripheral numbers. He set career highs in shots (218), PIM (36) and blocked shots (93) while having a four-year high in hits with 48.
4. Ryan Suter
While Suter has been accumulating more points the last few seasons than ever before, he’s not producing much in other categories. His shot total of 136 is the fourth-straight year of a decline. His 109 blocked shots are his second-lowest total of the last six seasons. There are much better options for his 78 hits, and his 41 PIM is the second highest of the last eight years. In short, don’t draft Suter for peripherals.
3. Nick Leddy
Leddy has never been great at peripherals, but this year was one of his worst yet. In years past, it was justifiable to draft Leddy as he was still a 40-point defenseman. Now, it’s just unforgivable. This year he had just 116 shots, 77 hits, 18 PIM and 89 blocked shots. Fantasy owners need him to be better in all categories, but he’s honestly not even draftable, even with the top power-play duties.
Gardiner is the poster boy for this list, and he’d be number one if fantasy general managers hadn’t given up on him over the years. Taking away 2012-13 when he played just 12 games, Gardiner has played seven seasons in the league. He’s never reached 150 shots, he’s never hit 50 PIM, he had 100 blocked shots just once and 100 hits twice (and not in the last five seasons). This year he had 78 shots, 26 PIM, 61 hits and 64 blocked shots in 62 games.
1. Torey Krug
Boston is a bit of a strange team, as every defenseman on their team could honestly make this list. Although to be fair, Charlie McAvoy would meet much of the criteria if he could stay healthy. For Krug, the Bruin’s top defenseman, doesn’t matter if he’s healthy or not. While he barely made the 150-shot plateau, it’s concerning that his shots-per-game rate was the lowest since his rookie season. In total, he finished with 151 shots, 33 PIM, 53 hits and 60 blocked shots, although he did miss 18 games of the season.
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