Real or Imagined: Defensemen Part 1 (2015)

by Doran Libin on November 30, 2015

Taking a look at the Western Conference d-men and how they're trending. Buy, sell or hold?

This year the defensemen will be split into two parts with this week focusing on Anaheim to Dallas. High scoring defensemen get lots of ice time both at even strength and on the power play because they help push the play. Beware though of defensemen flourishing based on receiving temporary power play time or high shooting percentages. Only the best defensemen score on seven percent or more of their shots because they do not settle for shots from the points and have the ability to get more of their shots through to the net. If high scoring defensemen are unavailable look lower on the depth chart for multi-category options if your league has scoring categories.

 

Anaheim

Player

GP

TOI

PPTOI

Goals

Assists

PPP

Sh/G

SH%

Status

Kevin Bieksa

24

22:04

1:13

0

3

1

1.13

0.00

Sell

Cam Fowler

24

22:40

2:53

3

7

5

1.83

6.82

Hold

Sami Vatanen

24

20:40

2:42

5

8

2

1.92

10.87

Hold

Hampus Lindholm

23

22:02

1:53

2

5

3

2.04

4.26

Hold

Clayton Stoner

21

15:53

0:02

1

2

0

0.57

8.33

Hold

Josh Manson

14

18:11

0:04

1

0

0

1.71

4.17

Sell

Korbinian Holzer

10

14:50

0:01

0

1

0

0.50

0

Waive

Simon Despres

4

16:33

0:01

0

0

0

1.00

0

Buy

 

The Ducks offense started this season extremely slowly but as it rebounds the point totals of the usual offensive contributors have already began to reach expected levels. Vatanen and Fowler, the main recipients of power play time on the backend, are already on pace for 40 point seasons. Keep an eye on Hampus Lindholm as he is putting up impressive shot totals despite middling power play time. He is on pace to shatter his previous career high shot totals, likely nearly doubling them in the process. This looks like an evolution in Lindholm’s game, rather than a blip, as the Ducks as a team are taking significantly more shots with Lindholm on the ice. Kevin Bieksa is bereft of value as he is a defensive liability which ends up in large minuses, this may not seem to be of fantasy relevance except that it is very hard to score with the puck in your own net. Look to buy low on Simon Despres as he will return shortly and possibly steal time from Bieksa.

 

Arizona

Player

GP

TOI

PPTOI

Goals

Assists

PPP

Sh/G

SH%

Status

Klas Dahlbeck

23

16:53

0:05

2

1

0

0.91

9.52

Hold

Oliver Ekman-Larsson

23

24:24

5:35

5

10

4

2.96

7.35

Hold

Michael Stone

23

21:22

2:18

2

7

3

1.87

4.65

Buy

Connor Murphy

22

17:56

0:53

1

4

1

0.91

5.00

Buy

Zbynek Michalek

21

17:30

0:05

1

2

0

0.81

5.88

Hold

Niklas Grossmann

16

17:54

0:05

2

3

0

0.50

25.00

Sell

Stefan Elliott

8

13:56

1:03

1

1

0

2.25

5.56

Sell

Philip Samuelsson

3

15:34

0:05

0

0

0

1.67

0.00

Waive

 

OEL is getting ridiculous amounts of power play, however it has yet to result in a significant increase in power play points. That will remain the case until the Coyotes are able to figure out how to generate offense the way they used when Yandle was in town. OEL is making up for the lack of production on the power play by producing more at even strength. He is doing it with a very low IPP and an on-ice shooting percentage. It also helps that he is playing easier minutes in a more offensive capacity alongside Michael Stone. This trend, along with added power play time, has made Stone a viable fantasy option. His currently 33 point pace is entirely sustainable as he takes close to two shots per game. There are two multi-category options in Murphy and Dahlbeck. They are very similar but Murphy brings more offensive potential.  

 

Calgary

Player

GP

TOI

PPTOI

Goals

Assists

PPP

Sh/G

SH%

Status

Mark Giordano

24

23:40

2:21

5

3

1

2.33

8.93

Buy

Dougie Hamilton

24

19:17

1:39

2

3

2

2.17

3.85

Buy

Kris Russell

24

22:40

1:28

1

5

0

1.08

3.85

Hold

Dennis Wideman

24

22:22

2:40

0

9

4

1.29

0.00

Hold

Deryk Engelland

23

13:36

0:01

0

2

0

1.00

0.00

Sell

TJ Brodie

15

24:49

1:56

2

5

2

1.53

8.70

Hold

Brett Kulak

6

11:18

0:00

0

0

0

1.00

0.00

Waive

Ladislav Smid

4

10:17

0:00

0

0

0

1.00

0.00

Waive

 

The Flames came into this season with high hopes that adding Hamilton and Frolik would counteract the coming regression after overachieving last year, but it has not worked out that way. Hamilton has been particularly disappointing as he has only managed to produce five points and has recently seen his ice time cut back. Do not despair though as he is still firmly in the top four and receiving two minutes of power play time per game. He is also taking more than two shots per game while scoring on less than four percent of his shots, as his shooting percentage normalizes he will look more like a 40 point defenseman than the 15 point defenseman he looks like now.  

 

Chicago

Player

GP

TOI

PPTOI

Goals

Assists

PPP

S/G

SH%

Status

Trevor Daley

24

15:39

1:24

0

5

2

1.46

0.00

Sell

Niklas Hjalmarsson

24

21:19

0:07

1

5

1

1.21

3.45

Hold

Brent Seabrook

24

23:52

2:49

5

14

7

2.04

10.20

Sell

Trevor VanRiemsdyk

24

20:48

0:25

2

2

0

1.08

7.69

Hold

Viktor Svedberg

15

17:45

0:04

1

1

0

1.53

4.35

Sell

Duncan Keith

14

24:27

2:55

3

7

3

1.43

15.00

Hold

Michal Roszival

8

13:59

0:00

0

0

0

0.75

0.00

Sell

Erik Gustafsson

6

13:52

1:04

0

3

0

1.33

0.00

Waive

David Rundblad

5

14:21

1:49

0

0

0

1.60

0.00

Waive

 

Brent Seabrook came out of the gates on fire, aided in no small part by the 10 games that Duncan Keith missed. He has continued in his high scoring buoyed in no small part by his 10% shooting percentage, a mark he has reached only one other time in his career. Seabrook can only hope to maintain this rate of production if he continues to produce on the power play at rate of 6.8 point per minutes played, just short of Shattenkirk’s rate last year. With Keith back in the lineup that rate of production will be even tougher to sustain. Trevor Daley is also hurt by Keith’s return as it all but ensures that he is stuck as the fourth defenseman at best, or fifth as it stands now.

 

Colorado

Player

GP

TOI

PPTOI

Goals

Assists

PPP

Sh/G

SH%

Status

Francois Beauchemin

23

23:17

2:27

2

11

6

1.61

5.41

Sell

Nick Holden

23

20:14

0:23

0

8

0

1.13

0.00

Hold

Erik Johnson

23

23:01

2:19

4

4

2

2.70

6.45

Buy

Tyson Barrie

20

22:55

3:33

1

13

6

1.90

2.63

Hold

Brandon Gormley

15

13:07

0:18

0

0

0

0.47

0.00

Gamble

Nathan Guenin

12

14:06

0:01

0

0

0

0.25

0.00

Sell

Nikita Zadorov

11

15:55

0:02

0

2

0

0.64

0.00

Buy

Brad Stuart

6

14:22

0:00

0

0

0

0.00

0.00

Sell

Zach Redmond

5

12:19

0:01

0

2

0

0.20

0.00

Hold

 

The Colorado defense corps is thin at best. Brad Stuart was brought in to be in a veteran presence but has been an unmitigated disaster failing to even register a shot in six games. He was not going to be a relevant factor in fantasy hockey either though, whereas Nikita Zadorov could have been a factor but has been sent to the AHL after only 11 games. Zadorov has torn up the AHL with eight points in 10 games and looks like he could be on the same path as Tyson Barrie, making him a potential low cost gamble. Brandon Gormley holds similar potential, as the trade from Phoenix has worked out well for him actually getting playing time if not points. With little else on the back end in the way of offensive ability Gormley has the ability and the opportunity to make his way on to the power play. He could look especially good once Francois Beauchemin starts to slow down, but he will have to start producing before Zadorov gets back to the NHL.

 

Dallas

Player

GP

TOI

PPTOI

Goals

Assists

PPP

Sh/G

SH%

Status

Alex Goligoski

24

23:44

1:34

2

6

2

1.83

4.55

Hold

John Klingberg

24

23:30

3:03

5

22

10

1.96

10.64

Hold

Johnny Oduya

24

19:49

0:04

1

4

0

0.88

4.76

Hold

Jordie Benn

23

15:58

0:04

0

6

0

0.87

0.00

Hold

Jason Demers

21

20:25

1:15

4

6

2

1.62

11.76

Sell

Jyrki Jokipakka

19

14:49

0:02

1

4

0

0.63

8.33

Hold

Jamie Oleksiak

6

12:43

0:04

0

1

0

1.33

0.00

Gamble

Patrik Nemeth

3

16:04

0:00

0

0

0

1.33

0.00

Waive

 

John Klingberg would make a potential sell-high candidate as he is averaging more than a point per game with an extremely high shooting percentage. That would be logical but with Dallas scoring at such a high rate and Klingberg being such an integral member of the power play he has a definite shot to be the top scoring defenseman in the league. At this point it probably is not worth selling high because this juice is worth the squeeze. Demers is a better candidate to sell high as he does not shoot at an especially prolific rate but is scoring at an usually high rate. On the other end of the spectrum is Jamie Oleksiak, a high end prospect who has slipped down the depth chart. The Stars are especially deep on the backend this year running with eight defensemen but Oleksiak has the potential to be special. He is large but very mobile and if the Deslauriers fight is any indicator may be willing to start using his size. He is a good candidate to be traded as well as a good bet to steal playing time this season. Do not acquire him for immediate but rather for a depth investment.

 

Edmonton

Player

GP

TOI

PPTOI

Goals

Assists

PPP

Sh/G

SH%

Status

Oscar Klefbom

24

22:03

2:03

4

7

3

1.42

11.76

Hold

Andrej Sekera

23

20:54

2:10

2

8

4

1.57

5.56

Hold

Mark Fayne

21

16:23

0:02

0

1

0

0.57

0.00

Sell

Eric Gryba

21

17:23

0:04

0

3

0

1.10

0.00

Hold

Brandon Davidson

15

17:37

0:33

2

2

1

1.27

10.53

Sell

Darnell Nurse

15

19:21

0:16

1

4

1

1.67

4.00

Buy

Griffin Reinhart

12

16:13

0:01

0

0

0

0.83

0.00

Sell

Justin Schultz

10

21:11

3:03

0

1

1

1.70

0.00

Buy

Andrew Ference

6

13:28

0:04

0

0

0

0.67

0.00

Sell

 

There are two interesting plays in the Oilers defense. The first is Darnell Nurse, as he gets no power play time but has the second highest shot rate on the back end. He also has five points in 15 games but is only shooting four percent on the season. As Nurse gets more comfortable and the Oilers return to full health his scoring will pick up. The other interesting option is Justin Schultz, but he will have to reclaim his spot from the improving Oscar Klefbom. Schultz has a lot to prove but this is the best Oilers team in years and the talent is starting to show. Schultz takes the most shots of the Oilers backend and before his injury got the most power play time of any Oiler defenseman. Acquiring him would come with the risk that it does not click for him but this is the year to make that bet as the Oilers have too much invested in him not to give him another opportunity.