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Fantasy Sports Fantasy Hockey

Top 5 Fantasy Hockey Defensemen For 2013

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Top 5 Fantasy Hockey Defenders For 2013

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of years ago fantasy hockey owners simply waited until the end of the draft to address their defense. It was never a position of strength in fantasy, so most owners simply did not waste a mid-level pick on a player that didn’t have the potential to even crack 40 points.

However, in recent fantasy hockey seasons, defensemen have become amazing contributors on the offensive end. Lately there seems to be more and more defenders who can steadily add points for fantasy owners, which only makes the decision more difficult.

This will be one of the first seasons where the youngsters, or guys under 28, will be headlining the position. Most of the aging veterans are starting to fall by the wayside. It now leaves the kids to take the torch and thus earn their stripes for fantasy owners.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is the leader of this new points movement, as the K-Man racked up a staggering 78 points through 2012. Karlsson proves that defenders can score like centers and this could be the beginning of a completely different style of fantasy hockey.

This off-season also saw the Nashville Predators break the bank to re-sign defender Shea Weber to a massive nine-figure contract. Weber will be asked to put up points on a regular basis for that hefty price tag, so fantasy hockey owners should certainly watch him during drafts this winter.

Honorable Mention: 10. Dan Boyle ( Tampa Bay Lightning) 9. Mark Streit ( New York Islanders) 8. Brian Campbell ( Florida Panthers) 7. Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues) 6. Alexander Edler (Vancouver Canucks)

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5. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

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Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins - Chara is built more like a WWE wrestler, as opposed to a NHL defender. The seven-foot veteran averaged 132.1 penalty minutes per season between 2000-07, but in his last four seasons he has only averaged 89 minutes in the sin bin.

However, his points have remained a constant in his game. Chara has averaged 46 points a game over his last eight games. He has also posted a +/- of 33 in each of the last two seasons and seems to never have a bad shift. Chara will once again be an elite defender to grab in the early rounds of fantasy drafts this week.

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4. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

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Shea Weber, Nashville Predators - Weber is the new $ 100 million man in Nashville (perhaps the only one), as he signed a massive 14-year deal worth approximately $ 110 million to come back to Tennessee. The 27-year-old has matured into one of the most reliable defensemen, as he has averaged 48.25 points over his last four seasons while playing at least 78 games each season. He has proven to be very offensive minded, which is exactly what fantasy owners want from a defenseman. He will be heavily counted on this season to lead the charge for the Preds, so expect him to post career-highs across the board.

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3. Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

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Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets - Byfuglien has posted back-to-back seasons with 53 points and last season the 27-year-old only played in 66 games. He finished with 12 goals and 41 assists, making him one of the best fantasy defenseman in the game. Byfuglien will once again anchor a fair share of fantasy leagues this winter.

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2. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins

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Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins - Letang missed a good amount of time last season with head and lower-body injuries. However, in only 51 games the defenseman dominated fantasy with 42 points. He scored 10 goals and 32 assists, including a ridiculous 23 points throughout the team’s 27 January games. Letang will only get more chances to make plays with Sidney Crosby back in the lineup, so expect Letang to finish the year with around 55 helpers.

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1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

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Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators - Karlsson had an unthinkable 2011 season for a defender, as his 78 points tied him for tenth in the NHL and ironically with New Jersey Devils center, Patrick Elias. Karlsson scored 19 goals, but was able to help on 59 goals throughout the course of the season. His offensive mindset from behind the blue line is extremely beneficial for fantasy owners and will make him a very popular pick on draft day.