NHL Fantasy: Defencemen to give your blueline a boost

Finding production from the back end in fantasy hockey can be an extremely challenging task, especially as the season progresses. Most teams, especially the good ones, have a power play quarterback from the get go, and if you don’t draft a Cale Makar or Adam Fox or Kris Letang, it can be tough sledding to find quality defencemen in later rounds are on the waiver wire.

Fortunately, there are several defenders who are not highly rostered that could give your fantasy blueline a boost.

Noah Dobson – New York Islanders – 32% Rostered

He’s just 22 years old, but Noah Dobson has cemented himself as a legitimate top-four defender in the NHL this season. He’s taken over top power play duties for the Islanders, and despite the team being one of the worst in the league this season, Dobson is absolutely thriving.

Dobson has amassed eight goals and 22 points in 42 games this season, good for a pace of 16 goals and 43 points. That’s impressive stuff from a player who is only in his third NHL season. The Islanders aren’t a team you want to stock up on, but Dobson is a great player you want to bet on for the rest of the season. To make him even more attractive, he’s a pending restricted free agent at the end of the season, so his performance in the second half will be huge in determining the value of his second NHL contract.

At just 32% rostered in Yahoo! leagues, chances are Dobson is available in your league, and with the Islanders playing four games next week, it’s the perfect time to pick him up.

Damon Severson – New Jersey Devils – 26% Rostered

The Devils are other team that really hasn’t been too attractive this season, but Damon Severson is putting together a solid season and is back to being fantasy relevant. Severson has put up six goals and 27 points in 48 games this season, good for a pace of 10 goals and 46 points. Again, pretty solid production.

Severson is currently playing on the Devils’ top pair and quarterbacking their top power play unit, one that features Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. This is what makes Severson extra valuable in fantasy this season. He has 10 power play points so far, which puts him 20th overall in the NHL among defenceman. The Devils don’t have a great power play by any means, but Severson is putting up points on the power play like one of the best in the league, and his success on the man advantage gives him staying power over other defencemen like P.K. Subban and Ty Smith.

At just 26% rostered, he’s likely available in your league. The Devils only play twice this week, but have four games the week after.

Vince Dunn – Seattle Kraken – 25% Rostered

Vince Dunn was a popular sleeper pick at the start of the season, but with how the Kraken have struggled in their first season in the league, he quickly became one of the fastest players cut from teams. He’s picked things up recently though, and offers production from the blueline that few others can.

So far this season, Dunn has recorded seven goals and 20 points in 45 games, a pace of 13 goals and 36 points. It’s not an amazing point total, but his pace of 13 goals is pretty solid. He’s currently anchoring the Kraken’s second power play unit, which doesn’t sound that good, but it actually looks better than their first unit. The second unit features Jared McCann, Ryan Donato, and Yanni Gourde, all of whom are among the Kraken’s top-four goal scorers. I’m not sure what the logic is in those power play units, but Dunn looks to be on the better one, and has converted with two goals and six points on the power play this season.

Dunn has been more productive as of late with three goals in his past five games, all while playing over 20 minutes a night. The Kraken play four games this week with the Canucks, Islanders, Bruins, and Sharks on the docket.

Other defenders to consider

It’s hard to find productive defenseman midway through the season, but others to consider are:

  • Adam Boqvist – Columbus Blue Jackets – 6% Rostered – 35GP, 9G, 8A, 17P
  • Nate Schmidt – Winnipeg Jets – 23% Rostered – 47GP, 3G, 21A, 24P
  • Noah Hanifin – Calgary Flames – 24% Rostered – 46GP, 5G, 18A, 23P
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