Defensemen, Goalies Battling Back from Injuries

Each week we will look at a top 5 fantasy defensemen and top 5 fantasy goalies.  The list will be based on fantasy impact over the past few days and weeks.  Most elite stars consistent produce, but there are several players who are very streaky so keep an eye on their stats so that you can dress them while they are on a hot streak.

#5 – Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Phoenix Coyotes) had a good start to his sophomore season but has struggled as of late.  For the month of January he scored seven points in 12 games and finished with a plus three rating.  However things didn’t go so well in February where he is pointless in nine games and has a minus one rating. Ekman-Larsson has tremendous upside as an offensive defenseman and is on pace for nine goals and 28 points this season and has the potential to be a 15 goal and 50 point defenseman in a few years.

#4 – Brent Burns’ (San Jose Sharks) production isn’t quite what it was last season when he scored 17 goals and 46 points with the Minnesota Wild.  Burns is red-hot right now with 11 points in the last 10 games.  Burns is a big defenseman who has some inconsistent issues but is capable of scoring 50 points a season.  Burns is not the go to guy for offence with San Jose but is a solid secondary option as he is on pace for 12 goals and 38 points this season.

#3 – Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets) missed 16 games this season due to a knee injury but looks like he has come back even better.  Before the injury he scored 24 points in 35 games that’s a 0.69 point per game rate, however since his return Byfuglien has 12 points in 11 games, which is a 1.09 point per game rate.  He is on a four game point streak with seven points over that stretch and is on pace for his second 50 point season.

#2 – Kris Letang (Pittsburgh Penguins) is an offensive defenseman who can put up big time points.  Last season he scored 50 points while playing in all 82 games, which is a 0.61 points per game ratio.  This season before he suffered a concussion Letang was scoring at a 0.88 points per game rate.  Back on February 11th and 12th Letang scored two goals and an assist against Winnipeg and the next night one goal and two assists against the Tampa Bay Lightning, that’s six points in two nights.  Letang is on pace for 46 points in 58 games this season, expect him to be at the 50 point mark for the next several seasons.

#1 – Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis Blues) is having a fabulous season and is a big reason why the Blues are fighting for top spot in the West.  Over the last six games he has scored two goals and nine points, including two games where he scored three points.  Last season Pietrangelo scored 11 goals, 43 points and 161 shots, which is strong number from the blueline.  This year he is on pace for a career year of 14 goals, 47 points and 207 shots.


The goaltending position is the streakiest of all hockey positions so be sure to keep a hot goalie in your line-up and the cold one on the bench!  (Abbreviations: goals against average GAA and save percentage SV%).

#5 – Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) is not helping get the Canadiens into the playoffs.  Over his last five starts Price is 1-3-1 and is allowing a very high 3.14 goals a game and posting a low .899 SV%.  After proving that he was the one to keep over Jaroslav Halak with 38 wins and eight shutouts last season Price is on pace for 29 wins and five shutouts.  Now is the time to make a move to acquire Price as his value is low and he should bounce back next season.

#4 – Joey MacDonald (Detroit Red Wings) stepped in when Jimmy Howard went down with a finger injury and was lights out for the Wings.  MacDonald played a huge part in securing the NHL record for more consecutive home wins.  Over his last five starts MacDonald won all five and posted a 1.57 GAA and SV% of .940.  He has played so well that he has secured the back-up role in Detroit forcing Ty Conklin to the AHL.  Expect MacDonald to get a few more starts as Howard will be rest for playoffs and will be the full-time back up in Hockeytown next season.

#3 – Jonas Hiller (Anaheim Ducks) has been the Ducks’ best player over the last 10 games.  Hiller is 6-1-3 with a shutout over the Florida Panthers and has a GAA of 1.74 over that time span.  Hiller has 10 overtime or shoot-out losses this season and is on pace for 13, that’s a lot of wins that slipped away.  Hiller has put his battle with vertigo behind him and is on pace to tie career high of 30 wins this season, however with the Ducks just six points out of a playoff spot he could set career highs.

#2 – Mike Smith (Phoenix Coyotes) is a perfect is his last seven starts with two shutouts.  Smith has posted a spectacular GAA of 1.12 and SV% of .962 during this span.  Smith has help pushed the Coyotes into a playoff spot and has already set career highs for wins and shutouts.  Smith is on pace for 35 wins but pay close attention to trade deadline, if the Coyotes are sellers his wins won’t be that high.  Smith is locked in for one for season and should see another 60 plus starts next season.

#1 – Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) is doing all he can to get the Senators into the playoffs, over his last four starts Anderson has four wins with two shutouts.  Anderson posted 38 wins and seven shutouts with the Colorado Avalanche back in the 2009-2010 season, proving that in the right situation he can put up solid numbers.  This season Anderson is in the right situation and is on pace for 37 wins.  Anderson is locked up for another three season and you can count on similar production for the term of his contract.


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