Each week we will look at a top five fantasy defensemen and top five fantasy goalies. The list will be based on fantasy impact over the past few days and weeks. Most elite stars consistently 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 – Travis Hamonic (New York Islanders) has been ice cold over the last 10 games with zero points and a minus-5 rating. Hamonic has a single assist, which has been so disappointing for those poolies who drafted him expecting him to build off a strong rookie season. Hamonic should get back onto the score sheet very soon.
#4 – Jason Garrison (Florida Panthers) has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. Only Nicklas Lidstrom has more goals than Garrison among defensemen. Over the last six games he has scored three goals and five points. Garrison is not well-known in fantasy circles, so he is likely sitting in your free agent pool and worth a gamble, as he is on pace for 20+ goals and 40 points.
#3 – Sheldon Souray (Dallas Stars) is proving he can still be an effective power-play quarterback. Souray has two power-play goals and eight points over the last six games. Souray is on a four-game point streak with seven points over that span. Souray is on pace for 23 goals and 75 points, which is a little high, but 50 points this season is definitely in reach.
#2 – Alexander Edler (Vancouver Canucks) has taken over the reigns as the Canucks’ top defender. Edler has three goals and nine points over the last five games. Edler has a previous career high of 10 goals and is on pace for 16 this season. Edler leads all defensemen with 15 points and is on pace for 81 points. Expect to him to finish somewhere between 55 and 65.
#1 – Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings) continues to prove he is simply the best defenseman in the NHL. Lidstrom leads all defensemen with six goals. He has only scored 20 goals once in his career and is currently on pace for 37. Lidstrom is on pace for another 60-plus point season and is pure fantasy gold.
The goaltending position is the streakiest of all hockey positions so be sure to keep a hot goalie in your lineup and the cold one on the bench.
#5 – Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) has struggled over the last five games, losing four straight before winning last night. Miller has never lost five straight starts and even though he let five goals in last night the Sabres did enough to get him the win. Miller will get his game back on track so don’t panic and trade him away.
#4 – Kari Lehtonen (Dallas Stars) is a big reason why the Dallas Stars are sitting first overall in the Western Conference. Lehtonen has lost just one game this season, going 11-1-0. Lehtonen has a respectable GAA of 2.13 but no shutouts yet. Lehtonen bounced back from allowing six goals against the Colorado Avalanche by allowing just two goals in each of the last two games, which included a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
#3 – Josh Harding (Minnesota Wild) is finally showing his potential after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Harding is 4-0-0 with a shutout in his last four starts. Harding has allowed just a single goal in each of his last three games, giving him a very low GAA of 0.75 and SV% of .977 over the last four games. Harding is the backup in Minnesota but will get his fair share of starts.
#2 – Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators) is worth every penny the Predators are paying him. Over the last five games Rinne is 4-0-1 with two shutouts. During the span Rinne has a GAA of 2.26 and SV% of .931. Rinne is on pace for his first 40-win season. Rinne records multiple shutouts each season; he already has three and is on pace for 17.
#1 – Nikolai Khabibulin (Edmonton Oilers) is out to prove that he can still be an elite goaltender in the NHL, as he has not lost a game in regulation yet this season. Khabibulin is 7-0-2 with two shutouts, and what is even more impressive is that he is boasting a GAA of just 0.98. Khabibulin is a big reason why the Oilers are second in the West, and he is on pace for a 40-win and 10-plus shutout season.
For more fantasy hockey analysis, check out <a href=”http://fantasyhockeycoach.com/”>FantasyHockeyCoach.com</a>.