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Defensemen Rankings for 2022-23 Fantasy Hockey

There are many ways to evaluate defensemen in fantasy hockey, and now more than ever the position is becoming increasingly relevant in earlier rounds of drafts. The ability of the players in the upper half of this list to put up points and their roles on the powerplay make them safe fantasy picks.

Aside from points the remainder of this list contains defensemen who will be able to provide enough hits and blocks to make them relevant, as well as younger defensemen with upside. No matter what kind of scoring format you play in, this list should present a good basis for how to value defensemen in any league.

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Fantasy Defensemen Notes

Coming in atop the list, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the reigning 2022 Conn Smythe and Norris Trophy winner Cale Makar. Turning 24 just after the start of the season, Makar will be relied on to make up for some of the offense the Avalanche lost when Nazem Kadri departed for Calgary. While matching the 28 goals he scored last season seems like a lofty expectation, it is entirely reasonable based on what we saw from Makar in the playoffs. He should be the first defenseman off the board in any league.

Victor Hedman, Roman Josi, Adam Fox, and John Carlson round out the top five and the top tier of fantasy defensemen. Each of these players are the top rearguard on their respective teams, and each will be quarterbacking their teams powerplay, giving them a high floor and even higher ceiling.

The rankings are banking heavily on a Brent Burns “rebound” season after he notched 54 points for the San Jose Sharks last season. Now playing in Carolina, the Hurricanes’ system should give him free rein to shoot from the point as much as he wants, and playing with Jaccob Slavin should alleviate some of his defensive responsibilities.

A number of young defenders make up the top 20 including Moritz Seider, Quinn Hughes, Rasmus Dahlin, and Noah Dobson. Seider and Dobson provide a nice combination of offensive upside, blocks, and hits. Hughes and Dahlin have both already achieved high levels of production and only project to improve as they enter their primes.

One thing worth monitoring that could shuffle the rankings is who gets the prize position on the blueline on the Edmonton Oilers power play. Tyson Barrie was the man in 2021-22 and is expected to start there once again. But with Darnell Nurse now on an expensive contract and Evan Bouchard’s ever-improving offensive play, it is worth keeping an eye on. All are ranked in a similar range, but only Nurse provides fantasy value outside of points.


Some injury notes to keep in mind on draft day:

Charlie McAvoy: Expected back early December

Matt Grzelcyk: Expected back early November

Ryan Ellis: Unknown return date

2022 Fantasy Defensemen Rankings

For more draft help check out Fantrax’s 2022 forward rankings

1Cale MakarCOL
2Roman JosiNSH
3Victor HedmanTB
4Adam FoxNYR
5John CarlsonWAS
6Aaron EkbladFLA
7Kris LetangPIT
8Moritz SeiderDET
9Quinn HughesVAN
10Dougie HamiltonNJ
11Morgan RiellyTOR
12Brent BurnsCAR
13Shea TheodoreVGK
14Thomas ChabotOTT
15Zach WerenskiCLB
16Miro HeiskanenDAL
17Rasmus DahlinBUF
18Noah DobsonNYI
19John KlingbergANA
20Alex PietrangeloVGK
21Drew DoughtyLA
22Devon ToewsCOL
23Torey KrugSTL
24Erik KarlssonSJ
25Seth JonesCHI
26Darnell NurseEDM
27Rasmus AnderssonCAL
28Evan BouchardEDM
29Tony DeAngeloPHI
30Jakob ChychrunARI
31Jared SpurgeonMIN
32Josh MorrisseyWIN
33Mikhail SergachevTB
34Neal PionkWPG
35Shayne GostisbehereARI
36Tyson BarrieEDM
37Vince DunnSEA
38MacKenzie WeegarCAL
39Jacob TroubaNYR
40Justin FaulkSTL
41Owen PowerBUF
42Charlie McAvoyBOS
43Noah HanifinCAL
44Ivan ProvorovPHI
45Jaccob SlavinCAR
46Matt DumbaMIN
47Jeff PetryPIT
48Mike MathesonMTL
49Jake SandersonOTT
50Bowen ByramCOL
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