We are through the first couple weeks of the regular season and you may be regretting some of your draft picks or trying to replace some injured players (Duncan Keith). Here is a guide to some depth defensemen to improve your lineup. You can find my previous article to depth forwards here. All “depth defensemen” are owned in less than 50% of ESPN fantasy leagues:
Jeff Petry (MTL)
Jeff Petry has suddenly become one of the Canadiens’ best defensemen since being acquired from the Oilers last season. The blue liner has a plus-3 rating, two power play points and a 21:52 average ice time already this season. Petry signed a six-year, $33 million extension with the team this offseason and Montreal has now locked up three defensemen through 2017-18, including P.K. Subban and Alexei Emelin. Jeff Petry looks set to anchor that second unit for years to come.
Jason Demers (DAL)
The Dallas Stars have won five games in a row and their defense is a big reason why. The Stars have only allowed four goals in their last three games, including only one goal allowed against Pittsburgh on Thursday. Jason Demers has played very well on the second pairing, scoring four total points and two power play points. He is averaging 20:57 in ice time and already has 17 penalty minutes due to a game misconduct. He is looking like a solid fantasy depth defenseman.
Colton Parayko (STL)
Colton Parayko has quietly had a very nice start to the season for St. Louis. The Blues second pairing defenseman has three points, a plus-3 rating, and four penalty minutes in seven games this season. Given the Blues success, I like his positive rating to continue and he may be able to chip in some points if you need some production out of your defense.
Ryan Ellis (NSH)
The Predators have a wealth of talent on their blue line and Ryan Ellis is no exception. The young defenseman has looked terrific through the opening two weeks of the NHL season. He has four points and a plus-three rating through six games, including a goal and two assists Thursday against Anaheim. Ellis looks poised to top his career high of 27 points this year and is a great addition to any fantasy team right now.
Ben Hutton (VAN)
Ben Hutton is flying very far under the fantasy radar this year, owned in only 5.7% of ESPN fantasy leagues. However, there is a lot to like from the Vancouver rookie. He has three points, a plus-2 rating, and 15 shots while currently playing on the third unit. He is averaging almost 19 minutes per game already and that number should rise if he keeps producing at this level. His coach has stated publicly that he is playing way beyond expectations considering he was a fifth round draft pick who jumped straight from the University of Maine to the NHL with only four games in the AHL in between.