Summer is officially over. The leaves are turning, and the air is getting crisp. It’s almost hockey time! This means it’s fantasy hockey season! We’ve already broken down our top 100 fantasy hockey forwards for 2023/24 (and goalies right here). Now it’s time for our top 50 fantasy hockey defenseman rankings! Let’s go!
Go here for more NHL blogs!
2023/24 Fantasy Hockey Defenseman Rankings
Just like when it comes to the top fantasy hockey forward, there is only one choice for the top of our fantasy hockey defenseman rankings – Colorado’s Cale Makar. He’s the S tier of fantasy hockey defensemen. There isn’t a category he won’t help you substantially in, even if he has a “down year” like he technically did last season.
The next tier has four guys in it who, depending on where you look, are projected to be the second defender off the board after Makar. Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin, the top overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, is the player consistently ranked the highest in this group of players, as he’s coming off of a career year and is only 23 years old. Erik Karlsson is an offensive machine, but he kills your +/- and hits categories.
There’s not a lot of consensus among the next tier of players – some of these guys could/will go in the top 5; in other drafts, they’ll drop down into the teens. Others will go top 10 or top 30, depending on how your league drafts. Dougie Hamilton is probably your top option, as he exploded last year for 74 points.
On to our top 20 tier – any of these guys can go amongst the top 20 defensemen drafted in fantasy. Darnell Nurse is appearing in the high teens on some draft boards, so keep an eye on him. Outside of power-play points, he brought value across the board to fantasy players who had him rostered last season. And is there a better name than ‘Hampus Lindholm’?! I think not.
The rest. No disrespect meant as these are still top 50 defensemen. I’ve seen Adam Larsson as high as 17 on some boards and as low as 54 on others, so there’s some debate over his potential this upcoming season. He did have a career year last season for the Kraken, but he also is about to turn 31, so he’s no spring chicken. Hence the debate, I guess.