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Will Carlson lead defensemen in scoring again?

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: December 29, 2020, 9:39 am ET

January 2021 is right around the corner, and that means the start of the new hockey season is nearly here.  With less than three weeks to go until puck drop, it's time to ramp up the research for your fantasy drafts. We're aiming to help all of our readers, longtime and new, cruise to a title. As the season approaches, we've been offering exclusive looks at our 2021 Rotoworld NHL Draft Guide from the Rotoworld Premium EDGE+ RotoEDGE+ Pro and EDGE+ Max packages.

Jammed with content aimed at providing the knowledge you need to make the perfect draft decisions for both standard and dynasty leagues — from projections, rankings and tiers to exclusive expert columns, mock drafts, ADP Reports and much more — we've never been more proud of what we have to offer. And from now through January 3rd, you can get 20% off your purchase of any tier or package with promo code HOLIDAY20 at checkout.

Recently we've shown off our Goalie Projections, Tier 2 Centers, 2021 Sleepers and more. This time, we're looking at our player profiles, specifically from several key defenseman to target in your drafts.  Check it out:

 

2021 NHL Defensemen Profiles

John Carlson, WSH
There is no defenseman in the league right now who should be taken before John Carlson. He didn’t just win the scoring title among blueliners in 2019-20, he ran away with it. Carlson had 15 goals and 75 points in 69 contests while the next best defenseman was Roman Josi with 65 points and Victor Hedman who finished third with 55 points. Carlson had 68 points in 2017-18 and 70 points in 2018-19, so his performance wasn’t an anomaly either. He’s become a cornerstone of the Capitals’ offense and that is likely to continue going into this season.

Roman Josi, NSH
Your James Norris Memorial Trophy winner was by far Nashville’s best player last season. The 30-year-old blueliner put together a stellar season, scoring 16 goals and 65 points in 69 games, before adding another four points in four games in the Return to Play format. The 0.94 point-per-game clip is by far the best of Josi’s career, indicating that some regression could be forthcoming. However, you’re still looking at one of the first defensemen to come off the board come fantasy draft season. Hopefully, an improved Predators power play will offset any regression coming for Josi. He's capable of picking up 40 points in a shortened 56-game season.  

Victor Hedman, TB
Hedman collected 11 goals and 55 points in 66 contests last season. He finished third in Norris Trophy voting after he ranked third among all defensemen in scoring. Among blueliners, Hedman had the fourth-most assists (44) and he was fourth in plus-minus with a plus-27 rating. He was one of just 19 rearguards to reach double digits in goals. Hedman recorded 22 power-play points, giving him more than 20 points on the man advantage for a fourth straight season. He was also outstanding in the postseason and he will be one of the first defensemen off the board on draft day due to his 40-45 point potential.

Dougie Hamilton, CAR
Hamilton was heading towards what was looking like a James Norris Trophy winning season when he broke his leg in mid-January. In just 47 games, the 27-year-old picked up 14 goals and 40 points, one more point than he managed in 82 games the previous season. His injury was supposed to rule him out for the remainder of the season but the stoppage in play helped him recover in time for the Return to Play format. Although his minutes were up, Hamilton struggled to reproduce the same offense we saw prior to his injury, finishing with just two points in five games. A near point-per-game pace will be tough to keep up, but reaching the 35-point mark in a shortened 56-game season is well within reach (with room for more).
 

 

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