Blocked shots aren’t a conventionally used statistic in fantasy leagues, but they’re a nice option for leagues that want to recognize a purely defensive aspect of the game. It’s also a category that defensive defensemen tend to excel in, which gives some value to a group that’s typically passed over in fantasy circles. However, if you’re not used to blocked shot leagues, you may not know who to target. This article should help you as we highlight the best options for blocked shots in a few different circumstances.
The Elite – These players are simply your best options for blocked shots if no other needs are factored in.
Kris Russell – Although injuries have limited Russell, that hasn’t prevented him from being the league’s best option when it comes to blocks. He’s missed 38 games over the last three seasons, but still has over 100 more blocked shots over that stretch than any other player. Unfortunately, there’s not much else to like about Russell. Unlike some other defensive defensemen, he’s not a great option when it comes to hits, and while he did set a career-high with 34 points in 2014-15, his offensive output has dropped significantly since then with him being limited to four goals and 21 points in 78 contests last season. Still, if what you need is blocks then he’s the cream of the crop.
Alec Martinez – Martinez hasn’t always been a standout in terms of blocked shots, but that’s changed in recent years. He set career-highs in back-to-back seasons with 117 in 2014-15 and then a huge leap to 182 blocks in 2015-16. While he took a bit of a step back in 2016-17 with 167 blocks, he once again reached new heights last season with 206, which was good for second place in the league. He’s brings a fair amount to the table offensively as well. While he did dip to 25 points last season, he surpassed the 30-point milestone in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and he’s a decent bet to get back to that level again.
Patrik Nemeth – Nemeth is a much higher list than the other players in this category, but the potential payoff can’t be ignored. After never getting much of a role with Dallas, Nemeth averaged 19:51 minutes per game with the Colorado Avalanche in 2017-18 and rewarded them with 185 blocks in 68 games. If he can stay healthy this season – and that’s a big if given that he’s coming off shoulder surgery – it wouldn’t be shocking to see him surpass the 200 blocked shots milestone. Keep in mind that only three players reached that level last season, so it wouldn’t be a small thing if Nemeth were to reach that mark. Just keep in mind that he’s also a less established defenseman, so in addition to the health questions, there’s also a chance that he’ll regress.
Cody Ceci – Ceci’s importance to the Ottawa Senators has been steadily climbing for years and it’s only going to be greater now that Erik Karlsson isn’t on the team. Keep in mind though that Ceci already averaged 23:16 minutes per game over the previous two seasons, so there’s not a lot more Ottawa could possibly ask of him. As he’s developed, Ceci has also been steadily blocking more shots with totals of 49, 113, 130, 159, and 171 from his debut in 2013-14 to 2017-18 respectively. There’s a fair chance that he’ll set yet another career-high this season while also providing 150-200 hits and around 20 points. Unfortunately, he’s also likely to have a horrible plus/minus rating given the state of the Senators.
The Offensive Blueliners – What you lose in blocked shots by deviating from the top tier, you’ll gain in points. If you need a good source of blocks that won’t cost you offensively, then this is the group for you.
Erik Karlsson – In terms of blocked shots, Karlsson took a step back last season, going from his career-high of 201 blocks in 2016-17 to 120. Still, if you look at the blocked shots category over the last three seasons, Karlsson ranks second in the league behind only Russell. Let’s be honest: You’re drafting Karlsson for his elite offensive skills, but the fact that he can also help you in blocks is a nice bonus.
Brent Burns – It’s crazy to think that one team has the two best offensive defensemen in the league, but after the Sharks’ acquisition of Karlsson, that’s probably the case. After all, Burns has been Karlsson’s most consistent rival over the last three seasons. Burns had 75, 76, and 67 points in those three campaigns respectively and while he didn’t find the back of the net at the same pace in 2017-18, he did exceed the 25-goal milestone in 2015-16 and 2016-17, which is amazing for a blueliner. By contrast, Burns isn’t a great source of blocked shots, but he’s far a liability in that regard. He’s recorded between 136-145 blocks in each of his last three campaigns, which is pretty solid stuff.
Mark Giordano – Although Giordano will celebrate his 35th birthday on Oct.3, he’s surpassed the 35-point milestone in each of his last five seasons and is a good bet to do so again in 2018-19. He also has the potential to provide you with over 150 blocks, given that he’s done so in each of the previous three campaigns and had 161 blocks in 2017-18. He’s one of just three players that exceeded both the 35-point and 150-blocked shots marks last season, so the fact that he should do so again this time around is very valuable.
Ivan Provorov – Another member of the 35+ points and 150+ blocks shots last season was Provorov with 41 and 169 respectively. That was just Provorov’s second season, so it’s not unreasonable to believe that the 21-year-old can continue to grow this season. He’s also a nice addition in terms of hits (148 in 2017-18) and while he might see a regression in goals this season compared to 2017-18, the fact that he found the back of the net 17 times last season is outstanding.
The Defensive Forwards – Blocks is a defensemen dominated category, to the point where the top forward in blocked shots ranks 114th overall. Still, there are some forwards that do contribute more than others in this category, so we’ll take a minute to highlight the best of them here.
Boone Jenner – Just how big of a difference is there from a shot blocking defenseman and a shot blocking forward? Well, Jenner has blocked between 71-83 shots in each of that last three seasons and that’s considered excellent by forward standards. Although he’s not an offensive force, he certainly chips in there too. He can’t be expected to come anywhere close to the 30-goal milestone again despite scoring that many times in 2015-16, but recording 30-35 points in 2018-19 is an entirely reasonable projection.
Nick Bonino – There was a time when it looked like Bonino would develop into a solid offensive contributor, but at best he’s ended up being a complimentary forward. He had 12 goals and 25 points in 71 games in 2017-18 and shouldn’t be expected to do much better this season. What he can do though is provide you with 75-100 blocked shots.
Tom Pyatt – If you’re looking for the 2017-18 leader in shots blocked among forwards, then that’s Pyatt with his 93. He provides less offensively than Bonino or Jenner, but he’s also a better bet than them in terms of blocks by a slim margin. As an aside, he was minus-12 in 2017-18 and given the current state of the Senators, that should be a rough category for him again this season.
The Offensive Forwards – It’s already rare to find a forward that will block a noteworthy number of shots, so narrowing the field further by only focusing on offensive forwards makes things even harder. There are still some examples of that though, so here are some players to consider if you want to have your cake and eat it too.
Joe Pavelski – While Pavelski has dipped significantly from his peak of 41 goals in 2013-14, he still has recorded at least 68 points in each of the last five seasons and should continue that streak in 2018-19. When it comes to blocked shots, he’s a significant contributor by forward stands. He’s chipped in 82, 67, 73, and 70 in each of the last four seasons respectively.
Ryan Getzlaf – Getzlaf was limited to 56 games last season, but still managed to block 57 shots. He also excelled offensively when healthy with 11 goals and 61 points. Getzlaf is a top-tier playmaker and the fact that he’s willing to get in front of shots is a nice bonus. Unfortunately, he also tends to suffer at least one ailment per season as he hasn’t played in more than 77 games in any of the last five campaigns.
Mats Zuccarello – While Zuccarello is a step below Pavelski and Getzlaf, he’s at least still part of that very rare breed of offensive forwards that are also willing to block shots. Zuccarello has blocked between 52-69 shots in each of his last three campaigns. He’s also a significant contributor with the puck, scoring 16 goals and 53 points in 80 contests last season.
The Anvils – There are a ton of forwards that don’t block shots, but if some of them are particularly bad in that regard. Below is a list of elite players that won’t do you much good when it comes to blocks.
Patrick Kane – Kane has never recorded more than 27 blocks in a single season and usually he does significantly less than that. In 2017-18 he had just 14 blocks in 82 games. He’s also a nonfactor when it comes to hits and had 18 last season. Of course, he scored 27 goals and 76 points in 82 games last season and might do better in 2018-19, so fantasy owners aren’t going to complain much about his lack of blocks and hits.
Phil Kessel – Kessel is coming off arguably the best season of his career with 34 goals and 92 points in 82 games. He blocked just 17 shots though, which is only a mild jump from his 15 in 2016-17. He doesn’t typically dish out hits either and was credited with a mere 10 last season.
Brad Marchand – Marchand is known for getting under people’s skin and in recent years he’s managed to become quite the offensive force too. He’s not great when it comes to blocks though. He does sacrifice his body to stop a shot more often than Kessel or Kane, but Marchand still had just 25 blocks in 2017-18.