Blocked shots are a popular added stat category in many fantasy leagues because of the value they add to defensemen and popular defensively gifted forwards like Ryan Kesler and Anze Kopitar.
There are elite shot blocking defensemen that don’t bring much else to the table despite seeing big ice time like Francois Beauchemin and Kris Russell, but there are also elite fantasy defensemen that dominate in standard scoring categories on top of being prolific shot blockers.
Here are five of fantasy hockey’s most valuable shot-blocking defenders who bring more to the table for their fantasy managers.
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
In addition to scoring 20 goals, including nine on the power play, and putting 212 shots on net, Giordano blocked nearly 200 shots this past season while playing an average of 24:47 per game. Giordano was also an ironman for the Flames after missing 39 games in the last two seasons with injuries.
The Flames may not have been a playoff team this year, but there are few defenders in fantasy hockey that put up numbers as flashy as Giordano does. No blue liner blocked as many shots while getting as many on net as the captain of the Flames did in 2015-16.
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators
The days of Josi being mentioned only as Weber’s understudy are long over. The Swiss-born defenseman had nearly 50 assists this season while scoring 14 goals from the blue line. But he was far from a one-dimensional player. While eating up over 25 minutes of ice time per game Josi blocked 185 shots for the Predators and put over 200 of his own on the opposition’s net.
Josi is just 25 years old which means that most of his best hockey is likely still ahead of him. That fact alone makes him one of the most coveted defensemen in fantasy hockey and will continue to for years to come.Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
It’s hard to believe that on top of being the best offensive defenseman in hockey (and likely the best overall defenseman) that Karlsson is also a solid shot blocker, but he is. Karlsson averages nearly 29 minutes a night for the Senators and while he was out on the ice for almost half of every game this season for Ottawa he registered an astounding 66 assists and 175 blocked shots.
The case for drafting Karlsson before every other defender, other than perhaps the unstoppable Brent Burns, is a strong one regardless of what scoring categories your fantasy league might have. Karlsson’s 26 power play points and 248 shots on top of the shots that he blocks make him one of fantasy hockey’s two best blueliners. There seems to be nothing that the Swedish superstar can’t do.
Shea Weber, Nashville Predators
Weber returned to his 20 goal form this year despite a significant drop in the number of shots he unleashed from Nashville’s blue line this season. In fantasy leagues that care about hits and blocked shots on top of standard scoring categories there just aren’t many defenders who can approach the impact that Weber has year in and year out with the Predators.
Weber had 169 hits, 160 blocked shots, and 14 power play goals this season for the Predators in his 25:22 minutes per game. Physical, talented, and unrelenting, there is just no stopping Weber. The Predators’ captain may be turning 31 this offseason but as long as he has that monstrous shot and continues to see loads of ice time he will continue to be one of fantasy hockey’s most valuable defensemen.
John Carlson, Washington Capitals
Brent Burns and Brent Seabrook are two other defenders who had outstanding fantasy value this season while blocking in the neighborhood of 150 shots, but per game neither of them stood in front of more shots than Carlson did for the Capitals.
Through just 56 games this season Carlson blocked 114 shots while scoring 39 points; 14 of which were on the power play. With the departure of Mike Green, there was no real competition on Washington’s blue line for Carlson in regards to power play ice time. As great as his power play production and blocked shot totals were in his season abbreviated by injury, they both pale in comparison to his shot total.
Carlson averaged 2.21 shots per game, which made him one of the highest volume shooting defenders in the league. If not for the significant time he missed with his injury, the young American defender would have been a lock for a top-100 fantasy player given his talent and the strength of his team.