Forwards get most of the attention due to their eye-popping offensive production, but fielding a corps of productive blueliners is equally important when it comes to achieving success in fantasy hockey.
Here's a preview of this year's class of defensemen, ranked by tier.
Tier 1 – No. 1 options
Carlson will be the first rearguard off the board in most fantasy drafts after leading all defensemen with 75 points in 69 games last campaign, but this tier is chalk full of skaters that could perform just as well, if not better than the Caps' stud defender in 2020-21. Makar was third in points per game among defensemen behind Carlson and Josi last year, and should only continue to improve during his sophomore season. Josi is coming off his first Norris Trophy win following his 16-goal, 65-point, plus-22 performance in 2019-20, and should threaten the double-digit goal and 45-point marks while posting healthy power-play totals this year. Hamilton missed a large chunk of the 2019-20 campaign with a lower-body injury, but he was electric when healthy, racking up 14 goals and 40 points in 47 contests. Last year was the first time Dougie was forced to miss extended time due to injury since entering the league in 2012, so virtual managers shouldn't have any concerns about his health. Hughes finished second