On Friday we released the Forwards half of our DailyFaceoff (almost) First-Half All-Star Team and here is part two with our top two D-men and goaltenders from the first two months and 27 days of the NHL season. let’s take a look at who we think have been the two best players at each position. We are looking at all the relevant fantasy statistics (G, A, P, +/-, PPG, PPP, SHG, S, GWG) Click HERE to take a look at the Forwards we selected for this squad!
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Erik Karlsson (OTT) – At 23-years-old Karlsson continues to take the NHL by storm. The Senators picked him 15th overall in 2008 and you have to wonder how he lasted that long? He is the best offensive defenseman that the NHL has to offer and does tremendous work for his fantasy investors. After a somewhat slow (by “slow” I still mean by Karlsson standards) start to the season where he had eight points (2G / 6A) in his first 10 games, the young Swede has found a new gear in the last two months. He has been over a point-per-game having registered eight goals and 24 assists (32 points) in his last 30 games. He leads NHL D-men in goals, points, power-play points and is 2nd in shots and assists.
Duncan Keith (CHI) – Keith had the best season of his NHL career in 2009-10 when he recorded 69 points (14G / 55A) but then became somewhat pedestrian for the three following seasons. However this season Keith has found his Elite card and rejoined the club. Through 39 games he is 1st amongst NHL defenseman in assists (33), 2nd in points (36), t-2nd in power-play points (14) and 5th in shots (104). He is currently on pace to beat his career high with 74 points and it is plays like THIS (<Watch) that appear to have him locked into Team Canada’s Olympic team.
Josh Harding (MIN) – Heading into the 2013-14 season, Harding had never started more that 25 games in a season, but his spectacular play this year has already earned him 24 starts in the Wild’s first 40 games. Harding has shown glimpses of great play prior to this season but held a 40-51-8 record. He currently sits 1st in the NHL in GAA (1.51), 2nd in SV% (.939), t-2nd in shutouts (3) and 5th in wins (18). His 18 wins is already a career-high and his GAA and SV% are much better than his career numbers of 2.46 / .918. The best part about Harding’s season is he is doing all this while dealing with multiple sclerosis. Harding could very well be playing his way onto Team Canada’s Olympic roster.
Tuukka Rask (BOS) – Rask is as steady as it gets in terms of a fantasy hockey goalie. In his first season as an NHL starter Rask went 19-10-5 with a 2.00 GAA and .929 SV%, this season he has looked even better going 20-8-2, 1.81 and .938 in his first 30 starts. He was likely the first or second goalie off of the board in most drafts so it is no surprise to see Rask leading fantasy squads. He is currently riding a four-game winning streak and has won six of his last seven starts. Rask is a must-start regardless of matchup, just plug and play with this Finnish netminder.