Line Change on the Fly: Weber Worth Every Penny

Updated: December 27, 2011 at 10:56 am by Alexander Monaghan

‘Line Change on the Fly’ is the feature where we re-rank our current player rankings. This edition ranks defensemen and their counterparts for the first time since the preseason. Feel free to go nuts in the comments.

Good evening, fantasy hockey gamers. For the last couple of weeks we’ve heard clamoring over our current rankings. Well, chirp no longer as this list of defensemen will shortly be amended to reflect this season’s progression. Keep in mind that these rankings are a mix of actual game play and how their counting stats stack up as we try to find the perfect blend.

Instead of ranking players in numbers, we will be assigning arbitrary dollar values to each forward. These values have nothing to do with auction drafts, they are simply to notate comparative value. Knowledgeable debate is more than encouraged; you may even be able to sway my vote in the future.

$25 Shea Weber
$24 Erik Karlsson
$23 Zdeno Chara
$23 Nicklas Lidstrom
$22 Ryan Suter
$22 Dustin Byfuglien
$22 Duncan Keith
$21 Keith Yandle

This past offseason, Shea Weber was awarded a record-setting $7.5 million arbitration settlement which set a precedent for the highest amount given to any player. In real life and fantasy hockey he is worth every penny. After Weber comes Erik Karlsson, who looks like a steal at any draft ranking as he continues to rack up points. Norris Trophy shoe-ins Nick Lidstrom and Zdeno Chara remain incredibly stable options. Impending UFA Ryan Suter is proving himself with the bat and the stick in his walk season, getting the nod over former teammates Dustin Byfuglien and Duncan Keith. Keith Yandle takes the elite caboose due to his skill level opposed to production; I’m allowed to have mancrushes.

$20 Alexander Edler
$20 Dion Phaneuf
$20 Drew Doughty
$19 Brian Campbell
$18 Kimmo Timonen
$18 Dan Boyle
$18 Ian White
$16 P.K. Subban
$16 Marc-Andre Bergeron
$16 Dennis Wideman
$15 Jason Garrison
$15 Michael Del Zotto
$15 Joe Corvo
$15 Niklas Kronwall
$15 John Michael Liles
$14 Mike Green
$14 Sheldon Souray

Concerns over Edler’s durability are the only thing preventing him from being elite. The Canucks rearguard is currently tied for fourth in points with 24. He is followed by Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and then Drew Doughty — another player too talented to be ranked lower. Solid veterans Dan Boyle, Brian Campbell, Kimmo Timonen and Ian White are as reliable as they come. After them is a somewhat substantial drop as the lists sports some underachievers like P.K. Subban and guys who have hit their ceilings like Dennis Wideman, Jason Garrison and Marc-Andre Bergeron. Michael Del Zotto continues to bounce back from a bad season as the top offensive threat on the Rangers blue line. Niklas Kronwall is a pretty difficult player to rank as five of his seven goals came in a seven-game span. Joe Corvo, John Liles and Sheldon Souray are all fitting in nicely with their new teams. Mike Green should be back shortly which keeps him from slipping any farther.

$13 Lubomir Visnovsky
$13 Sergei Gonchar
$13 Kevin Shattenkirk
$13 Brent Burns
$13 Alex Goligoski
$13 Tobias Enstrom
$12 Mark Streit
$12 Dan Hamhuis
$12 John Carlson
$12 Kevin Bieksa
$12 Kris Letang
$12 Matt Niskanen
$12 Sami Salo
$11 Alex Pietrangelo
$11 Cam Fowler
$10 Christian Ehrhoff
$10 James Wisniewski

The third tier belongs to the injury plagued, sophomore slumps and otherwise underachievers. Visnovsky hopefully gets the Ducks back to their scoring ways after playing with broken indexes. Sergei Gonchar has been fantastic this season but has no points since getting back on the ice. Kevin Shattenkirk is certainly a riser and may be the top d-man in St. Louis. However, until they play better in the offensive zone, it’s hard to make the argument as a 1-2. Brent Burns, Mark Streit and Alex Pietrangelo have so much talent but just can’t seem to put points up. Alex Goligoski, Tobias Enstrom are still question marks since coming back from injury while Kris Letang remains out indefinitely. The Canucks troika of Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis are all more-than-serviceable but their interchangeable nature makes them collectively less valuable. Matt Niskanen will only have value until Letang returns, John Carlson probably doesn’t have much value with or without Mike Green as he hasn’t seen the top PP unit all year. Cam Fowler, Christian Ehrhoff and James Wisniewski are underachievers on struggling teams but have too much talent to go any lower.

$ 9 Jack Johnson
$ 9 Kyle Quincey
$ 9 Zach Bogosian
$ 9 Matt Carle
$ 8 Fedor Tyutin
$ 7 Tom Gilbert
$ 6 Dan Girardi
$ 5 Marek Zidlicky

It’s probably unfair to put Johnson in the last tier but there are reasons. His team hasn’t scored consistently for years now while Johnson is unlikely to change that with a career-high of eight goals. With the Kings deciding to not use him on the top PP unit with Drew Doughty, it seems unlikely that he will get his fair share of offensive opportunities. In addition, he has only one goal since November 7th. Alternatively, Kyle Quincey could probably score on any team but has been a healthy scratch for a few games now. Zach Bogosian is finally coming to life but needs to share offensive minutes with Enstrom. Matt Carle, Dan Girardi, Fedor Tyutin and Tom Gilbert are excellent plug-ins who don’t wow you with offense but can give decent counting stats across the board. The highly-skilled and injury-prone Marek Zidlicky rounds out the top 50.

DROPABLES: Jay Bouwmeester, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jonathan Blum, Ed Jovanovski, Luke Schenn, Jamie McBain, Victor Hedman

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