I have just pulled the top seven on my projected rosters to have a quick peek at and there is a ton of talent between these five squads and I think this is what makes them very dangerous this season.
|P.K. Subban||55||Victor Hedman||70||Kris Letang||50||Seth Jones||45||Dustin Byfuglien||55|
|Roman Josi||55||Anton Stralman||30||Justin Schultz||50||Zach Werenski||35||Jacob Trouba||35|
|Ryan Ellis||40||Mikhail Sergachev||30||Matt Hunwick||25||David Savard||30||Tyler Myers||30|
|Mattias Ekholm||25||Dan Girardi||15||Olli Maatta||20||Jack Johnson||25||Toby Enstrom||20|
|Matt Irwin||15||Andrej Sustr||15||Ian Cole||20||Ryan Murray||25||Dmitry Kulikov||20|
|Alexei Emelin||10||Jake Dotchin||15||Brian Dumoulin||15||Markus Nutivaara||10||Joshua Morrissey||20|
|Yannick Weber||10||Braydon Coburn||10||Derrick Pouliot||10||Scott Harrington||5||Ben Chiarot||10|
If we learned anything in last season's playoffs, the Nashville Predators defense carried their squad all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals and it is scoring by committee there. The top five on their blueline are all returning and all ready to contribute and a guy like Matt Irwin could be a decent sleeper, especially if he can find some more minutes beyond those first four.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have one of the better all around defenders in the league in Victor Hedman and this could be his season for a real shot at the Norris Trophy, assuming he can put together a big 70-point (or so) season. They also get to add one of the top blueline prospects in the NHL in Mikhail Sergachev, who they acquired in a trade from the Canadiens this summer and he can certainly make this squad and produce.
The Cup champs are somewhat of a curious addition, given the injury prone nature of Kris Letang, but that is taken into account with his season's projection of 50 points. The real lynch pin now of this blueline is Justin Schultz and he's the guy that could really make his way up the list, if used appropriately. The addition of Matt Hunwick appears to be a good one, after a good season in Toronto.
Seth Jones is developing into one of the league's best defensemen and he's being trailed by sophomore sensation Zach Werenski, as the Columbus Blue Jackets are continuing to trend upwards in the standings and their playoff prowess. I think you'll find a few gems in Columbus that will give your team decent support this season, because you'll certainly need it.
Finally, the Jets are another one of those teams that are building up quite the blueline and they have added a big bomber in Dmitry Kulikov, certainly making their already daunting lineup that much stronger. Winnipeg certainly has a lot of potential at the back end, the likes of Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey are guys that could move beyond their projections and into real worthiness in the 2018 season.
Dale B., our pool winner last season, saw his team rank 9th among the 25 teams in the pool in defensemen scoring, as his team found a pretty good balance between all three positions, ranking 6th in forwards and 7th in goalies. These guys may not be overly important, but your pool team should still be decent at the position, if you intend to win any money this year.