Fantasy hockey draft guide – Nine breakout defensemen to watch

Sean Allen, Special to ESPN.comSep 18, 2023, 09:00 AM ET

CloseSean Allen is a fantasy analyst for He was the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hockey Writer of the Year. You can tweet him @seanard.

Where the forward fantasy age curve looks like a mound, the curve for defense is more like a butte. When looking at the number of defensemen in the top 100 fantasy plays during the past eight seasons, there is a steep ascent at age 24 and a plateau at that level through age 29 before the descent begins.

There is a break in the descent at age 30 and 31, which could possibly be attributed to a particularly elite crop of defenders coming through that age group (Roman Josi, Erik Karlsson, John Carlson, Alex Pietrangelo and Victor Hedman are all age 33 or 34 for the coming campaign).

But the telling piece of this curve is that a defender will likely breakout before their age-25 season — or not at all.

Sean Allen

I’ll identify the 20-year-old defenders down below, but to satisfy your curiosity, the only defender to make the top 100 in an age-37 or age-38 season in the past eight years was Zdeno Chara in both cases. Brent Burns will attempt to become another one in his age-38 season this year — and has a good shot at it.

But to target potential breakouts, we’ll hard focus on the age-24 curve, with a few other younger defenders mixed in based on the opportunity in front of them.

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Evan Bouchard, D, Edmonton Oilers: This is the big one for the coming season, as Bouchard already had his breakout party in the 2022-23 postseason. There’s a chance that could have escaped some fantasy players, given the focus on the regular season, but it’s unlikely he’ll be overlooked much. Now coming into his age-24 season, Bouchard’s coming-out party included 17 points in 12 playoff games, including four power-play goals. Bouchard’s even-strength game…

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Author : Sean Allen

Publish date : 2023-09-18 14:03:39

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Fantasy hockey draft guide – Nine breakout defensemen to watch *Fantasy hockey draft guide – Nine breakout defensemen to watch