This article is part of our Blue Line Buzz series.
It's playoff time!
As usual, the Blue Line Buzz is here with your fantasy primer for defensemen, and while it seems both logical and practical to simply use rankings based on production during the regular season, remember that if a player's team is eliminated, that player can no longer contribute to fantasy. In other words, while Erik Karlsson may be the best defenseman in the league this year, the Ottawa Senators aren't likely to win the Stanley Cup, which means a lesser defenseman, such as Kevin Shattenkirk on the Presidents Trophy-winning Washington Capitals, potentially has far more value.
So, without further ado, here's the 2017 Blue Line Buzz playoff fantasy primer. Players are ranked in order but grouped by team, and the teams are further ranked by their regular season finish.
Niskanen has arguably been the Caps' best defenseman this season, but his defensive responsibilities increase in the playoffs, which means the puck-moving duties will fall to Carlson, who scored 12 points in 12 playoff games last year. The minor wrinkle this year is the addition of Shattenkirk, who is also a proven playoff performer with 28 points in 47 games, but is only a threat on the power play, and there will be fewer opportunities in the playoffs when the refs put their whistles away. The Caps' Cup odds are always good, but…again, it's hard to ignore the fact that the've never advanced past the second round in the