Although forwards are generally the most exciting players to select on draft day, a strong stable of defensemen will always be an integral component of a championship-caliber fantasy squad. Here's this year's crop of virtual blueliners ranked by tiers.
Tier 1 – The Makar Show
Makar has already developed into one of the NHL's best defenseman through his first two years in the league, having racked up 20 goals, 74 helpers, 41 power-play points and a plus-29 rating through just 101 contests. The Umass-Amherst product was rewarded with a massive six-year, $54 million contract extension this offseason, which will keep him with the Avalanche through the 2026-27 campaign. Makar was a point-per-game player (44 points in 44 contests) in 2020-21, and he could match or even exceed that scoring pace while posting an attractive plus-minus rating on a stacked Colorado club in 2021-22. Makar should be the first blueliner off the board in standard CBS formats.
Tier 2 – The Next Best Thing
While these defenders may not have quite as much upside as Makar, they're still all fantastic No. 1 options for fantasy blue-line corps. Hamilton's scoring pace may decline a bit following his move from Carolina to New Jersey this offseason, but he should still produce around 15 goals and 45-plus points with relative ease. Fox just won his first Norris Trophy after tallying five goals and 47 points