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Don’t Eat The Cheese: 2023 Fantasy Hockey Defensemen Busts

Fantasy Hockey

(Sofia Aristy/Vendetta Sports)

Fantasy Hockey
The Don’t Eat The Cheese 2023 fantasy hockey series wraps up with the defensemen busts. Who should you avoid on draft day? (Sofia Aristy/Vendetta Sports)

Don’t Eat The Cheese: 2023 Fantasy Hockey Defensemen Busts

We already reviewed the fantasy hockey busts for goalies and forwards. The Don’t Eat The Cheese series wraps up reviewing defensemen to avoid for the 2023-24 NHL Season.

Josh Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets) D8, 37th overall

I guess Rick Bowness is the defenseman whisperer? He somehow got John Klingberg to put up points so I guess it’s no surprise that Morrissey had an out-of-nowhere breakout campaign. Morrissey posted 76 points last year. His prior career high was 37, which came the year before.

I get the intrigue but I need to see another year of this before I buy in. Keep in mind that Winnipeg could go into dark sell mode at any minute too. It’s very possible Morrissey produces early but not late when the Jets sell off pieces.

37 overall is too rich for my blood. I’ll let someone else have him for that price.

Brandon Montour (Florida Panthers) D9, 39th overall

This is another example of wanting to see it before I believe it. Montour was impressive last year and posted 73 points with Florida. His prior career high is 37, which came the year prior. I do believe in the developmental story when it relates to Montour. The former forward-turned-defenseman finally figured things out last year and became a force powering the backend for Florida. I just don’t think I’m willing to take him one spot ahead of Sidney Crosby… which is how Allen has it ranked.

Jakob Chycrun (Ottawa Senators) D10, 41st overall

I really like the player but this ranking is insane. Maybe this is a hot take even though I don’t think it is. I think Chycrun probably has the third most points on his own team out of Sens’ defensemen. Things could change but right now Thomas Chabot runs the PP there. Jake Sanderson is also a young offensive-minded defenseman on the rise. Did you see what Ottawa just paid Sanderson? I think they envision Chycrun being an all around guy rather than just focusing on putting up points.

Last year Chycrun had 33 total points. It was too small of a sample size to take anything away from his Sens tenure last year but there is also a ton of risk picking him this early. I’d much rather have the next three defensemen on the board (Moritz Seider, Adam Fox, and Charlie McAvoy). I have a hard time believing he outscores either of them. Pretty hard to do so when you’re the third guy on your own team.

Jacob Trouba (New York Rangers) D14, 57th overall

This is starting to turn into an annual tradition. The tradition of ranking Jacob Trouba WAY TOO HIGH. There shouldn’t be a ten-spot gap between Fox and Trouba. Fox is just way better.

What’s with the obsession? It doesn’t even make sense. Trouba is serviceable in fantasy but it’s all hoping and praying the hit and block totals will be there. Trouba was good in that department last year notching 218 hits and 197 blocks. However, his ceiling is limited with the 30 points posted last year. He’s never going to be a top-end defenseman without higher point totals.

Worse yet, K’Andre Miller is on the rise. I think this is probably the year where he snags second PP duties from Trouba. He’s also coming off a career low in terms of ice time. Mostly because Miller is really good. If Trouba gets banished to defense duty only you’re banking on career-high totals in hits and blocks maintaining itself. Hard pass.

Adam Larsson (Seattle Kraken) D17, 71st overall

Any ranking that has Larsson ahead of Victor Hedman is wrong. I don’t need to even say anything else. Larsson is basically Seattle’s version of Trouba. The hit and block totals will be there. It’s a floor play with no real upside. Larsson posted 33 points last year and will probably sit at that total again this year. It’s about 30 spots too high.

I get why you would want guys like Trouba and Larsson. The floor points will be there. I just have no idea why you’re willing to pay a premium for floor plays. Let someone else make that mistake.

Justin Faulk (St. Louis Blues) D22, 88th overall

Faulk posted a career high 50 points during his age-30 season with the Blues. Maybe he produces again for the sole fact that St. Louis doesn’t have many other options. Especially if Torey Krug is hurt. However, there really isn’t much upside here. You know what you’re getting and it’s serviceable D minutes. He set a career-high mark in blocks last year too.

Will that maintain as he heads into his 30s? I think that’s a fair question to ask. I don’t have a ton of problem with the ranking but I feel like I can do better in this spot. There are other defensemen I like in this spot more and would prefer to pick Faulk in the 140 overall range.

Noah Hanifin (Calgary Flames) D23, 91st overall

It’s hard to rank Hanifin this high when he’s the third-best defenseman on his own team. You have to draft him as if he’s a top-end guy on his own team. It doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Hanifin posted 38 points last year and wasn’t even useable in fantasy. He legitimately was a free agent for most of the season even in our deep site league. There is no upside here. I’m not sure I’d take him in the top 250. Better real life player than fantasy asset.

Last year was also the first year in his career he crossed the 100 block total. If we’re not even getting consistent hits or blocks… WTF are we doing here? Hanifin could also be traded at any moment.

Jared Spurgeon (Minnesota Wild) D33, 123rd overall

Defense matters in hockey but it doesn’t really matter in fantasy. Again, we’re confusing real life success for fantasy success. Spurgeon doesn’t run the PP in Minnesota and will head into his age 34 season. He also posted a career high 179 blocks when his normal total sits in the 120 range. You will probably get 35 points with no real upside. Spurgeon should go 60 spots lower. I can do better in this spot and would much rather take a shot on a high upside play.

Juuso Valimaki (Arizona Coyotes) D40, 142nd overall

Very misguided ranking. I guarantee Sean Durzi outscores him. Durzi is ranked 30 spots lower for no reason. The Coyotes traded for this guy for a reason. I have a longer form post on this. Just no reason Valimaki is ranked higher.

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