Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Even Boston Globe reporter Gary Washburn has to agree that there's a clear-cut choice for the No. 1 fantasy defenseman this season.
Washburn, as you may have heard, voted for Carmelo Anthony for NBA MVP, costing LeBron James the first unanimous selection ever, but there should be no dissension from Washburn or anyone else when it comes to naming Montreal Canadiens blueliner P.K. Subban the top fantasy player at his position.
Subban demolished the field, providing elite statistics in all six of the standard fantasy categories for skaters.
Choosing 2-10 was much less absolute, as you'll see below in The Sports Network's end-of-season top-10 fantasy defensemen rankings.
1. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens - Subban tied for the lead among defensemen in points with 38, and was second in goals and third in assists at the position. He led defensemen with 26 power-play points and also finished as a +12 with 57 PIM and 126 SOG. He put together that season after missing the first two weeks due to a contract dispute.
2. Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes - Yandle vaulted up the final rankings with a flourish in the final three games of the season -- one goal, five assists, 10 PIM, five SOG, +4. Prior to that stretch, he had nine goals, 15 assists, 44 PIM, 125 SOG and an even plus/minus, so he would have ranked in the top-five either way, but that finish helped him jump to second.
3. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins - Letang led all defensemen in assists with 33 and tied for the position-lead with 38 points while getting off 95 SOG and finishing with 13 power-play points and a +16. He did all that despite missing 13 games with a foot injury. The one thing preventing the Penguins blueliner from ranking higher than Yandle is that he was far too disciplined this season, spending just eight minutes in the penalty box.
4. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators - Playing without Ryan Suter, who signed with Minnesota last summer, for the first time in his career, Weber looked lost for the first 13 games of the season, putting up one point in that span. But he rebounded and finished with nine goals, 27 points and 96 SOG over his final 35 games, which extrapolates to 21 goals, 63 points and 225 SOG over an 82-game season. His final numbers -- nine goals, 19 assists, 48 PIM, 12 PPP, 124 SOG and a -2 -- were enough to place him fourth at the position this season.
5. Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs - Phaneuf had identical scoring numbers -- nine goals, 19 assists -- to Weber and had 65 PIM to Weber's 48 and 16 PPP to Weber's 12. However, he was a -4 and had 36 fewer SOG than Weber, so he ranks slightly behind the Predators powerhouse.
6. Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets - Byfuglien is 6-foot-4, 257 pounds and has forward skills, but injuries have prevented him from reaching his potential over the last few seasons. He had 12 goals and 53 points in just 66 games last season, and while he played 43 of Winnipeg's 48 games in 2012-13, a lower-body injury nagged him in February and limited him to three points and 16 SOG in nine games that month. In the other three months, "Big Buff" had eight goals and 25 points in 34 games. Byfuglien's saving grace this season was his 142 SOG, which led defensemen.
7. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins - Chara had just 12 assists in 48 games this season after tallying 40 in 79 games last year, so his ppg average was down from 0.66 to 0.40, but he had seven goals, a +14, 70 PIM and 119 SOG.
8. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild - Suter, like his former blue-line partner Shea Weber, was nearly invisible early in the season. He had four points and a -7 through his first 10 games with the Wild, but he had four goals, 24 assists and a +9 in 38 games the rest of the season. Suter finished second among blueliners with 28 assists.
9. Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia Flyers - Even at age 38, Timonen proved he could still lead a power-play as well as any defenseman in the league. He had five goals and 24 assists, with three goals and 14 assists coming with the man advantage. We could have used more SOG than 78 and a better plus/minus than a +3 from Timonen, but 36 PIM was a nice addition to his production.
10. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks - There were a number of players we considered for the No. 10 spot, including Andrei Markov (10 goals, 20 assists, 23 PPP), Mike Green (led defensemen with 12 goals) and Drew Doughty (six goals, 16 assists, 36 PIM and 114 SOG), but we settled on Keith and his all-around contributions. The Blackhawks defenseman had three goals, 24 assists, 31 PIM, 10 PPP and 91 SOG, and his +16 differential set him apart from the other players we mentioned.
Biggest bargain: Subban - His uncertain contract situation forced fantasy owners to move him down draft boards, and he ended up with an ADP of 85.8 in Yahoo! leagues, 15th among defensemen.
Biggest bust: Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks - Boyle was the seventh defenseman off the board in Yahoo! leagues, going at an ADP of 61.9. Fantasy owners were expecting something close to 2011-12, when Boyle had nine goals, 39 assists and finished second among defensemen and 22nd among all skaters with 252 SOG. Boyle did score seven goals in 46 games, but he had just 13 assists and 97 SOG, which extrapolates to 23 assists and 173 SOG over an 82-game season.