This is part 2 of my two part fantasy hockey series looking at which Hurricanes players you should consider drafting onto your fantasy hockey team for the 2023-2024 season. If you have not read part 1, which looks at the Hurricanes forwards, you can find it here. In this part 2, we will be taking a deep dive into which Canes defensemen and goaltenders will be worthwhile fantasy players. Once again, I will be providing the average draft position (ADP) provided by fantasypros, which gives the average position that a player has been taken across all ESPN and Yahoo fantasy leagues so far this year. Here we go!
Tier 1: Solid Number 2 Defenseman
Brent Burns (ADP 92.5)
Like in part 1, there is one clear option for tier 1 in the Canes defensive and goaltending group, and that is Brent Burns. He led the Canes in ice time last season and had complete ownership of the defensive position on the Canes’ top powerplay unit. He was third on the Canes in total points and tied for fourth on the Canes for goals with 18. At the ripe age of 38, Burns does not show any signs of slowing down, and there is no reason to think that he won’t have a similar season this year. I do not think he will score 18 goals, but he will continue to be a solid fantasy hockey option. Burns will be perfect to draft as a second defenseman onto your team as he is going in the 8th round in most leagues. Given his positional value as a defenseman, it would a great move to get him any time 6th round and later.
Tier 2: Low Risk, High Ceilings
Frederik Andersen (ADP 105.5), Tony DeAngelo (138.5)
Andersen is the goalie that I would consider drafting from the Canes on draft day. I do have my concerns, however. Concern #1 is that I am not sure what the Canes are going to do with their goaltending this year. They have three great options between Andersen, Raanta, and Kochetkov. Out of these three, Andersen is most likely to get the starting job, but like what we’ve seen from the Canes in the past, it will most likely be goaltending-by-committee in which Rod will likely run a goalie tandem throughout the season. Though there is an exception here, Rod has also shown that he will start the hot goalie, and if Andersen is able to get hot and stay hot, he will be a great fantasy hockey goalie on a Canes team that should rack up a lot of wins this season. Concern #2 is his health. Andersen has yet to have a full season with the Canes and has been injury prone throughout his entire career. With all that said, Andersen has been going in the late 9th round, and that is more than proper adjustment for these concerns for a fantasy goalie who could easily go on to get more than 30 wins behind a Canes defensive core that is by far the best in the league.
If I were to pick another Canes defenseman other than Brent Burns, it would be Tony DeAngelo. The main fantasy value that DeAngelo brings to his game is his powerplay expertise and offensive upside. I have no doubt that he will quarterback that second powerplay unit for the Canes this season, and he should be quite good at it. DeAngelo won’t log big minutes like he did two years ago for the Canes or last year like he did with the Flyers, but being drafted in the mid-12th round is a safe, low risk pick for a player who could be in the top 30 fantasy hockey defenseman this year and who is being drafted as the 40th defender off the board. And, if your league gives points for penalty minutes, he can also fight. Try to get DeAngelo with one of your late draft picks.
Tier 3: Wait and See
Brady Skjei (ADP 139.0), Dmitry Orlov (236.0), Jaccob Slavin (248.0), Antti Raanta/Pyotr Kochetkov (274.0/120.0)
I would not pick any of these players on fantasy hockey draft night. Yes, Skjei had 18 goals last year, but that was his career high by 9 goals! He will not do that again, and despite his high goal total, he still had limited fantasy value to his game. Considering that Burns and DeAngelo basically have the powerplay positions locked down, Skjei’s fantasy value is limited, and he is being picked way too high in Round 12 to justify drafting him. Do not pick him.
For Orlov and Slavin, there’s the same problem that we have with Skjei: the Canes defensive core is crowded, which is great for the team but decreases their individual stats. Slavin will play on the Canes top defensive line with Burns, giving him possible value, but again, without powerplay time, drafting such a defenseman really is not worth it for many for a fantasy hockey teams. I don’t really know what the Canes will do with Orlov this year. Orlov is an amazing player and was arguably the best free agent available this offseason. It feels wrong that he would be stuck on the third defensive pairing, but that might just be where he ends up. Do not draft either of them, but keep a close eye on them.
I added Raanta/Kochetkov to this third tier because if the Canes do end up going with a goaltending tandem throughout the season it would be worth having both Andersen and his backup on the same fantasy team to alternate as needed throughout the year; because no matter who is starting in goal for the Canes, they are likely to get wins. As you can see from his ADP, Kochetkov is being drafted around pick 120. Why this is, I couldn’t tell you. Especially because I think that Rod will likely have Andersen and Raanta as the tandem, leaving Kochetkov out of the mix. Let someone else make that mistake, not you. Don’t draft either of these goalies, but watch the Canes as they start the year, and if Rod is going with a goaltending duo to split the games, whoever the backup is would be worth a free agency pickup.
Which Canes players will you be drafting for your fantasy hockey team?
Let me know your thoughts!