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Fantasy Hockey Early Trends and Pretends 3.0 (Defense Edition) with Michael Stone

Early trends. What to trust, what to watch out for. Power Rankings

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3rd week into the season. With each team having played at least 7 games in the 2015-2016 NHL season here 10 things to keep in mind at this point in the season:

1. Michael Stone 5 year vet and brother of Mark Stone is playing alongside Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the first defensive pair for a surging Coyotes as well as on the top Power Play unit as well. He has the 3rd most shots of any defenseman over the past week and two assists. Oliver (again his line mate) is tied for the 3rd most shots which means they are not shying away from peppering goalies - this can lead to point opportunities. He is currently 10% owned.

2. If your league gives points for PIM or Hits or both I would recommend Mark Borowiecki. He is currently 2nd in hits (1st among defensemen) and 7th in PIM (2ndamong defensemen). He will NOT be many points as he has amassed 2 goals and 10 assists in 84 games. He is currently 13% owned.

3. If you are among the 60% of Olli Maatta owners, consider the following through the first 3 weeks this year: he has 9 shots or just under 1.15 per game. He has 4 hits and 1 goal and is averaging 16 minutes of ice time vs. an average of 21 minutes for most defensemen.

4. Remember Cody Franson? He was the highly touted free agent who no one wanted to sign in the offseason and eventually Buffalo signed him to a two year $6.6M contract? After averaging 19:53 TOI and 0points in his first four games, he is now at 21:15 and is firmly entrenched on the 2nd PP unit. Two of his three points came on the power play. He's firing in shots, he hits, he blocks shots and most importantly, the Sabres are slowly increasing his playing time as they trust in him more. Over the last few years he scores mid to high 30's in points which puts him in the top 40 and more importantly he'll deliver high 100's in hits and low 100's in blocked shots.  He's on pace to continue this trend with his new team. He's 14% owned.

5. The 8 game scoreless streak is no foreign concept to Erik Karlsson, last season he hit a 15 game stint without a goal. No concern there, he'll get plenty of points.

6. Looking for Power Play points? Seth Jones finished 11th among defensemen last year with 11 power play points and this year he remains on the top Power Play line alongside Shea Weber, Filip Forsberg, James Neal and Mike Fisher. He has 2 PPP in 8 games which would put him on pace for 20 this year. Seth is 52% owned. Another option: Rasmus Ristolainen, he had a strong finish last year and is off to 3 PPP so far (puts him first among defensemen). He's the only defenseman on Buffalo's top Power Play unit alongside Brian Gionta, Johan Larsson, Jack Eichel and Jamie McGinn. Buffalo is leading the league in power play goals right now. Rasmus is 23% owned.

7. Deep deep league flyer? Yannick Weber just rejoined the Vancouver Canucks lineup and with him comes a powerful slap shot. Despite the fact that he shares a big slap shot with Shea Weber and the fact that they look partially similar, they are not related. Walk carefully with him - he's on the top power play unit now but he's been a healthy scratch a few times so the coaches still aren't sure if they want him in the lineup. He is 1% owned.

8. P.K. Subban and the Montreal Canadiens are legit. He will probably finish as the top defensemen in most fantasy formats at season end. The combination of his mobility, shot, and surrounding players is a perfect combination.

9. Best 5 teams in Goals Against average right now: Montreal Candiens (1.33 GAA); Chicago Blackhawks (1.77 GAA); Pittsburgh Penguins (2 GAA); Nashville Predators (2 GAA); NY Rangers (2 GAA). Last year in that same order Montreal - 7th; Chicago - 15th; Pittsburgh - 9th; Nashville - 25th; Rangers - 5th. With a strong Pekka Rinne in net for Nashville these teams could remain in the top 10 throughout the season. All have strong goalies, good coaching and good systems.

10. Top 5 Rookie Defensemen in terms of points: Colton Parayko (Stl - 53% Owned) 5 points; Ben Hutton (Van - 3% owned) 4 points; Klas Dahlbeck (Ari - 0% owned) 3 points; Trevor van Riemsdyk (Chi - 1% owned) 2 points; Noah Hanifin (Car - 4% owned) 2 points.

NHL Power Rankings:

Week: 10/26/2015

Bleacher Report

ESPN

Fox Sports

CBS Sports

Average

vs. last week

Anaheim Ducks

24

29

29

16

27.33

21.33

Arizona Coyotes

18

17

17

19

17.33

17.33

Boston Bruins

22

20

19

22

20.33

20.67

Buffalo Sabres

29

28

28

27

28.33

27.00

Calgary Flames

25

24

24

24

24.33

26.67

Carolina Hurricanes

28

26

25

29

26.33

27.67

Chicago Blackhawks

9

5

13

6

9.00

10.67

Colorado Avalanche

26

25

27

25

26.00

23.00

Columbus Blue Jackets

30

30

30

30

30.00

30.00

Dallas Stars

5

4

4

10

4.33

6.67

Detroit Red Wings

17

19

18

14

18.00

13.67

Edmonton Oilers

23

22

23

23

22.67

23.33

Florida Panthers

14

18

16

17

16.00

15.00

Los Angeles Kings

13

9

12

20

11.33

20.33

Minnesota Wild

7

10

11

8

9.33

7.67

Montreal Canadiens

1

1

1

1

1.00

1.00

Nashville Predators

3

3

3

5

3.00

5.00

New Jersey Devils

19

14

15

28

16.00

28.00

New York Islanders

10

6

5

12

7.00

7.33

New York Rangers

6

11

6

9

7.67

12.67

Ottawa Senators

21

21

22

13

21.33

13.33

Philadelphia Flyers

15

13

13

21

13.67

19.00

Pittsburgh Penguins

16

16

20

18

17.33

18.33

San Jose Sharks

12

15

14

11

13.67

6.33

St. Louis Blues

4

7

7

14

6.00

6.67

Tampa Bay Lightning

8

12

8

2

9.33

5.00

Toronto Maple Leafs

27

27

26

26

26.67

24.67

Vancouver Canucks

20

23

21

15

21.33

12.67

Washington Capitals

2

2

2

3

2.00

9.00

Winnipeg Jets

11

8

9

7

9.33

8.33