Mike Green (19G, 57 A, +39, 54 PIM, 205 SOG, 10 PPG, 25 PPA, 1 SHA)
Green continues to be a model of consistency and reliability. While having superstar scorers on his team has certainly helped, Green is also a leader in his own right. He had career high in total points, plus/minus, and power play assists. Among defensemen, he led in total points, goals scored, assists, power play goals, power play assists, and total power play points. If not for teammate Jeff Schultz, who was +50, Green’s +39 would have led all defensemen.
Drew Doughty (16G, 43A, +20, 54 PIM, 142 SOG, 9 PPG, 22 PPA)
Doughty’s stellar play was a key element in the Kings’ first playoff appearance in eight years. The third leading scorer among defensemen was a surprise pick for the gold medal winning Team Canada and probably took Mike Green’s spot. The Kings showed a tremendous amount of belief in the former 2008 second overall pick, and in his second year, he has established himself as one of the best young defensemen in the league. He was tied for second in goals scored by a defenseman with Shea Weber, behind only Green.
Tyler Myers (11G, 37A, +13, 32 PIM, 104 SOG, 3 PPG, 13 PPA, 1 SHA)
The 12th overall pick of the 2008 draft was eleventh in total points by a defenseman. There was a tremendous amount of hope in the Buffalo organization that Myers would develop into a top-tier defenseman, and fortunately for the Sabres, Myers did exactly that, elevating an otherwise pedestrian-type grouping of defensemen. Myers was the fifth-leading scorer on the Sabres and led the team in icetime.
Kurtis Foster (8G, 34A, (-5), 48 PIM, 165 SOG, 3 PPG, 23 PPA)
After missing most of last season with a broken leg, free agent signee Foster anchored the Lightning power play. He was tied for third among defensemen power-play assists and benefited from the power play abilities of Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. He had career highs in total points, assists, power play points and power play assists. All other defensemen on the Lightning contributed 10 power-play points.
Keith Yandle (12G, 29A, +16, 45 PIM, 145 SOG, 5 PPG, 11 PPA)
The fourth-leading scorer on the resurgent Coyotes made significant contributions. He was the team’s plus/minus leader as well as power-play point leader (tied with Shane Doan and Matthew Lombardi) and set career bests in almost every category. Yandle had shown some promise last year with 30 points and 13 power-play points.
Dion Phaneuf (12G, 20A, +1, 83 PIM, 225 SOG, 5 PPG, 11 PPA)
Phaneuf played himself off of Team Canada and out of Calgary with career lows in assists, total points, penalty minutes, shots on goal, power-play points, and power-play assists. For someone who was probably one of the top defensemen off of the fantasy draft board, this was a bad year, considering that he was outscored by Marc-Andre Bergeron and Anton Stralman. Phaneuf was probably viewed as untouchable trade material prior to this season and his trade to Toronto shocked a lot of people. Hopefully he can rebound next season.
Jay Bouwmeester (3G, 26A, (-4), 48 PIM, 130 SOG, 1 PPG, 11 PPA, 2 SHA)
Expected to team with Phaneuf in leading the Flames to playoff glory, Bouwmeester had his worst totals since the strike year, with lows in goals, total points, penalty minutes, shots on goal, power-play goals, and power-play assists. Mark Giordano led all Flames defensemen in points, and that is not what Calgary had in mind when they acquired Bouwmeester.
Cam Barker (5G, 16A, +5, 68 PIM, 105 SOG, 4 PPG, 6 PPA)
Primed for a big season after 40 points last year (with 5 power-play goals and 24 power-play assists), Barker’s play this year prompted his mid-season trade to Minnesota. His total points this year were near half of last year’s with a dramatic fall in power-play numbers.
Marc Edouard Vlasic (3G, 13A, +21, 33 PIM, 74 SOG, 1 PPG, 1 PPA in 64 games)
Playing with a great offense should have helped Vlasic’s numbers. With 6 goals and 30 assists (of which 3 goals and 18 assists were on the power play) last year and the departure of Christian Ehrhoff, Vlasic was all set for improved numbers. Instead, Vlasic’s total points were less than teammate Doug Murray. Vlasic’s plus/minus was good for ninth best among defensemen, but this was offset by a marked decline in power-play numbers.
Sheldon Souray (4G, 19A, (-19), 65 PIM, 113 SOG, 4 PPA in 37 games)
Another one of the top twenty defensemen on draft lists, Souray was true to form and had an injury-filled below-expectation year after a productive year. In 2006-07 and in 2008-09, Souray put up strong numbers, only to alternate in 2007-08 and now 2009-10 with injury-plagued seasons. Souray could be a real bargain for 2010-11, and his plus/minus will likely improve if his wish is granted and he is traded out of Edmonton.
Niklas Kronwall (7G, 15A, +5, 32 PIM, 68 SOG, 3 PPG, 5 PPA, 4 SHA)
After a 51-point season with 4 power-play goals and 18 power-play assists, Kronwall fell to the injury bug and played in only 48 games this year. He was still the third-leading scorer among defensemen on the Wings. Kronwall could also be a bargain in next season’s fantasy drafts, but he continues to carry significant injury risk.