It’s never too late to think about the upcoming fantasy season. A lot of player movement is expected this summer, which will certainly have an affect on their respective fantasy values, but there comes a point in a player’s career – due to age or lack of opportunity – where they no longer become valuable in fantasy.
Here’s a look at six defensemen who are already under contract for the 2022-23 season with an average draft position (ADP) of 180 or higher to avoid for the upcoming fantasy season.
Tyson Barrie, D, Oilers (2021-22 Yahoo ADP: 62.3)
With a healthy Darnell Nurse, Evan Bouchard pushing for more minutes and the incoming Philip Broberg, will Barrie get enough playing time? Barrie finished 32nd in scoring with 41 points and ranked 30th in points per game (0.56) last season, but it’s not nearly enough to justify such a high ADP, which was 12th-highest among defensemen and two spots behind Roman Josi and 16 ahead of Shea Theodore. Barrie averaged slightly less ice time under Jay Woodcroft (18:24 TOI/GP) than Dave Tippett (19:29), and in the playoffs ranked fifth in EV TOI/GP. Barrie’s lack of consistency can be a huge nightmare for fantasy managers, too, and during a 27-game stretch last season scored zero goals and 10 helpers.
Samuel Girard, D, Avalanche (ADP: 129.1)
Girard didn’t have a particularly strong 2021-22 campaign with 28 points and a minus-4 rating, and his playoff run was cut short after an injury to his sternum. He’s a key piece of the Avs’ defense but there will be competition for minutes, especially after Bowen Byram’s breakout performance in the playoffs. If Josh Manson is re-signed, it’s possible Girard ends up being the No. 5 option behind Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Byram and Manson, and Girard’s steady, two-way game doesn’t translate well to fantasy. Without Girard, the Avs played Makar on the top power play with four forwards with Toews and Byram on the second unit.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D, Canucks (ADP: 133.2)
A move to the Canucks ended up not being very beneficial to either side. OEL managed to stay healthy, but for the third straight season he scored 30 points or less, and the Canucks defense remained their biggest weakness. He’s still very capable, but with Quinn Hughes and possibly prospect Jack Rathbone making a run for a roster spot next season, OEL will be stuck in a matchup role with little opportunities to create offense. He showed well on the second power play unit when opportunities arose, but the Canucks are very reliant on their top unit and it’s not uncommon to see Hughes quarterback the entire length of the power play.
Ty Smith, D, Devils (ADP: 141.3)
Smith entered the season with quite a bit of hype, finishing seventh in Calder voting after scoring 23 points in 48 games while averaging 20 minutes per game. He was expected to take a big leap forward, but instead hit a sophomore wall and scored just 20 points and a minus-26 rating in 66 games and saw his average ice time drop to 17:30. The additions of Ryan Graves and Dougie Hamilton and the emergence of Jonas Siegenthaler puts a cap on Smith’s playing time, though this still very early stages in his career. Smith should go undrafted in next season’s fantasy drafts but keep an eye on him as a low-cost, high-upside waiver wire pickup.
Kevin Shattenkirk, D, Ducks (ADP: 153.8)
There’s a tendency for fantasy managers to fill out the rest of their defense in the later rounds of the draft because it can be a crapshoot outside a handful of elite options. A bad pick won’t really hurt your chances of winning because they can be easily replaced by the plethora of options in the free agent pool, but it would really be surprising if Shattenkirk remains on the fantasy radar. He is still a mobile power play quarterback, but even with the improvement from 2020-21, Shattenkirk is on the wrong side of 30 playing on a very bad team and offers little else other than the occasional point. His 135 blocked shots were a career high and that carries some fantasy value, but that’s also probably a reflection of how much the Ducks play in their own zone and, conversely, how little offensive opportunities Shattenkirk will get.
Gustav Forsling, D, Panthers (ADP: 171.2)
Forsling’s breakout season with 37 points on a very good offensive team makes him tempting as a late-round option, but don’t be fooled. His 6.9 S% was higher than expected, and even with a career-high 21:13 TOI/GP, note that Forsling does not play on the power play, leaving such duties to Aaron Ekblad, Mac Weegar and Brandon Montour. With Paul Maurice behind the bench, look for their offensive to be more subdued for the sake of better defensive play, making Forsling an option only in the deepest of leagues.