Fantasy Hockey IDP: A Midsummer Night Reality?

It has come to this. When ESPN opens up their doors for fantasy hockey, the IDP (Individual Defensive Players) league will have its inaugural campaign. Here at THW, we are always looking to push the envelope. In this mini article, we will preview some of our newly unveiled IDP Rankings. They are the first of their kind so please cut us a little slack.

Again, this is going to be a concept that seems to be a little odd for even some of the most seasoned fantasy hockey veterans to wrap their heads around. However, give it time and a chance. As defensive stats will eventually evolve, some old “friends” of fantasy hockey categories past will make an appearance. Please note that goals, assists, and all that fun stuff did not make the cut. Defensemen points, yes, do count as a fraction for our criteria. What did we use for our purposes? Honestly, the goal was to keep this as humanly simple as possible. These were the nine categories.

Are we rolling the fantasy hockey dice with Dustin Byfuglien? [photo: Tooba Iqbal]
Are we rolling the fantasy hockey dice with Dustin Byfuglien? [photo: Tooba Iqbal]

Fantasy Hockey IDP Nine

  • Plus/Minus
  • Penalty Minutes
  • Defensemen Points
  • Special Team Points (Shorthanded and Power Play)
  • Hits 
  • Blocks
  • Shots On Goal
  • Shifts
  • Average Time On Ice

These nine again may not stay universal as the IDP format moves forward but for now, it works best. Normal 2013-2014 projections will not quite apply as this column from Victoria Matiash illustrates. Victoria blended more offensive categories but it is a nice guideline to go on for our rankings. It is more than worth the read (despite the April publishing date). Our more defensive ideal brings in hits and blocks for starters. That brings some players into the mix that normally would never dream of being on a list.

For the most part, the usual suspects in some form or another have made the cut still. Their rankings may not quite be what one would expect but this is the type of league where a little more creativity is necessary. Now it is time for that list before we are kicked off of here. Again these are projections only and not set in stone due to injuries, defensive pairing changes, etc.

The IDP Cream Of The Crop

  1. Dustin Byfuglien
  2. Zdeno Chara
  3. Shea Weber
  4. Dion Phaneuf
  5. P.K. Subban
  6. Erik Karlsson
  7. Ryan Suter
  8. Kris Letang
  9. Niklas Kronwall
  10. Duncan Keith
  11. Alex Pietrangelo
  12. Drew Doughty
  13. Keith Yandle
  14. Tobias Enstrom
  15. Mike Green
  16. John Carlson
  17. James Wisniewski
  18. Brent Seabrook
  19. Jack Johnson
  20. Brian Campbell
  21. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
  22. Lubomir Visnovsky
  23. Victor Hedman
  24. Dan Hamhuis
  25. Dan Girardi
  26. Dennis Seidenberg
  27. Zach Bogosian
  28. Jared Cowen
  29. Slava Voynov
  30. Jonas Brodin
  31. Paul Martin
  32. Andrei Markov
  33. T.J. Brodie
  34. Travis Hamonic
  35. Jason Garrison
  36. Kimmo Timonen
  37. Andrei Markov
  38. Andy Greene
  39. Jay Bouwmeester
  40. Roman Josi

This is a bit of a work in progress like we said. Injuries and line pairings plus projections were also taken into account. The first questions asked are going to involve why Zdeno Chara is still so high? That is simple. The guy plays, racks up time, can still hit, and he contributes offensively. Add in some blocked shots and shots on goal for good measure which increases his IDP value. The logic in making Dustin Byfuglien number one is a good bit based on potential as Winnipeg is going to the “easier conference” with an improved strength of schedule to their benefit. His projections are very high and similar to players like Weber, Subban, and Phaneuf, whose multiple tool skills help your fantasy team in this format more than your conventional fantasy leagues.

Looking Ahead?

Potential had something to do with the numbers but anxiety did too. Alex Edler should probably be somewhere on this list but he has to get over that Eric Staal hit fully. Will Jay Bouwmeester put together a full 82 game season for fantasy owners? Can Andrei Markov and Zach Bogosian stay healthy? The fun part is there are so many questions and not as many answers.

In the coming weeks before training camp starts, there will be all sorts of fantasy profiles but there will also be a focus on IDP. Again, it will take some time to get used to it. However, with an easy to follow format and simplicity for fantasy leagues, this may just catch on like the Fantasy KHL. Finally, expect a lot of changes to this list.

If there are any questions, please put them in the comment section or drop me a line on Twitter @ChrisWasselTHWAlso, we have launched the league so if there is interest, just let us know.