2014 Outlook: You can't blame Enstrom for wanting to wash his hands of the last six months. After averaging a point per game to start the 2013 season, Enstrom missed half of February and most of March with a shoulder injury. Then he was knocked out for the final two weeks of the season with a back issue. Oh, and then he was robbed in the offseason in Sweden, an altercation that resulted in stitches above his eye. It hasn't been a great stretch for the 28-year-old. Hopefully a clean slate to start a fresh campaign for Dustin Byfuglien's blue-line partner sees a return to his most productive ways.
2014 Outlook: No matter the strength of supporting cast, Campbell just keeps on truckin'. One of the most consistently productive defenseman in the league, Campbell puts up robust numbers -- particularly with the man advantage -- season in and season out, and he does it all the while logging over 26 minutes per game with the Florida Panthers. Without question, if it weren't for his reeking plus/minus (minus-22 in 2012-13), the 34-year-old would be a Top-10 fantasy D-man.
2014 Outlook: Armed with a brand new two-year, $5 million contract with the Dallas Stars, Gonchar is pegged to fill the No. 1 defenseman role with his new squad. Proving that he still has plenty of gas in the tank, the 39-year-old collected three goals and 24 assists through 45 games with the Ottawa Senators in 2013, averaging 24 minutes per contest. Anchoring a top power-play unit that includes the likes of new addition Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn should result in solid special teams numbers for Gonchar as well.
2014 Outlook: Streit brings an NHL resume of 288 points in 491 regular season games to the Flyers' blue line this autumn. The former New York Islanders captain will work in tandem with the ever-steady Kimmo Timonen in providing puck-moving support to a gaggle of dangerous Flyers forwards. If anything, Streit's career minus-53 should get a boost in the right direction.
2014 Outlook: The subject of undulating trade rumors the past couple of seasons, Yandle shined up his own armor some by notching 30 points (and 56 PIM, to boot) through 48 games in 2013. It was a nice turn after a mildly disappointing 2011-12. One of the more dependable blue-line fantasy assets the past few years, Yandle would probably get more attention -- as deserved -- in a glitzier hockey market.
2014 Outlook: With Brent Burns ostensibly embedded as a forward, Boyle stands all by his lonesome as the only fantasy defenseman worth treasuring on the San Jose Sharks' roster. In the twilight of his career, Boyle may have lost a step or two, but remains one of the most comfortingly consistent fantasy assets around. Plus, his expiring contract may subconsciously spur on a reinvigorated effort in 2012-13. Lock the 37-year-old veteran in for a 40-point season.
2014 Outlook: If Shattenkirk plays on the Blues' top power-play unit with Alex Pietrangelo -- as he has in the past -- you can count on nearly half of the 24-year-old's projected 40-plus points counting with the man advantage. A rising player.
2014 Outlook: Heralded as one of the best young blue-line competitors around, Ekman-Larsson is well on his way to becoming an elite defenseman in the NHL. This season, watch the young Swede smash the 45-point barrier with the Phoenix Coyotes, and further establish himself as a blue-line force with which to be reckoned. A must-own in keeper leagues, Ekman-Larsson played an average of nearly three minutes more per game than Coyotes No. 1 defenseman Keith Yandle through 2013.
2014 Outlook: The Columbus Blue Jackets are sashaying into 2013-14 with a fresh sense of optimism brought on by new management and an exceptionally strong finish to last season. The summer re-signing of Vezina Trophy-winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and "bonus" addition of Nathan Horton (due to join the team in December or January following shoulder surgery) only adds to the buoyant mood in Columbus. And James Wisniewski is healthy. As long as he remains that way, the club's top puck-moving defenseman has the potential to put up some serious numbers. Wisniewski racked up 51 points in 75 games with the Canadiens and Islanders back in 2010-11. There's no reason he can't come close to repeating that performance under the promising circumstances at present.
2014 Outlook: The one and only sure-fire fantasy pistol on the Edmonton Oilers' blue line, Justin Schultz is looking to follow-up his successful rookie campaign with a more prolific role and even better numbers in 2013-14. The 23-year-old -- who admitted to feeling wiped out at times by the NHL's hectic schedule in 2013 -- still managed 27 points, most of which counted with the man advantage. No other Edmonton defenseman even came close to those numbers. And again, beyond Schultz, it's difficult to predict where exactly the likes of Jeff Petry, newcomer Andrew Ference, returnee Denis Grebeshkov, fellow KHL-export Anton Belov, and the rest fit into the Oilers' lineup and offensive scheme from the back-end this season.
2014 Outlook: The only Washington Capitals' defenseman to near Mike Green's minutes with the man advantage, Carlson could break through the 40-point barrier for the first time this season. The extra incentive of winning a spot on the U.S. Olympic roster will provide the 23-year-old with an extra kick in the pants through the first few months.
2014 Outlook: Frankly, Edler didn't sparkle much last winter. From a statistical point of view, it was his worst season with the Vancouver Canucks since 2007-08. And now the puck-moving defenseman will have to adjust to playing for new coach John Tortorella, a bench boss who wants his players to block shots first, and ask questions later. However, despite all that's been made of Tortorella's defense-focused system (the Sedin twins are about to launch new careers as elite penalty-killers, dontcha know), there's still plenty of room for offense from the back-end. And Edler is the best of the Canucks' blue-line bunch, in that regard. A 45-point campaign from the 27-year-old Swede, including a good portion of power-play goals and assists, is not an unreasonable expectation.
2014 Outlook: Since no Columbus defenseman saw more power-play minutes than Johnson through a lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, it comes as no surprise that no one scored more with the man advantage. Eight of Johnson's 19 points in 44 games were tallied with the extra skater. And the 26-year-old dominated the TOI category by averaging nearly 26 minutes per game. If all goes to plan, James Wisniewski's top power-play unit partner may flirt with the 45-point plateau.
2014 Outlook: You don't have to like the five-year, $26.25-million contract to appreciate the fantasy prowess Wideman provides as member of a rebuilding Calgary Flames' squad. While Wideman isn't top-tier overall, the lion's share of his production comes with the man advantage. Top 10 in power-play points the last two seasons, Wideman led all defenseman in power-play goals in 2010-11. And the inevitably sour plus/minus is somewhat balanced out by his averaging 25 minutes per game with the Flames.
2014 Outlook: In his season (back) with the Tampa Bay Lightning, defenseman Carle averaged 0.46 points/game, the exact same rate as the previous season with the Flyers. So you know what to expect from the eight-year veteran in 2013-14.