defensemen are a different breed. i was thinking about that as i watched the Leafs beat the Sabres last night. every NHL team has a handful of guys whose main job description is as a shutdown D, they don't necessarily get you many pts or fantasy stats but they are crucial to NHL hockey; every NHL team has at least one good triggerman D; i usually find that they can be a detriment to their team defensively though; and finally every NHL team looks for a puck moving D, these guys are invaluable. the traditional guy that i think of when considering this type of guy is, Paul Coffey. he's usually a great skater, a precise passer and he's not known for playing a tough game. one guy that i used to notice here in Winnipeg was Phil Housley but i think that's because it cost the Jets Dale Hawerchuk to get Housley and that price tag is very high.
anyway, present NHL guys who are invaluable to their teams are guys in the Scott Niedermayer mould. i was thinking about how we still hadn't seen great contributions out of Tomas Kaberle this year, Bryan Berard went unsigned and then hurt, Tom Poti has yet to be heard from, Mark Streit and Tobias Enstrom are still relative unknowns, and Brent Burns may turn into too large a player to be considered for this type of role.
the reason i bring it up today is because Brian Campbell had what i thought was a phenomenal game for the Sabres last night. i think he was the only Sabre who was awake for the game. there were flashes out of Tomas Vanek, and Paul Gaustad but overall Campbell carried the load for what would be an eventual lost cause. the Sabres never did score on the night but Campbell was the 3rd star, and rightly so.
there has been some concern about the Sabres offense and my reaction to that is ... great offensive players wake up as they get help from the rearguard. Vanek is on pace for 20 something goals this season but i have no doubts that he'll end up closer to 40. wonder why? because Brian Campbell is going to find ways to feed him. if you want to help your fantasy team then zero in on a puck moving defenseman and then trade for him. some of the guys listed above are even sitting on waiver wires in your league. Campbell won't be.