We're midway through the 2012 playoffs and although your fantasy season is over it's never to early to begin looking at your keeper options for next year. I already have a handful of keeper articles: Ovechkin vs. Crosby, Perry vs. Kovalchuk and Quick vs. Rinne. Here is a look at two solid fantasy defensemen for next season.
Shea Weber vs. Alex Pietrangelo
Nashville's top defensemen averaged over 26 minutes per game this past season. Weber totaled 49 points (19 goals, 30 assists) this year including a career high 22 points on the power play. Shea also had a career high +21 rating to go along with 2 short handed goals. Weber finished as a top 25 fantasy player this year and there is no doubt in my mind that he won't continue that trend in 2013. The 6'4" enforcer will lose his line partner Ryan Suter (unrestricted free agent) but he will still be a top 10 defender next year. I think that his consistency will put him over Pietrangelo, Weber has accounted for at least 43 points every season since becoming a full time player in 2009. Since that time he's never scored under 16 goals and he's had at least 27 assists in that time period. Weber is about as consistent as they come at the blue line.
Alex Pietrangelo really stepped it up in 2012 as the 22 year old proved he is worthy of the 4th overall pick in the 2008 draft. Alex in his second full season as a full time starter managed 51 points (12 goals, 39 assists) and a solid +16 rating. Pietrangelo managed 24 points on the power play and averaged over 24 minutes of ice time per game. An underrated stat the kid had was 6 game winning goals in 2012. The only concern I have with Alex is whether or not this season was an outlier or is he really this good? Alex is just a kid, and at age 22 is going to be a very trendy pick in keeper leagues next season. I don't see him continuing as a 50 point scorer but more of a mid 40's guy. He may one day become a top 5 fantasy defensemen but for the 2013 season I would prefer Weber over Pietrangelo. If you are looking for the better long term option Alex is the clear choice.
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