It’s the PHF Holiday Break! That means it’s time to ice that stubborn, funny-looking bruise from that shot you blocked a week ago, wrap and aggressively unwrap some presents, and spend some time with your friends and family. While you’re with your loved ones wondering why we don’t build gingerbread houses year-round you might want to get your She Plays PHF Fantasy Hockey season rolling!
To help get you prepared for your draft, we’re going to highlight five defenders with high fantasy hockey potential.
Sidney Morin | Minnesota Whitecaps
Morin is the only defender in the league currently leading her team in SOG (43). In She Plays PHF Fantasy, shots on goal are worth 0.5 points each. That makes a high-volume shooting defender like Morin a must-target in your drafts even if you have to take her earlier than you were planning to take a blueliner.
The Whitecaps’ new star defender is nearly on a point-per-game pace so far with 3 goals and 6 assists in 10 games. She’s also seeing time on the top power-play unit, which means she’s getting a lot of puck touches when Sydney Brodt, Natalie Snodgrass, and Jonna Albers are on the ice. The power-play points are already piling up and we can expect that to continue given all the firepower that the Whitecaps have.
Kati Tabin | Toronto Six
At the start of the season, I wouldn’t have flagged Tabin as a must-draft defender in fantasy hockey — she had 0 points in 6 GP in her first season of PHF hockey with the Connecticut Whale in 2021-22. But Tabin’s been on fire on the red-hot Six with 2 goals and 7 assists, in 10 GP at the Holiday Break. She’s showing some of the offensive upside she had during her college career at Quinnipiac, where she finished with 18 points in 37 GP as a senior in 2019-20.
I still think Taylor Woods and Lindsay Eastwood of the Six should be on your fantasy radar, but it’s Tabin who has seen her production thrive playing under new head coach Geraldine Heaney. She’s currently on pace to eclipse 20 points this season — a lot would have to go right for her and Toronto for that to happen but when you’re hot, you’re hot.
Like Morin, Tabin is on a top power-play unit and has been picking up plenty of helpers both on the advantage and at evens. Tabin looks confident moving the puck and has a knack for springing Brittany Howard, which is another big reason to target her in your draft. Her 7 assists are currently tied for the league lead.
Anna Kilponen | Metropolitan Riveters
Kilponen has been a godsend to the Riveters’ blue line with her ability to move the puck in all three zones. She’s one of the top players in the league in assists because she’s been making a mark on the top unit with fellow Finn Minttu Tuominen (someone else you should also be targeting in your draft). Half of her 6 assists have been picked up on the power play, which is a good sign that there will be more coming.
Another reason to love Kilponen as a fantasy option is that she’s always on the ice. She kills penalties, clocks major minutes on the top pair with Tuominen at evens, and gets to see a lot of the puck on the Rivs’ power play. All of that ice team means more opportunity to get points — like a secondary assist on a Sarah Bujold shorthanded goal. You want top pair defenders in fantasy hockey, even if they are pass-first players like Kilponen.
Kaleigh Fratkin | Boston Pride
Fratkin will take a bite out of her fantasy value with penalty minutes but she’s one of the best puck-moving defenders to ever play in the NWHL/PHF. The numbers don’t lie. You should want the highest-scoring defender in league history on your team, and you should want her even more because of the team she plays for.
Admiring this alley-oop breakout by Kaleigh Fratkin to Allie Thunstrom. I doubt this is the first time we'll see this happen. pic.twitter.com/XTsPgR0zGT— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) November 28, 2022
The veteran Canadian defender always makes an impact in the offensive zone and is playing in a system where she can pick up a lot of assists with zone exits via pass — a specialty of Fratkin’s — to get the puck onto the sticks of Boston’s dangerous group of forwards. She has already matched her point total from last season, which means we could be looking at a bounceback year in production for Fratty.
I think it’s a tough choice to pick between Kali Flanagan and Fratkin on draft day. Flanagan will take fewer trips to the box and is a higher-volume shooter but she could miss time with national team duty. The truth is, you can’t go wrong with either of them. With that said, I think you could get tremendous value with Fratkin in this year’s draft because she “only” has 1 goal and 5 assists in 9 GP. More points are coming. The Boston Pride are a monster and Fratkin is one of the players that makes them so scary.
Allie Munroe | Connecticut Whale
If you want to get big bang for your buck in your draft, Munroe is a great player to bet on.
Munroe has 4 points in 7 GP this season — don’t pay attention too much attention to that. Instead, pay attention to the 3 goals and 10 assists she had in 18 GP last season with the Whale. I put a lot more stock in that 18-game sample size than a 7-game sample that is influenced by an unsustainably low team shooting percentage. The Whale have been unlucky and they are going to score more goals and win more games and Munroe will be along for the ride picking up points.
Last season, we saw Munroe jump into the rush as the most engaged defender on Connecticut in the offensive zone. She should see more time on the top power-play unit and will share a lot of ice time with the Whale’s stacked top-six group of forwards. Munroe is a fantastic decision-maker with the puck and that will lead to plenty of primary and secondary assists this season, especially on plays that involve reigning MVP Kennedy Marchment.
Honorable Mentions: Patti Marshall (Whitecaps), Amanda Boulier (Whitecaps), Taylor Woods (Six), Minttu Tuominen (Riveters), Dominique Kremer (Beauts), Whitney Dove (Beauts), Aneta Tejralová (Pride), Taylor Baker (Force), Christine Deaudelin (Force), Mallory Souliotis (Whale)