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No. 5: Brendan Smith
Smith is a promising defensive prospect slated to make his full-season debut in 2012-13.
He is one of the NHL's top defensive prospects. He has impressed during his time in the AHL and during brief NHL stints. Smith is the future of the Detroit Red Wings' blue line, so don't miss out on drafting him.
No. 4: Justin Schultz
Schultz is a defenseman who appears to have the complete package.
He was an excellent offensive defenseman in college, and the Edmonton Oilers hope that translates to the NHL. He is a player who had a lot of hype during the summer, but he should have no problem living up to it in 2012-13.
No. 3: Ryan Ellis
Ellis is one of the NHL's top defensive prospects who you shouldn't miss out on in fantasy hockey.
Ellis had 18 points with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL last season and 11 points with the Predators once he was called up. With Ryan Suter gone, Ellis will have a larger role with Nashville, and by all accounts, he appears to be ready for that challenge.
No. 2: Jake Gardiner
Gardiner is a talented defenseman who put up 30 points in 75 games last season. He has a lot of offensive upside and should have more ice time after proving himself last season.
Gardiner could turn out to be a true stud in 2012-13, so don't sleep on him.
No. 1: Ryan McDonagh
McDonagh tallied 32 points with virtually no power-play time in 2011-12. He is one of the league's elite shutdown defenders, and it is surprising that he has only 122 games of NHL experience.
Don't forget to take McDonagh, one of the NHL's rising stars, during your upcoming fantasy draft.