I would like to know how to avoid oncoming fore-checkers, to buy time to clear the puck. I am not the most athletic of players and do not now how to dodge incoming fore-checkers. So do you think I should just try to pass it before I get drilled into the boards, or try to get past him and then make a proper pass to the forward for a scoring chance?
It's not just you, your forwards and defensive partner need to give you an outlet to make a pass to. It's one of the biggest crimes of rec play: puck-handlers getting hung out to dry because the distance and angles for potential passes are worse than taking on a fore-checker.
The reality is that a defenceman (or a forward with a turned over puck) is rarely in a good position to stickhandle past a forecheker. Dekes are for the offensive zone when a teammate can cover behind you on the likely chance of a turnover. In the end, your primary job is to safely move the puck and so if they're sending two forecheckers in hard after you, you need at least two teammates to peel back and offer you a chance to dish the puck.
You really can't be expected to buy time in your own end. The pace of your breakout is set by the forechecking pressure. If you have no outlet and you're being pursued hard, seek refuge behind the net to split the forecheckers and then simply bang it off the boards to get the puck out of your zone. No one can fault you for making the safe play rather than risk a catastrophic loss of possesion.
If a teammate gives you stick for wasting possesion, that's your chance to tell him that you would have moved the puck into the rush if he'd actually done his job and come back to help start a breakout!
When you run into a forechecker, you can then clear the puck up the far boards. With less traffic on the far side, you've got a better chance of clearing your own end.
While clearing the puck up the boards is usually a safe play, it's not always the best play. Sometimes the opposing team will be right there waiting for it or it will get caught in traffic.
Instead, why not start skating with the puck behind your own net? If everyone is bunched up your side, there must be lots of room on the other side! When you run into a forechecker, you can then clear the puck up the far boards. With less traffic on the far side, you've got a better chance of clearing your own end. Be sure to take a look around before you clear it. You may find an open teammate waiting for a pass.
The key to knowing what options are available in your own end is to take a look first.