Multiple Category Producers
During my time with my previous employer, Fanball (R.I.P.), I extensively wrote about fantasy hockey several times a week. Unfortunately, with the shutting down of their operation I no longer have an outlet to channel my ramblings from the fantasy hockey universe. As a result, I've added a new category above in the header (labeled Fantasy Hockey) where I will offer some insights, analysis and views on different topics around the NHL. If you're not involved in fantasy hockey, pay no heed to these occasional posts and continue on to the St. Louis Blues specific content. Otherwise, enjoy some thoughts from the obsession that are fantasy sports.
First off, I'd like to apologize to those that come here strictly for the Blues. I promise these articles on fantasy hockey won't consume the site nor will you even notice them if you aren't a frequent visitor.
Now, on to the topic at hand.
Every fantasy league is different. There's different formats, different statistics and different strategies. However, there's one common type of player that holds value in basically any league you might find yourself in - multiple category skaters.
These are players that contribute to numerous categories in your league that can consistently be the edge that get you past your weekly opponent or push you to the top of your rotisserie format.
For example, my typical format is a head-to-head style with scoring categories that include all the usual offensive stats but also reward players that earn penalty minutes, giving value to the enforcers around the league. How great is it that a player is rewarded for hooking, slashing or even fighting? Only in fantasy hockey.
Below is a brief list of skaters that can bury the puck in the net while also serving their fair share of time in the sin bin, rewarding you as their manager and helping lead your team to the top of the standings.
David Backes - St. Louis Blues
This is a site based around the St. Louis Blues so you shouldn't be surprised to see a list led off by one of their representatives. That being said, don't think for an instant that Backes is receiving any bias due to the team he skates for. Backes is one of the best multiple category threats in the league.
Don't believe me? Consider the fact he has averaged just over 26 goals a season (26.3) in the past three years. Add in the fact he is averaging just under 55 points a year in the past three seasons, with his highest tally of his career (62) coming in the 2010-11 campaign. As is, Backes is worthy of a roster slot based on his offensive totals alone but it's when you add in penalty minutes (PIM) that he becomes one of the more elite options in the fantasy world.
Over the past three seasons, Backes has averaged 121 penalty minutes a year. It is worth noting that he has seen a steady decline in his PIM numbers (165, 106, 93) over that time, but even his most recent total of 93 penalty minutes still ranks him among the best multiple category threats in the NHL.
As the visible leader of the St. Louis Blues, there's no reason to think Backes will shy away from an altercation - especially since the Blues are now lacking an enforcer by definition.
Corey Perry - Anaheim Ducks
Do you really need a recommendation to draft a guy that scored 50 goals last season? Probably not. However, it's worth noting that Perry has more value hidden beneath his monstrous goals scored figure.
Perry took his game to an entirely new level in 2010-11, scoring 50 goals and 48 assists to finish the year with 98 points - good for third best in the league behind Daniel Sedin and Martin St. Louis. While these two skaters finished with better numbers offensively, from a fantasy angle, Perry was the much better selection due to his frequent trips to the penalty box. While Daniel Sedin earned 32 penalty minutes and Martin St. Louis a paltry 12, Perry finished the year with 104 to his name.
The physical aspect of the game is nothing new to Perry as he has earned over 100 penalty minutes in each of the past four seasons. He's an obvious selection during your draft, but consider bumping him up a slot or two if your league, like most, use penalty minutes as a scoring category.
Milan Lucic - Boston Bruins
Shifting over to the Eastern Conference, we find Milan Lucic of Boston as one of the fantasy diamonds that rewarded owners in 2010-11. Lucic buried 30 pucks in the back of the net, contributed 32 assists and spent 121 minutes in the penalty box.
In fantasy baseball you strive to find 30-30 players, players capable of hitting for power and stealing bases. In fantasy hockey, the ideal player to hunt for is one that can go 30-100, or score 30+ goals and accumulate over 100 penalty minutes. In 2010-11, only Lucic and the previously mentioned Corey Perry were able to pull off such a feat.
Scott Hartnell - Philadelphia Flyers
Outside of Philadelphia feelings towards Hartnell are usually pretty negative. However, fantasy hockey is about winning which often means putting personal bias aside and selecting players that can take you to the top - whether you like them or not. Hartnell has earned 142 penalty minutes or more in each of the last four seasons. Offensively, he has added 43 points or more in each of the last four seasons. Say what you'd like about Hartnell but it's impossible to ignore his ability to be a valuable fantasy commodity.
Players worth tracking with 2010-11 statistics.
Ryan Clowe - San Jose Sharks
24 goals, 38 assists, 62 points - 100 PIM
Brandon Dubinsky - New York Rangers
24 goals, 30 assists, 54 points - 100 PIM