For all the PIM leagues out there: this is for those who cherish that dying breed. How often do these vital fantasy cogs get the headlines in articles? They often deserve it. Steve Ott certainly deserves it. He is the next of this ilk to rise, or should I say return, to fantasy-league prominence.
I feel people drastically undervalue players that can both put up 150 penalty minutes and get you 20-plus points. Those players are rare and should be considered very valuable. They are the players that can single-handedly win you an entire category in a week in head-to-head while at the same time not hurt your other numbers.
Here is a little history lesson on the scoring bruisers…
It is really tough to score from the sin bin… especially in the modern NHL. In 2005-06 there were 12 players that ended the season with 150 penalty minutes or more. Five of them scored 20 points or more. PIM superstar Sean Avery led the way with an astonishing 257 penalty minutes and 39 points. You would guess he was the most valuable, but not so fast… Brenden Morrow was a bad man back then. He produced a dominating 65 points while racking up 183 penalty minutes. He was easily a top 20 player in most PIM leagues. Unfortunately, he has since cleaned up his life on the ice, and his penalty minutes are way down. Chris Neil also had significant fantasy influence with 33 points and 204 penalty minutes.
Last season, only six players finished the season with 150 penalty minutes or more. Sean Avery again dominated in value with 48 points, 249 shots on goal and 178 penalty minutes. Chris Neil was the only other significant contributor and only other 150-plus PIM player to contribute 20 or more points and 100 or more shots on goal. So you can see, scarcity has become a real issue.
Luckily, this season, help has arrived. As everyone knows, Daniel Carcillo has destroyed the PIM scene in his first full season in the NHL. He was amazing before the injury, but imagine if he would have stayed with Pittsburgh and protected Crosby. Regardless, what many haven’t noticed is the improvements around the league in this category. At just past the mid-point of the season for most teams, 16 players already have 80 penalty minutes or more. Among them, one has the potential to join Avery, Neil, and now Carcillo as consistent combination points and penalty minutes threats. I forgot to mention… he has done it before. Much of the fantasy world has forgotten as well. After a season filled with injury, Steve Ott is back to prove he can do it again.
Did you know in 2005-06, Ott produced 22 points and 178 penalty minutes? Did you know Steve Ott was a first round pick and thus, actually has some offensive ability? Did you know he is only 25 years old? Finally, did you know he has been seeing time on the second line in Dallas?
Steve Ott now has 12 points in 38 games with a more than solid 88 penalty minutes. Here is how he compares to Avery’s perennial runner-up Chris Neil when projected over a full 82 games.
82 game 2007-08 Projections
Steve Ott: 9G, 16A, 25P, plus-2, 190PIM, 99SOG
Chris Neil: 8G, 18A, 26P, plus-6, 196PIM, 100SOG
Well, look at that. They are the same player this season. Also, keep in mind, Ott is three years younger and has already shown this ability in the past. With a healthy season, he is well on his way to joining the elite of fantasy-viable PIM producer. If you are constantly losing out to the Carcillo, Avery and Neil ow