The thinking process that goes in to selecting the Prime Cuts roster is similar to Pierre McGuire's "Monsters" team on TSN (I promise that is the first and only time I will compare my thinking process to Pierre's). Since this is a fantasy hockey site, the selection process favors players that have had strong seasons on the score sheet, obviously. However, not just goals and assists are weighted – perhaps a player has started to shoot the puck more, or play better defensively. Intangibles like heart, grit, and determination factor in to the selection process as well. It is far and away my favorite article to write each year, and I hope you will all enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
The second part of this series will name the bottom six forwards and two goaltenders.
The fourth line: Brandon Prust – Zenon Konopka – Brad Marchand
The one staple of any good fourth line in hockey is energy provided. Some NHL teams opt for brute force; some tend to go with a checking unit, while others opt for speed and secondary scoring. My unit encompasses all of the above. Brandon Prust arrived in the Big Apple by way of Calgary. He was known as a solid fighter and adequate depth player during his time with the Flames, but has developed into a strong two-way player who can play in a variety of situations under John Tortorella. Prust scored 13 goals, added 160 PIM, and played just a shade under 14 minutes on average per game (all 82). He saw 1:41 of ice time per game on the penalty kill, as well.
Zenon Konopka's name was mentioned as trade bait at the deadline. Several contending teams were heavily interested in him. The Islanders decided to keep him, as they liked the presence he brought to the team both on and off the ice. Why were so many teams interested in him? Nine points in 82 games is far from impressive, even for a depth forward. Konopka was fourth in the entire league on the draw, posting a sparkling 57.7% success rate. His 307 PIM made more than a few poolies happy, as well.
Look up tenacity in the dictionary, and you'll see a picture of Brad Marchand beside it. The former junior star burst on to the scene in Boston this year. He clicked instantaneously with Patrice Bergeron, and the two quickly formed one of the better two-way duos in the league. Marchand does everything at 110%. He isn't a fourth liner any more, but he was one at the beginning of the season. He finished with 21 goals, 51 PIM, and a plus-25