This week we look back to March of 2004 and the often underappreciated Marian Hossa
I had one of those “sheesh I’m getting old” moments the other day while looking over some hockey stats. Marian Hossa is turning 35 on January 12th. What struck me about this was that I remember him as the “next” big thing in Ottawa, which is well over a decade ago.
This got me thinking about Hossa and what he’s meant not only to the NHL but to fantasy hockey. Upon looking at his career statistics I was a bit surprised that he’ll soon surpass both 500 goals 1000 points. Keep in mind he’ll have accomplished both feats during an era where scoring generally wasn’t high.
On his resume is a 100 point year, four over 80, and eight over 70. He’s scored 29 or more goals in nine seasons (a number that should be higher if not for a couple lockouts). His career shots on goal are 3,510, which works out to 3.3 per game. Over the past 16 years only one of them has seen him end with a negative plus minus rating.
Despite the numbers and multiple Stanley Cup finals appearances how many names would you think of from that generation before landing on Hossa?
I would likely rattle off guys like Kovalchuk, Heatley, Thornton, Iginla, Nash, Zetterberg and Dastyuk before even considering him. Thinking about it now, there is an argument for him to be placed above all but one or two names on that list in the pantheon of NHL greats. From a fantasy hockey perspective (at least in leagues with multiple categories) he’s been one of those rare players that can help across all categories. Often posting elite points, shots, power play, and plus minus numbers. The one issue that has plagued Hossa in recent years has been injuries, though in today’s game it’s difficult to find a player that hasn’t dealt with them.
What may ultimately help Hossa close the gap on his contemporaries in the collective minds of fantasy managers and fans is longevity. The more and more I watch Hossa I get the feeling we’re looking at Teemu Sleanne seven or eight years ago. A fantastic core of young players is surrounding him and there is no reason to think he won’t be productive well into his late 30s.
I decided to sift back through the rankings a decade ago, remembering a young Marian Hossa, about to complete his second straight season of 35 or more goals and over 80 points.