The Top 10 reliable plus-minus players in the league today
The plus/minus. Has any statistic in any sport ever been so controversial? So many people seem to hate it for its simplicity, but that simplicity is what makes it useful in fantasy hockey. Despite a movement to get away from the stat, there are still plenty of leagues that use it. I am in five hockey pools that are not points only. Four of them have plus/minus as a category. But it's a stat that many poolies punt at draft time. It can fluctuate wildly from year to year. A bad goalie can severely impact a forward's plus-minus. Many believe it's just too difficult to predict.
But those people would be wrong. There is some predictability. There are some players that consistently have a high plus-minus year after year. Maybe you don't draft these guys based on this stat, but if two players are valued equally in every other aspect, it could be a good tie-breaker. The players listed below are sure things. We're not just looking at a season for this list. We're looking at years of data to determine who you can count on each season.
Here are the top 10 plus-minus players.
10. Chris Kunitz
Kunitz may seem like a strange addition to this list considering his steady decline as a fantasy option but the plus/minus numbers are still there as this year he led the Penguins with a plus-29. That's even more impressive when you remember that he was just a plus-one in the first 20 games of the year. He obviously benefits by playing regularly with Sidney Crosby but he's been at least a plus-25 in three of the last four years.
9. Marian Hossa
Much like Kunitz, Hossa's fantasy stock is quickly fading but you can still count on him when it comes to this category. Part of that has to do with the fact that he is so strong defensively. Another part has to do with the fact that he plays with Jonathan Toews. But Hossa's strong plus-minus is a good reason to have him rated a little higher in drafts this fall than other 50-point players.
8. Joe Pavelski
Pavelski never used to be that great a player in the plus-minus category until a few years ago. He was never higher than a plus-five in any season early in his career. But he's been in double digits in five of the last six years and had a career high plus-25 this season. Pavelski has always been a little underrated in fantasy hockey circles but his plus/minus is a big reason why he's so valuable.
7. Ryan McDonagh
McDonagh has been in the league for six seasons and he's never been below a plus-11. That's insanely good. And he just set a career high with a plus-26. Some of that has to do with Henrik Lundqvist. But then again, if simply playing in front of a good goalie guaranteed you a high plus-minus, we'd see some Montreal Canadiens on this list.
6. Patrice Bergeron
Although Bergeron's plus-m