While many of us enjoy points-only fantasy hockey leagues, the real challenge is in multi-cat leagues, especially when looking at statistics such as PIM, blocked shots and hits.
That’s because oftentimes, the players that are best in these categories aren’t the point-producing superstars. Sure, it’s easy to know that Nikita Kucherov is going to get you a lot of power-play points or that Auston Matthews is going to take a lot of shots. Oftentimes, however, it’s the fourth-line grinders and bottom-pairing defensemen that are going to win you some of the grittier categories.
Below are 10 players who are excelling in either PIM, hits or blocked shots this season. We’re going to be excluding some of the obvious choices of players that accumulate a lot of points, so you won’t see Brad Marchand for PIM or Alexander Ovechkin for hits.
10. Brayden McNabb
There’s always plenty of focus in Vegas on Ryan Reaves and William Carrier and their hit amount, but McNabb can at least give you blocked shots as well. McNabb is on pace for 238 hits and 146 blocked shots. If he can reach those numbers, this would be his third consecutive season (and fourth in the last five years) reaching 200 hits. The 146 blocked shots would be his third straight year reaching at least 100 blocked shots.
9. Mark Giordano
At the end of the year, Gio will wind up on many “most disappointing” lists (although we should have seen it coming, considering he was a sub-40-point player in two seasons before notching 78 points last year). However, don’t mistake his poor points production this year for disappointment in every category as he’s been great in blocked shots. His 129 blocked shots are second in the league, and his 66 blocked shots since Dec. 1 is tops. He’s failed to record a blocked shot only once in his last 22 games, and he has at least four blocked shots in 15 games this season. He’s on pace for 212 blocked shots, which would be the first time he’s ever cracked 200.
8. Nazem Kadri
After getting shipped out of Toronto last summer because of back-to-back playoff suspensions, Kadri hasn’t settled down at all i