Quick – if I asked you to rattle off the NHL's best multi-cat players, who would you name? Probably Alex Ovechkin, Shea Weber, Brent Burns, and Dustin Byfuglien, each of whom made the list of the top ten multi-cat performers of the last decade.
Guess what else they have in common? They're all 34 years old.
This raises the question of which players represent the best current or up and coming crop of multi-cat studs. And you know when I have a question, I like to hear from the finest fantasy hockey minds out there, namely you – the DobberHockey readers. So this month's poll asks you which current players are most likely to be among the ten best multi-cat performers of this decade (i.e., 2020-2029).
Before I give you the list of voting choices, here are a few (dis)qualifiers. For one, they have to be under age 30, since otherwise, chances are they won't have staying power. Second, they could not have made the 2010-2019 list, disqualifying Gabriel Landeskog. Third, even if under 30, they couldn't have played in the league for more than ten seasons already, since chances are too high that they'll break down in the coming years. That disqualifies, among others, Evander Kane. Lastly, they should either be – or project to be – a decent scorer, meaning 25+ points for d-men and point per every other game for forwards.
I also had to decide which categories mattered. What about FOW or PIM, key in many leagues but not even counted in others? How about Hits and/or Blocks? What I decided is a player's prowess in all of these categories can matter, so in turn, I'll cast a wide net. As such, among the voting choices, you might see a forward who gives a team major PIM and Hits, but no FOW, or one who's big on FOW and SOG but makes less of a mark in Hits and Blocks, etc. The key is if a player excels at several – but not all of – PIM, PPPts, HIT, BLK, SOG and FOW, plus scores decent or projects to do so, then you'll see him represented as a choice.
With all that out of the way, here are the nominees, presented – as usual – in alphabetical order. Since this is about the 2020-2029 top ten multi-cat performers list, you can vote for only up to ten, although my guess is you'll probably end up selecting fewer than that. I decided not to include a "none of the above" choice, as, among the 2010-19 list, only Landeskog wasn't already playing by 2009-10. In other words, chances are most if not all who'll make the 2020-29 list are already in the NHL and, hopefully, will be among those listed as voting choices here.
Josh Anderson – Sure, 2019-20 has been a season to forget for Anderson; however, in the previous two campaigns he averaged 2.16 Hits and 2.88 SOG per contest, and just under one block per every other game, to go along with 46 total goals and more than one PIM per every other game. Still, only 25 and with Hits and SOG totals just as high this season despite his cratered scoring, it is possible we haven't heard the last of Anderson as a multi-cat force.
Blake Coleman – One of the older players on the list at 28, Coleman is only in his third full season; but he is on pace to tally a point per every other game for the first time, while still sporting huge Hits (roughly three per game) and SOG (a little over three per game) numbers and even chipping in with a little under one Block and FOW per game and roughly six PIM per every ten games. And now that he's on Tampa, he could find himself in a protection role within the top six, with the potential for a big boost in scoring.
Matt Dumba – 2019-20 will likely go down as a lost season for Dumba and the many poolies who invested heavily in him. But this is a player who, over 114 games in the previous two campaigns, had 26 goals, 269 SOG, 216 Hits, and 155 Blocks, plus 24 PPPts and 62 PIM. Chances are we should likely expect a return to his usual multi-cat excellence by the time next season rolls around.
Boone Jenner – It's looking less and less like Jenner is ever going to morph into a big-time scorer, as after tallying 49 points in 2015-16 he's had three straight seasons with 32-38 points and might not even reach that level in 2019-20. The fact remains, however, that Jenner's multi-cat prowess is mighty, as he's still firing well over two SOG per game while averaging about 1.5 Hits and one Block per contest as well as more than one PIM per every other game. And he also provides something that few, if any, grinders do, and that's FOW, where he's good for just under ten per contest.
Bo Horvat – Every season Horvat's scoring touch improves; and over the last three he's also become a high-volume shooter, with nearly three per game to go along with more than 12 FOW per contest as well as double digits PPPts, plus just under one Hit and one Block per game.
Dougie Hamilton – If we look at Hamilton's two seasons in Carolina, we can cobble together some very impressive multi-cat numbers, as this season he piled on the points to go along with his usual more than three SOG per game. But let's not forget that last season he had about two Hits and one Block per game as well. Although those rough and tumble numbers were down this season before he got hurt, we witnessed what he was capable of, and that's not to mention the one PPP per every four games he was averaging for 2019-20 and his nearly eight PIM per every ten contests.
Nazem Kadri – Your oldest voting choice, the 29-year-old Kadri still has a rightful place in the list, as he kept up his stat-stuffing by this season averaging nearly two PIM per game, to go along with over 2.5 SOG and one hit per contest. Before getting hurt he also already secured his fifth straight season of double-digit PPPts to go along with roughly eight FOW per contest.
Oscar Klefbom – This season Klefbom hasn't just seen his scoring explode, his Blocks have gone sky high such that when he got hurt he led the entire league in that category. Yes, he still doesn't get a Hit per contest; however, his Hits plus PIM add up to about one per game, and, coupled with the rest of his stats, including just under one PPT per three games, puts him in the rarified air of multi-cat stars.
Chris Kreider – With Krieder the big question that dogged him during his early seasons was whether he'd ever morph into a solid scorer; but over the last two seasons, he's done just that. Of course, he's going to be a UFA this summer, so the timing of his offensive outburst is concerning. What can't be doubted, however, is his multi-cat acumen, as he's now in his fourth straight season of double-digit PPPts, still averages his usual two Hits per game, has just under one block per contest and, for the first time since 2013-14, is averaging better than one PIM per game.
Brendan Lemieux – No one on this list has played fewer games, scored fewer points, or averages fewer minutes per game than this second generation NHLer; however, he's making the most of his playing time, to the tune of one Block, over two PIM, just under three Hits per contest. Yes, his SOG and points are lacking; but with his pedigree and the fact that he's still just 23 and playing in his second full season, he could morph into a true multi-cat beast.
Nathan MacKinnon – To the surprise of no one, MacKinnon's chief talent, besides scoring, is firing pucks on net, as this season he's peppering the net with nearly five pucks per game. But beyond that, and the scoring – including tons of PPPts – he has nearly a hit per game and is decent in the dot, with over five FOW per contest too.
Charlie McAvoy – The points and SOG are still lacking but should come. What's already there, however, are his more than two Hits and two Blocks per contest, which is a combo that's all but unheard of among today's NHLers.
Timo Meier – Yes, his scoring and SOG are both down this season; however, he's upped his Hits to 2.5 per game and also averaging three PIM and three Blocks per every five games. And let's not forget he managed over 200 SOG and 100 Hits in the same season at age 21, which bodes well for him to become a multi-cat force, even if it might take a bit longer to happen than many may have originally envisioned.
J.T. Miller – On top of morphing into a point per game scorer this season, Miller has upped his Hits rate to nearly two per game while chipping in decent Blocks and taking more trips to the sin bin to the tune of four PIM per every five games. On top of that his SOG rate is above two per game for the first time in his career, his PPPts are coming nearly one per every three games, and he gets six FOW per contest.
Darnell Nurse – Although Klefbom, whom I've already discussed, looks to be the team's top option for blueline offense and minute-eating, Nurse is still logging plenty of ice time and using it to stuff his stat line, what with 2.5 SOG and Hits per game, plus nearly two Blocks and one PIM per contest.
Andrei Svechnikov – Already busy fulfilling what was always considered enormous scoring potential, Svechnikov is also shaping up to be a very good multi-cat option, as along with the offensive production he's upped his Hits output to nearly two per game and his SOG to nearly three per contest. He's also feisty, with roughly three PIM per every five contests. It'd take a lot for him to be the next Ovi, but he looks like the closest young parallel.
Brady Thachuk – Along with big brother Matthew (more on him next), Brady is staking making multi-cat waves already at a young age. In Brady's case, he's putting up jaw-dropping stats like roughly four Hits and SOG per game, to go along with over one PIM per contest and a Block per every other game. Even if he doesn't turn out to have the offensive flair of Matthew, those are mighty fine multi-cat numbers, and he's still only 20 years old!
Matthew Tkachuk – Although his production has slipped a bit from last season's near point per game numbers, the elder Tkachuk brother is above one PIM per game for the first time in his career, to go along with roughly two Hits and three SOG per game, and what should be a third straight season of at least one PPPt per every five contests.
Jacob Trouba – With the emergence of Adam Fox and Tony DeAngelo and other youngsters on the New York blueline, Trouba, at only 25, is somehow the team's rearguard greybeard. Given this, he's taken on a more defensive posture, which means fewer points but still Hits and Blocks galore, with nearly three per game of the former and two per game of the latter. Couple that with just under one PIM per game and about 2.5 SOG per contest, and he's a multi-cat rearguard beast.
Tom Wilson – Once a walking suspension waiting to happen, Wilson is seemingly now entrenched in the Caps' top six, as part protector but also part scorer. Yes, his PIM have dropped precipitously; however, they still stand at well more than one per contest, and his Hits are in the four per game ballpark. Add to that over two SOG per game and nearly a Block per contest, and Wilson is making a strong case to be a version 2.0 of the Bruins era Milan Lucic.
Which of these 20 players will have what it takes to make the list of the top ten multi-cat performers of 2020-29? That's up to you to decide, which you can do by casting your votes here. As a reminder, you can vote for up to ten players, or of course fewer if you prefer. When you vote, be sure to post in the thread about who you selected and why, since that will give added insight for your fellow Dobberites.
Questions for Mailbag column
Next week it's mailbag time, and this month I could use at least a couple more questions. To get yours to me, you can either private message "rizzeedizzee" via the DobberHockey Forums or, instead, send an email to [email protected] with "Roos Mailbag" as the subject line.