Taking a look at the Top 10 iron men in fantasy hockey
While there’s always lots of frustration when dealing with Band-Aid boys, there’s not enough respect for iron men when it comes to fantasy hockey.
There’s nothing more frustrating than going into the championship in head-to-head action with guys like Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Marian Gaborik missing from your lineup because they are once again dealing with a nagging injury. Or maybe these guys spent so much time on the injury shelf during your regular season, you couldn’t even make the playoffs.
The best way to deal with that frustration is to not have any of it. Get rid of the Band-Aid Boys, and on draft day, start bumping up those guys you know are good for 80 games this season.
Here are the top 10 fantasy iron men.
10. Wayne Simmonds
There must be something in the water in Philly to keep this many guys so healthy for such a long time. There’s Claude Giroux (who comes up later in this list), Jakub Voracek (who just missed out) and Simmonds. Since Simmonds joined the NHL in 2008-09, he has missed just nine games. And he’s getting better every season from a fantasy perspective. Last year, Simmonds had career highs in goals, assists, points, power play goals and shots. He also managed 106 pims and 132 hits, an extra bonus for fantasy playoff time.
9. David Backes
Doesn’t it feel like Backes should be missing a bunch of games every season? But when Backes was out for a few games last season, it was the first time he missed a game since 2009-10. The Blues captain is a multi-cat stud, as he’s not scared to throw his weight around. Last year was just an average year for Backes in many categories: 27 goals, 57 points, plus-14 and 165 shots. That’s a career year for most players, and when you throw in Backes’ 119 pims and 273 hits, plus his good overall health, it’s not hard to see why his value rises even more.
8. Keith Yandle
Yandle is one of only four players to have played in every NHL games the last five seasons (the others being Andrew Cogliano, Antoine Vermette and number one on this list). In those five years, Yandle is tied for second for assists and third for points among defencemen. Really, it all comes down to what you would rather have on your team: A defenceman like Kris Letang, who is frequently injured and might not be an active player come January, or a guy like Yandle, who you know you can count on during your H2H playoffs.
7. Anze Kopitar
Since he joined the league in 2006-07, Kopitar has missed just 18 games total, and just eight games in the last five years. Selke finalist Kopitar is another guy who does more than just score. Like most years, this upcoming season he should be pretty good for, at a minimum, 25 goals, 70 points, a plus-20, eight power play goals and 200 shots. That’s pretty decent value, and knowing he would be in your lineup the whole year gives you some relief.
6. Shea Weber
Weber has one of the hardest shots in the league, and is a threat for 20 goals every season. He gets plenty of points, averaging almost 49 a season, and he’ll also get hits and blocked shots. And he’ll also get you lots of games. Despite his hard-nosed style of play, Weber has only missed an average of two games a year for the past five years.
5. Zdeno Chara
As I wrote a few weeks back, Chara is the best fantasy defenceman in the game today in multi-cat leagues, despite 10 defencemen being ranked ahead of him in Yahoo. He scores goals, power play goals, gets pims, and is a tremendous plus-minus player. He’ll also account for more than 100 blocked shots and 100 hits in a season. He’s also only missed a total of 11 games in the last five years combined.
4. Corey Perry
Perry was one of those guys who surprised me a little bit. I figured with his style of play, he would have missed more games in the last five years than seven (and four of those were because of a suspension). But there you have it. A 40-goal, 80-point player who can contribute in most of your league categories — plus-minus, pims, shots, game-winning goals, power play points — and still give you 80 games. What’s not to love?
3. Phil Kessel
Phil the Thrill is pretty underrated when it comes to his ironman streak. If you played for the Leafs for the last five years, wouldn’t you want to call in sick a few times? But Kessel hasn’t missed a game in four years, and has only missed a total of 36 games in his eight seasons. And he’s a little underrated when it comes to fantasy hockey. You can pretty much count on him for 35 goals, 80 points and 300 shots. Yet, he’s not even a first-round pick in Yahoo one-year leagues, averaging the 15th spot overall.
Giroux’s health may be reason enough to nudge him into a top-three pick in one-year pools. While there’s always a concern about Malkin, Crosby and even Tavares and Stamkos after last season, Giroux is as solid as they come. Giroux has missed only five games in the last five seasons combined, and when you combine it with his scoring ability — he has more points than any other player in the league in the last three years — there’s an easy argument to make for him being a top-three stud.
Marleau gets the top spot for two reasons: He’s played every game in the past five years, and if there’s ever been the definition of a consistent player, it would be Patrick Marleau. You know what you’re out of the former Sharks captain: 30 goals, 70 points, 20sh pims, 10 power play goals and 250-plus shots. Not only has he not missed a game in the past five seasons, but he’s only missed five or more games three times in his 16-year career. He’s as reliable a fantasy contributor that you may ever own.
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