Geek of the Week: Penalty Minutes and Hits

by Scott Maran on November 12, 2017

Need help with the penalty minutes and hits categories? Read on…

A few weeks ago, somebody mentioned in the Ramblings that it would be a good idea to have an article on the lesser-known players who get a lot of penalty minutes and hits with some offensive capabilities. The commenter listed a few examples like John Hayden, Chris Wagner, Josh Anderson, and Tommy Wingels. This week I plan on taking a look at a few players like this. I’ll try to avoid the very common players and stick to the more underrated skaters.

Josh Anderson

I’d first like to start out with Anderson, who I’m actually a big fan of. I drafted him this year in a lot of my fantasy leagues and have been pretty happy with the results so far. He isn’t a superstar when it comes to offensive abilities but he can put the puck in the net, as he already has six goals and nine points through 16 games this year. He should easily surpass the 29 points he tallied last season and has seen his ice time increase by over four minutes.

But what makes Anderson a valuable skater is his penalty minute and hit contributions combined with his point totals. Last year, Anderson registered 147 hits and 89 penalty minutes, while this year he has 30 hits and 11 penalty minutes in 16 games. He doesn’t put up the insane hit and penalty minute totals like Matt Martin or Mark Borowiecki, but he provides a lot of value all across the board.

Jake Muzzin

Muzzin’s also a kind of well-known name, but I wanted to mention him because he seems to always be underrated in leagues that count hits and penalty minutes, especially now after the season he had last year. Before last year, Muzzin had two straight 40-point seasons in a row while averaging around 190 hits and 40+ penalty minutes. However, with his point totals falling to only 28 last year, a lot of people seemed to forget the value Muzzin provides.

But now this year, Muzzin’s already at 12 points in 16 games and his penalty minute and hit totals are stronger than ever. His 34 hits are good (on pace for 174 by the end of the season), but he already had 14 penalty minutes. And this is all without even mentioning his incredible shot totals (he’s on pace for 215 this year). Muzzin can provide great value as a depth defender on your fantasy team and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Nick Ritchie

Ritchie reminds me a bit of Anderson, where they both scored around 28 points last year and produced excellent peripherals. The main difference between the two though is that while Anderson probably has a higher offensive ceiling, Ritchie can rack up the hits and penalty minutes better.

Last year while scoring 14 goals and 14 assists for the Ducks, Ritchie registered 62 penalty minutes and a whopping 247 hits. This year, while only scoring four points in 13 games, Ritchie already has 28 penalty minutes and 43 hits. His average of 3.3 hits per game is tied for the 16th highest in the league while his 28 penalty minutes are the 11th most in the NHL.

Josh Manson

Manson has been heating up lately as he has four points in his last six games, giving him seven on the year. He won’t get you a ton of points (he only scored 17 last season) but he’s been seeing more ice time with Fowler out and may be a good short-term option. He already has 22 penalty minutes on the year (tied for 15th most) and is averaging 2.4 hits per game.

To identify a few more players, I also went to the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, looking at which players provided a lot of value with their penalty minutes and hits. The hypothetical league I used in the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool was heavily geared towards penalty minutes and hits while also accounting for points such as goals and assists. I won’t post the entire rankings but here are a few names that stood out.

*The league was an average 12-team H2H Yahoo league measuring G, A, SOG, Hits, and PIM).

Ryan Reaves

Reaves may only have three points this year but it’s impressive how many penalty minutes and hits he’s been able to rack up. His 51 hits are the eighth most in the league while he’s only one of two players to have more than 60 penalty minutes. He’s ranked second overall by Fantasy Hockey Geek in terms of FHG value in our hypothetical Yahoo league.

Radko Gudas

Gudas is ranked sixth overall by Fantasy Hockey Geek mostly because of his strong penalty minute and hit totals. However, unlike most of the players who get a lot of penalty minutes and hits, Gudas can still get a decent amount of shots, recording 32 in 15 games. He only has two points so far, but don’t let that fool you; last year he scored 23 points in only 67 games.

Kevan Miller

He doesn’t have the offensive potential or the shot totals that Gudas has but he can pile up the hits and penalty minutes. His 38 penalty minutes are seventh best in the NHL while his 42 hits are the 26th most.

Charlie McAvoy

He doesn’t get a ton of penalty minutes like some of the other guys listed but McAvoy is one of the most productive, scoring one goal and seven assists in 16 games. And while his penalty minute totals aren’t great (but are still not bad), all the hits he records boost his value. His 43 hits are actually one more than Kevan Miller’s and yet McAvoy has over double Miller’s point totals.