Fourteen players who will deliver on some of the "other" categories..(LAK, MIN, NSH, SJS, STL, VAN, WPG)
In part two of the Deep Dive series the peripheral depth options from Los Angeles to Winnipeg are the focus. The addition of peripheral categories, such as hits and blocks, in addition the more traditional penalty minutes allows leagues to expand the definition of who has fantasy value. Astute poolies will look at third and fourth line forwards, as well as stay-at-home defensemen, as players whose roles dictate a style of play that helps contribute to these categories. Furthermore, hits and blocks are a much less volatile statistic than goals or assists and as such can help to raise a team’s floor.
Brayden McNabb (35% owned Fantrax)
With Christian Ehrhoff having been placed on waivers by the Kings there is no doubt that McNabb is firmly entrenched in his role in the top Kings’ top four. Through 50+ games he is averaging 20 minutes per game and already has more pims and blocks than he had in all last year. He is on pace for more than 200 hits as well, which puts him on pace fro 200 hits, 100 blocks and 95 pims, a mark only one defenseman hit last year. This puts McNabb in rare company as a defenseman who deliver value in multiple categories even as he carries much more potential than Mark Borowiecki, the other defenseman in the group.
Luke Schenn (14% owned Fantrax)
Schenn provides almost no value outside of what he delivers via the peripheral categories. He was a strong candidate based on his peripheral categories but he has kicked to another level while in LA despite having his ice time reduced by a minute per game from when he was a Flyer. His numbers with the Kings put him on pace to finish with roughly the same peripheral numbers as McNabb. The move to LA has brought out the rugged defenseman in Schenn and as such has increased his value where hits, blocks and penalty minutes are counted.
Chris Porter (2% owned Fantrax)
The wild are very short in general on players who provide much in the ways of value via peripheral categories, not just depth players. Porter leads the team in hits with 122 but provides no value through blocks or penalty minutes. Even as the team leader in hits still fails to crack the top 50 for league. Given these factors Porter’s chief value is that he makes less than 600 thousand per year making him a decent option to provide cheap depth hits in a cap league but useless in almost every other format.
Marco Scandella (31% owned Fantrax)
Scandella would not make this list on any other team as his value really is not in what he brings to the peripheral categories but in his offense. As a second pairing defenseman he is on pace for just under 25 points while averaging just less than a hit per game and just over a block per game. Scandella has taken a bit of a step backwards this year in almost every category, peripheral and otherwise, in concert with him seeing a minute and a half less per game than he did last year. While he provides decent peripheral value relative to the rest of the Wild his value is limited compared to the rest of the league.
Barret Jackman (8% owned Fantrax)
Jackman has not held traditional fantasy value since his rookie season and even then it was for his 190 penalty minutes. 14 years later Jackman is a third pairing defenseman on one of the deepest defense corps in the league. He will not get 10 points this year but he will finish with at least 100 hits, blocks and penalty minutes. Only Dion Phaneuf and Mark Borowiecki had 100 in each of those categories last season. To put in perspective how impressive the breadth of Jackman’s peripheral contributions are only seven players had even 80 in each category. Jackman is another player who can provide a strong peripheral basis for a fantasy team.
Paul Gaustad (5% owned Fantrax)
The Predators, like the wild, are a team that has limited depth options from the standpoint of adding peripheral value. Gaustad puts up decent hit numbers but his block and penalty minute totals rarely get high enough any more to add any value in those areas. Gaustad does provide value in a tertiary, and rarer, category; face-offs. He is good for 1,000 face-offs in a full season and has won at least 56% of his face-offs every year since 2008/09. He is one of the best face-off men in the league and the Predators count on him for the majority of their defensive zone face-offs so he will continue to be a major contributor in this category.
Brenden Dillon (15% owned Fantrax)
Dillon has seen his minutes reduced significantly this year to the tune of having lost three minutes per game of ice time. Despite those lost minutes he has not lost a step and his on pace to finish with more than 80 penalty minutes, 100 blocks with almost 175 hits. Dillon has consistently been a force in these categories as he has finished with 100 blocks and hits in each of the last two seasons, and almost managed that feat during the 48 game lockout season as well. At only 25 there is every reason to believe that Dillon will remain an all-round peripheral category contributor for years to come.
Tommy Wingels (32% owned Fantrax)
Wingels should hit 200 hits for the third straight season as he is on pace to push 250 hits on the season. His point totals are down as it would be surprising if he hit 30 points this season. That is likely due to the fact that he is getting fewer minutes this year as the Sharks are deeper a front. As his point totals, and minutes, have been reduced Wingels has maintained his hit rate and basically matched his penalty minute and block totals from last year. That is likely a result of the shift of Wingels’ minutes to a more defensive role as shown by his relative offensive zone start percentage of -8.9%, which is the second lowest percentage of any regular Shark forward.
Ryan Reaves (5% owned Fantrax)
Reaves used to rack up hits and penalty minutes at a very high level, but those days may be gone. He still is a high level hit machine but it looks unlikely that he will even hit 50 penalty minutes this year. That is a big drop as his previous two seasons were both well over 100 penalty minutes. This puts a significant damper of Reaves’ value as he does not get much in the way of points, blocks or almost any other category. Whereas once Reaves was provided a significant boost in multiple peripheral categories he is now a one-hit wonder.
Dmitrij Jaskin (28% owned Fantrax)
Jaskin was always the better general depth option than Reaves but he may be an equally good peripheral value at this point as well. He is basically equal to Reaves in penalty minutes, slightly ahead in blocks but 25 back in hits. Jaskin also gets three minutes more per game than Reaves meaning there is a decent chance that he is able to close the hit gap as the season goes on. Jaskin is close enough to Reaves on the peripherals that he should undoubtedly be the first option but Reaves is owned in significantly fewer leagues making him easier to acquire.
Derek Dorsett (26% owned Fantrax)
Dorsett leads the league in penalty minutes and is one of only six players so far this season with more 100 hits and 100 penalty minutes. Dorsett is not racking up the points he did last year, in fact he will likely fall at least 10 short of last season’s 25 points. He is replacing those points with extra blocks which is fine but blocks are not worth nearly as much as points given the scarcity of points. Dorsett’s penalty minutes and hits combination is rare in the NHL as only three players had 160 of each last season, while only five had 120 of each. His massive penalty minute total are a unicorn in today’s NHL as long gone are the days of Dave Manson’s 301 penalty minutes in 59 games. Now half that many penalty minutes in one and a half times as many games is easily in the top five.
Matt Bartkowski (9% owned Fantrax)
Brandon Prust would have been the obvious choice for this slot before he got placed on waivers two weeks ago as even though he had missed a significant number of games he was still on pace to better 100 penalty minutes and 100 hits, with close to 50 blocks. With Prust gone there are not a lot of stand-out options but Matt Bartkowski comes the closest to such a distinction. He will hit 125 hits, 50 penalty minutes and 40 blocks, as well contributing close to 20 points from the back end. The drawback to Bartkowski as a depth option is that he is already a -12, fourth worst on the team, and there is a legitimate possibility that he finishes close to -30, making him a category killer.
Mark Stuart (18% owned Fantrax)
Mark Stuart is a perennial peripheral category allstar. Two years ago he was over 100 across the board in hits, blocks and penalty minutes in only 69 games. That was the only time Stuart has reached 100 penalty minutes or 200 hits but it looks like he will come close this season. He is already top 50 in the league in each category, and he is on pace to finish with 200 hits and 100 blocks. Only 10 players had 200 hits and more than 100 blocks last season and of those 10 only three finished with more than the 80 penalty minutes for which Stuart is on pace. Stuar is one of the most reliable peripheral category box-fillers as he has not played more than 60 games and finished with less than 100 hits and 100 blocks in seven years.
Adam Lowry (22% owned Fantrax)
Whereas making this list is old news for Mark Stuart Adam Lowry is the young and up-and-comer to watch. He had 250 hits last year with almost 50 penalty minutes and 35 blocks. This year he is still hitting everything in sight but has already matched last season’s block total and is on pace to at least season penalty minute total. Lowry is entrenched as the checking center on the Jets and is not counted upon to score so there will be no confusion as to what his role is, that being the case his ability to contribute 20 points a season with 30 being a reasonable upside is a very nice bonus for this 22-year-old.
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