Polishing off the list of the best multi-category studs. For players 20 through 11, click here. Now let’s get to the top 10.
Rotisserie hockey requires a completely different strategy from points-only leagues. That should be obvious, since points-only leagues count goals and assists. Done. Granted, fantasy owners in those leagues do pay attention to power play units, but only to the extent that their player will tally more goals and assists if he’s on the power play.
Roto hockey is a different animal altogether. It factors in several categories – perhaps as many as 15 or more. And if you lead your fantasy league in a given category you get X points for that category, where ‘X’ is the number of owners in your league (i.e. 15 owners means 15 points). So if you have 10 categories and 15 owners, the highest amount of points you can get is 150.
In taking a look at the players across those six categories, I have compiled a list of the best 20 so far this season. I emphasized the past six weeks more than the first six weeks, but I did look at the season as a whole. For the most part, a player had to be in or around the top 100 in five of the six categories. I also allowed a little influence from the hits category. If a player is strong in that category and I was on the fence about him, that was a tie-breaker.
Here are the 10 players who have helped put poolies over the top.
10. Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers (43-11-15-26, plus-3, 35 PIM, 118 SOG, 11 PPPts)
Hartnell’s overall numbers don’t warrant inclusion in the top 20, let alone in the top 10. But he was the best multi-category player to own in 2011-12. And that potential combined with what he has done in the past four weeks is enough to convince me. Here are the recent numbers: (14-5-9-14, plus-9, 6 PIM, 38 SOG, 5 PPPts).
9. Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus Blue Jackets (40-9-20-29, plus-8, 78 PIM, 101 SOG, 5 PPPts)
Just one power play point in his past 24 games held Dubinsky down on the list. Otherwise, his season has been everything a roto-owner wants and then some. His career high is 54 points (2010-11) and 110 PIM (2011-12) – he’s on track to shatter both marks.
8. Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers (47-15-17-35, minus-5, 77 PIM, 113 SOG, 13 PPPts)
As with Hartnell, Simmonds’ stats are top heavy. And also like Hartnell, Simmonds has been a multi-category stud before. Here are Simmonds’ numbers since Dec. 7: 19-10-10-20, plus-5, 30 PIM, 7 PPPts. Those stats, across the board, are as good as it gets.
7. Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks (49-25-24-49, plus-21, 196 SOG, 24 PIM, 17 PPPts)
Sharp has seen his fantasy value dip over the past three years thanks to injuries. But the reality is that in most of those cases, he returned far sooner than expected and the amount of games missed only totalled 36 (an average of 12 per season). Now healthy, Sharp is on pace for career highs in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, shots on goal and he’ll tally his highest PIM total since 2008. Yeah, that’s pretty good.
6. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins (37-12-35, plus-9, 44 PIM, 110 SOG, 19 PPPts)
Pittsburgh was just a couple players shy of making this two-part series a column on the Penguins for Part 1 and the rest of the NHL for Part 2. And it begins with superstar Malkin, one of the ballyhooed ‘Big Three.’ Were it not for a lower-body injury, he’d arguably be No. 1 on the list.
5. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens (46-7-26-33, plus-10, 49 PIM, 128 SOG, 15 PPPts)
A healthy Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty in their prime – that’s all that’s holding Subban back from becoming a top three own in rotisserie hockey. But Galchenyuk is young and inexperienced (and currently injured), while Pacioretty is either hurt or playing hurt half the time. With talent to pass to on the power play, Subban would be even scarier.
4. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (48-25-43-68, plus-12, 28 PIM, 155 SOG, 23 PPPts)
A healthy Crosby will always be the top pick in fantasy hockey. His points alone push him so far ahead of the pack in those three categories that he could have zeroes in the rest of his stats and still be top pick.
3. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks (49-27-26-53, plus-23, 42 PIM, 175 SOG, 12 PPPts)
It’s not the season he had in 2010-11, but it’s a close second. In fact, Perry is on pace to destroy his plus/minus mark from that year, as well as his shots on goal.
2. James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins (27-17-19-36, plus-9, 29 PIM, 108 SOG, 16 PPPts)
Neal had three points and was minus-4 in his first six games. In 21 games since, he has 33 points and is plus-13 with 14 power play points and 27 PIM. He’s been hands-down the best multi-category player to own since November and not even a five-game suspension could take that from him. If only he hadn’t been hurt throughout October…
1. Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins (48-24-25-49, plus-24, 36 PIM, 139 SOG, 18 PPPts)
With 101 points in his past 96 games, it’s past time to admit Kunitz belongs among the elite in fantasy hockey. He’s gone three consecutive games without a point just once this season and on another occasion he went two games. Now that’s consistency. Remember, this is a guy who was waived by the Ducks in 2005, picked up by Atlanta, and after two games with zero points and a minus-3 he was waived again.
Honorable Mentions: Jarome Iginla, Boston; Nick Foligno, Columbus; Antoine Roussel, Dallas; Thomas Vanek, NY Islanders; John Tavares, NY Islanders; Steve Downie, Philadelphia; Chris Stewart, St. Louis; Alex Steen, St. Louis; Radko Gudas, Tampa Bay; Troy Brouwer, Washington.
Again, for players 20 through 11, click here.
For second-half projections, NCAA free agents to watch, trends, analysis and more – pick up my 7th annual Mid-season Fantasy Hockey Guide!
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.