Drop the Gloves: Week 7 Enforcer Update
In our Drop the Gloves column we shed the oven mitts, pull the jersey over your head, and pummel you with analysis of the NHL's top enforcers from a fantasy perspective. We also bestow the Fantasy Hockey Standard championship belt on the league's top goon, check in on the current contenders for the title, and offer some thoughts and notes on the best of the rest.
Fantasy Hockey Standard Champion (Previous Rank in Parentheses)
1. Jared Boll CLB (1) - We put the belt on Boll after he stormed out to the early-season lead in fighting majors, but he promptly went into hiding - eight straight games without a fight. He was on the verge of relinquishing the title, but he finally answered the bell Sunday with a fight against Colorado's Patrick Bordeleau. Bordeleau scored a convincing win in the bout (check it out below in our Fight of the Week), but it was Boll's league-leading eighth fight, and he remains second overall in PIMs with 74. He's the champ for another week, but the gap between him and the top contenders has closed to virtually nothing.
2. Brandon Prust MTL (2) - It was there for the taking, but Prust didn't quite do enough this week to grab the belt. He has been a little more active than Boll as of late - two fights in his last seven starts - and he continues to lead the league in PIMs, but in order to take the title, you have to separate yourself from the pack. Prust is going steady, but it'll take a surge.
3. B.J. Crombeen TB (4) - Crombeen has been climbing the rankings every week, and he's now threatening to leapfrog both Boll and Prust. He's fought three times in his last 10 starts, including back-to-back games last week. He's now tied wth Boll for the league-lead in fights (8), and he's cemented himself among this season's elite enforcers. If he can keep up the pressure and begin to climb the PIM rankings - he currently sits 12th (52) - Crombeen might take the top spot.
4. Derek Dorsett CLB (3) - Dorsett was a legitimate title threat going into the week, but he's dropped out of the top three. It's partially due to Crombeen's surge, but it's also because he's been dormant since we last checked in - six straight games without a single penalty minute. Still, enforcers are streaky by nature, which is why we haven't dropped him further. He'll come around. In the meantime, Dorsett is a "buy-low" candidate if his owner gets impatient.
5. George Parros FLA (7) - Last week we told you to keep the moustache on standby, but this week we're giving you the green light to grow it. To close out the month, Parros fought John Scott for the second time this season, his fifth fight over 12 starts in February. If it weren't for his early season cold spell and a lack of PIMs (only 29), he might be even higher. For now, he's showing no signs of slowing down, and he's on the verge of re-establishing himself as a "franchise" enforcer.
6. Krys Barch NJ (8) - It's a mixed review for Barch this week. He's dropped the gloves twice in his last three starts, but he's also been a healthy scratch twice over that stretch. He recorded his sixth fight of the season last night against Tampa Bay's Pierre-Cedric Labrie, and with that he moves into the top five in fighting majors. The scratches are concerning, but we'd keep him in your line-up for another week and monitor his starts.
7. Colton Orr TOR (9) - Orr did nothing this week, but he moves up thanks to two things: he's back in the line-up after missing three games with a lower-body injury. And, the Leafs unloaded Mike Brown to the Oilers, meaning Orr has less competition for dance partners each night - Toronto leads the league in fighting majors (24).
8. Mike Brown EDM (N/R) - And speaking of Brown, he lands with the team that has the fewest fighting majors, where he'll be placed on active duty as the bodyguard for Edmonton's fragile superstars. He has five fights on the season in only 13 games, and he's tied for third in PIMs (70). In his first game with the Oilers he didn't fight, but he doubled his average TOI from the Leafs, with 11-plus minutes. He's on the rise.
9. Zenon Konopka MIN (5) - We've left Konopka in the top 10 for now, but our champion from the start of the season is in danger of dropping out of the rankings completely. He's been a healthy scratch in five of Minnesota's last seven games, and he's become expendable in the the line-up since the Wild acquired Mike Rupp. Konopka did pick up his fifth fight of the season on Friday (watch), and he remains sixth overall in PIMs, but the trend of nights in the press box is a troubling development that shows no signs of letting up.
10. Dale Weise VAN (N/R) Weise cracks the top 10 based on the strength of his five fights in the month of February. He joins Boll, Crombeen, Prust, and Barch as the only enforcers with at least six majors. He probably won't keep pace with that elite pack as the season drags on, but he's a decent play if your regular enforcer is letting you down.
Richard Clune NAS (6) - Clune was climbing the ladder with five fights through his first 11 games, but he's been steam-rolled by the pack after going the next 11 games without even dropping the gloves.
Brian McGrattan CGY - The Flames acquired McGrattan from the Predators on Friday and the big man got straight to work, notching a fight and a game misconduct in his first start.
Patrick Bordeleau COL - Bordeleau put a beating on our champion, Jared Boll, on Sunday. It was his fourth fight of the season, and he's developing a reputation as a player not to be messed with.
That's it for this week's Enforcer Update. Check back next time for the latest rankings and happenings in the world of NHL goons. And, as usual, we'll leave you with our Blades of Steel Fight of the Week: Boll vs. Bordeleau
NOTE: In classic points-based leagues, we recommend 2 pts/fight and .25 or .2/PIM, with nothing for goals or assists. This system allows enforcers to score a reasonable amount of points compared to skaters and goalies, while mirroring the unique and specialized role they play in the NHL. It also ensures that owners are forced to draft one the league's true goons to the position, and not a scorer that happens to take a decent amount of penalties.