NHL Fantasy Hockey Pool Strategy Guide

Drop the Gloves: 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.

New Champion (Previous rank in parentheses)

1. Jared Boll CLB (2) - We have a new champion this week, as Jared Boll knocks the reigning title holder Zenon Konopka out from his long-time perch.  Boll leads all enforcers with seven fights, is second overall in PIMs at 61, and has clearly established himself as fantasy hockey's top enforcer early in 2013.  If he keeps the pace, he'll be holding the strap all season.

Top Contenders

2. Brandon Prust MTL (3) - Prust moves up a spot this week, partly because Konopka wasn't very active, and partly because Prust's own numbers are so impressive - five fights, two misconducts, and a league-leading 67 PIMs.  His 11 minor penalties are second in the NHL, and his three points and plus-five rating make him pretty unique in the world of fantasy goons.  The latest news is that Prust is even skating on Montreal's top line.

3. Zenon Konopka MIN (1) - Konopka was about to drop even further in our rankings, but then he had a night that reminded us why he's been fantasy hockey's champion for most of the last three years - two fights and 32 PIMs against the Canucks last Thursday.  Unfortunately, that performance accounts for half his total fights (4) and two thirds of his PIMs (48).  The Wild also just acquired Mike Rupp, another enforcer-type player, so Konopka's spot in the lineup could become expendable.  He still has the potential to regain the title, but his days as the clear-cut #1 appear to be over.

4. Derek Dorsett CLB (5) - Boll is entrenched as the new sheriff in Columbus, but Dorsett is a reliable deputy.  He's fought three times in his last six starts - four fights total - and his 40 PIMs and 11 minors are excellent totals.  If anything happens to Boll, Dorsett will challenge for the top spot, and he'll remain near the top of the rankings regardless.

The Challengers

5. Richard Clune NSH (7) - At 5'10", 207, Clune is no heavyweight, but he's a tough customer and he's doing what he needs to do to stay in the Preds lineup.  Along with Boll and Prust, he's the only other NHLer with five or more fights.  His 29 PIMs are also decent, but with only two minor penalties, he's a notch down from the upper-echelon.   It shows his disciplined approach to being a tough guy, which keeps him on the ice, but fantasy owners would no doubt like to see a little more of his wild side.

6. B.J. Crombeen TB (10) - Crombeen is out to a very solid start - 4 fights, 32 PIMs, 6 minors - but he suffered a "head injury" in a fight against Zac Rinaldo last week.  He missed a game to recover, but he played Sunday and seems good to go.  

7. Krys Barch NJ (N/R) - Barch watched three of the first four games from the press box, but he's found a regular shift (albeit barely five minutes a game) and is taking on all comers in the process.  He has four fights in only nine starts, along with 24 PIMs.  You might even find him on the waiver wire in some leagues.

8. Shawn Thornton BOS (6) - Thornton led the league in fights last season, which is partially why he holds this position, but he's out to a bumpy start.  He does have three fights and 25 PIMs, but he also missed two games with a concussion.  He's back in action, and he'll look to climb the ladder from here.

9. Zac Rinaldo PHI (N/R) - Rinaldo missed four games with a leg injury and he's only fought twice this year, but he has the feel of a volcano about to erupt.  Thanks to a couple of misconducts to go with the fights, he's posted 44 PIMs in only nine starts, and volatility is his best asset.  He'll challenge for the title if he stays healthy.

10. Jordin Tootoo DET (N/R) - Say what you want about Tootoo, but you have to admire his courage.  He's the size of a GI Joe doll, but he's scrappy and drops the gloves with zero regard for personal safety.  He's not a pure enforcer like most of the others on the list, but with four fights and 30 PIMs thus far, he gets a nod in the top 10.  

Other Notes

Patrick Bordeleau COL - Bordeleau is finding a niche with the Avs, recording three fights and 35 PIMs in 11 games.  He's no lock to remain in the big leagues all year, but he's producing right now - he's fought in each of his last two games - and he's a decent pick-up if you're desperate.

Mark Fraser TOR - Colton Orr is still the main enforcer in Toronto, but Fraser is picking up some of the slack - four fights and 33 PIMs.  Not bad if you're looking for a waiver wire replacement.

Ryan White MTL - Racked up 46 PIMs in seven games, but his reckless style landed him in Habs coach Michel Therrien's doghouse, and he's been a healthy scratch in four of the last five.

Raffi Torres PHX - Torres has served his suspension and is back with the Coyotes, but he's vowed to behave himself, meaning his fantasy value is all but gone.  He's fought once in five starts, but it was to answer for his hit on Marian Hossa when the Coyotes played the Blackhawks, and he hasn't taken any other penalties.

Darcy Hordichuk EDM - The Oilers waived Hordichuk on Monday.


That's it for this week's enforcer report.  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... 



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.

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