Drop the Gloves: Week 6 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.
FHStandard Champion (Previous rank in parentheses: N/R = not ranked)
1. Jared Boll CLB (1) - As soon as we gave him the belt a couple of weeks ago, Boll went into hiding. He's gone six games without a fight and has only eight PIMs over that stretch. He retains the title based on his early season dominance - he's still second overall in PIMs (69), and his seven fights remain tops in the league - but he'll need to get in the ring again soon if he's going to hold off the challengers much longer.
2. Brandon Prust MTL (2) - Prust took some punishment from Joe Finley (video) on Thursday, but it was his sixth fight of the year (tied for second overall), and it was enough to hold his spot as the league-leader in PIMs (76). He also has a couple of points (1G 1A) and a plus-five rating over his last five starts, which doesn't boost his rating as an enforcer, but makes him relevant to roto-owners looking for a pinch hitter. If Boll remains dormant much longer, Prust is one big week from sporting the strap next time around.
3. Derek Dorsett CLB - (4) - Boll's teammate lost a decision to Jordin Tootoo this week (watch), but hey, you don't score fantasy points for winning your matches, you score them for being willing to go. Dorsett has been willing five times this season (tied for fourth overall - here's the full list at hockeyfights.com), and his 14 minors (55 PIMs) are second to only Braydon Coburn. Can he overtake Boll as the Jackets' top dog and earn the FHStandard Crown? There are only so many fights to go around on any given team, but it's not impossible. Dorsett led the league in PIMs last season - while Boll was hurt - and he might be the lesser of two evils in the mind of anyone looking for a fight.
4. B.J. Crombeen TB (6) - Crombeen continues his rise this week, recording two fights since we last checked in. He's now dropped the mitts six times, tied for second overall with Prust. The only thing keeping him from ascending higher is a lack of misconducts - zero so far - and that means his PIM total is a bit low (42) to be a true title contender. That said, big nights with misconducts are tough to predict, and they tend to even out over the year. Crombeen's time will come.
5. Zenon Konopka MIN (3) - The former undisputed heavyweight fantasy champion is in free-fall. Considering he has just four fights on the season and, other than one big game (two fights, 32 PIMs), hasn't dropped the gloves in 11 of his last 12 starts, we're being generous ranking him this high. Perhaps even more concerning: since the Wild acquired fellow tough-guy Mike Rupp, Konopka has twice been a healthy scratch. He remains at number five as a sleeping giant, but for now he's showing no signs of awakening from the slumber, and it's time for Konopka owners to at least think about other options.
6. Richard Clune NAS (6) - Last week we lamented a lack of minor penalties for Clune, and we're happy to see he took our advice and came through with three minors in his last five games. That said, he hasn't fought in eight straight starts, so Richard, if you're listening, this week we want you to keep up the minors and unleash the beast!
7. George Parros FLA (N/R) The 33-year old Parros cracks the top 10 for the first time this season, and he vaults up to seven with the feel of a former champion on the comeback trail (George Foreman, anyone?). He's fought four times in February, including back to back games last week, and we're suddenly reminiscing about the days when Parros was the league's most prolific goon. It wasn't as long ago as it seems; prior to last season when he was injured, Parros cracked 20 fights in four consecutive years. He makes a great waiver pick-up if your regular enforcer isn't getting it done (Konopka owners?), but before you go growing a moustache, take note that Parros watched Friday's game from the press box.
8. Krys Barch NJ (7) - Barch took on Anthony Peluso Sunday, earning his fifth fight of the season. He also had a misconduct the previous weekend, and he continues to climb the PIM rankings (39). He's a notch down from the top contenders at this point, but he's emerging as a dark horse candidate for a title shot.
9. Colton Orr TOR (N/R) - Another former stud enforcer enjoying a renaissance, Orr went off track the last two seasons with concussion issues, and he also endured a stint in the AHL. But, prior to '11-12, he averaged 19 fights over four years. With five fights and 55 PIMs thus far, he's having a resurgence in 2013. At least... he was having a resurgence. He'd be higher in the rankings, but he's missed the last three games with a lower-body injury (sounds like his knee).
10. Frazer McLaren TOR (N/R) - The 6'5", 250 pound McLaren spent the first month watching from the San Jose press box, but he's made 12 starts since being claimed by the Leafs. Following his arrival in Toronto, he's also been the league's most prolific fighter, recording five fighting majors in the last month. Unfortunately, he hasn't recorded any other penalties or misconducts, so he sits at only 25 PIMs. McLaren's future production hinges partially on the status of Orr, and the Leafs also have Mark Fraser and Mike Brown, who have each dropped the gloves five times apiece. Needless to say, there's competition for the fights in Toronto, but McLaren is currently taking on all comers.
Jordin Tootoo DET (10) - How does Tootoo post a monster game since we last checked in - a fight, an instigator penalty, and a misconduct (watch) - and still drop out of the top 10? Well, we were paying Tootoo respect with a mention last week, and maybe it's not very fair to downgrade him now, but there are simply too many true enforcers who are likely to perform better over the long haul - Tootoo has already matched his fight total (5) from last season. That said, he's fearless and he's producing in the goon categories. He's worth owning in larger leagues.
Wayne Simmonds PHI - Two Gordie Howe hat tricks in one week? Hats off to Wayne Simmonds. Check out the first of them against Tanner Glass below in our Fight of the Week.
Ryane Clowe SJ - Does your league award bonus points for suspensions? That's
mildly deranged... if so (we aren't judging), but you'll be "happy" to know that Clowe was suspended two games for leaving the bench Friday to go after Hawks forward, Andrew Shaw.
Mike Brown TOR - A shoulder injury cost him eight starts in early February, but no player has more fights per game in 2013 than Brown - five fights, 55 PIMs in 11 games. We question whether he can maintain the pace - he's only averaged 11 fights per season over the last three years - but his production in 2013 is becoming tough to ignore, and he'll be cracking the top 10 if he keeps it up much longer.
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.
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.