A look at the Top 10 Penalty Minute producers you want on your fantasy team
I have participated in many fantasy hockey leagues over the years but it was in 2007 that I started to become really involved. That was the year the keeper league I am in started and it was also the year I joined a one-year points only league that had penalty minutes as a category. Each minute was worth one point whereas goals and assists were two each. The third best player on my team that year was Alex Burrows, right behind Alexei Kovalev and Evgeni Malkin. That year Burrows racked up 179 penalty minutes and I finished in third. Not bad considering I picked him in the 13th round.
The penalty minute category is slowly going by the wayside. The Dobber Pro and Expert leagues have already replaced it with Hits. Some leagues are switching to blocked shots instead of penalties. If your league still counts this as a statistic then this list will be beneficial to you.
#10 – Zack Kassian, VAN
Kassian has 99 penalty minutes in 50 games which equates to almost two minutes per contest. Last season he had 51 minutes in 39 games with Vancouver and in 2011/12 he also had 51 penalty minutes in 42 games with Buffalo and Vancouver. Kassian is inconsistent and cannot be counted on to produce in that category on a daily basis. He has had four stretches lasting five games or more where he has not spent time in the penalty box. The longest was Dec 3, 2013 to Jan 10, 2014 where he went 17 games without a single penalty minute. He is currently on a six game drought as well.
#9 – Zac Rinaldo, PHI
Rinaldo’s career best for penalties was in 2011/12 where he recorded 232 in 66 games. He has not achieved that penalty minute-per-game pace of 3.5 since then. Rinaldo has recorded 101 penalty minutes in 46 games which is an average of 2.2 and although it is a similar pace to Kassian, he is much more consistent. The longest Rinaldo has gone without a penalty this season is six games. Expect another 57 minutes in penalties in Philly’s remaining 26 games to give him a total of 158.
#8 – Chris Stewart, STL
Stewart has averaged 1.1 penalty minutes a game since being drafted 18th overall in 2006. He has 103 penalty minutes in 54 games which is good for a 1.9 penalty minute per game pace. Stewart will beat his career high of 109, set in the 2011/12 season, and should finish with 155 total penalty minutes. Stewart has fought five times, received five major penalties and 14 trips to the box for minor infractions. Unfortunately for poolies he has also bounced around the lineup a fair amount so what he produces on any given night is anyone’s guess.
#7 – Brandon Prust, MTL
Prust also has 103 penalty minutes but he has achieved this total in nine less games. The 6-2 Ontario native is 10th overall for fighting majors (9) and has some work to do if he is going to match his fighting total from 2011/12 where he dropped the gloves 20 times. He’s missed some time to injury which could explain his low totals but he is still on target to equal his career best (160) in the remaining 26 games. If he can stay healthy expect another 60 penalty minutes.
#6 – Derek Dorsett, NYR
Another penalty minute producer that has 103 minutes and nine of those have also been fighting majors. Dorsett has produced these numbers in 37 games which is why he is in sixth. His career average for penalty minutes is 2.6 per game. He has a long way to go to beat his best total which he set in the 2011/12 season. He led the league that year with 235 penalty minutes in 77 games. Dorsett is currently injured (broken leg) and that will only hamper him moving forward (pun intended). He is set to return after the Olympic break which means that he needs to achieve 132 penalty minutes in roughly 20 games. Of course that is dependent on when he actually does come back. Either way he would need at least six minutes in every game until the end of the season. This is entirely possible, but highly unlikely. Look for another 50 minutes by April.
#5 – Radko Gudas, TBL
It is becoming quite clear that Gudas is going to be a multi-category stud for many years. He has already made a previous Top 10 list of mine (Hitters) and I said then that he would finish the season with 175 penalty minutes. Gudas is slightly off pace for that prediction having posted 108 in 50 games for a 2.16 penalty minute per-game-pace. He is relatively consistent with his production as well, only recently going seven games without any infractions. Gudas sits fourth overall in minor penalties taken with 29 and has also had four fights. Tampa Bay has 27 games remaining so expect another 60 minutes in penalties from the 24 year old third-round draft pick.
#4 – Tom Wilson, WAS
Wilson has racked up 110 penalty minutes in his first season with the Capitals and is on pace to finish with 160. That’s a good start to his career but unless he cleans up his game a bit he may also see his fair share of suspensions. I said in one of last year’s Studs and Duds columns that his charging hit to Brayden Schenn was worthy of at least a 12 game suspension. Wilson is also second overall with major penalties taken (12) and it is this aspect of his game that helps poolies in the penalty minute category. It matters not if you are in a points only or rotisserie league, Wilson is worthy of occupying a spot on your roster. Look for another 49 penalty minutes by season’s end with 6 of them being of the major variety.
#3 – Chris Neil, OTT
Neil also has 110 minutes but in fewer games (49) than Wilson. He has been in the top five for the past three seasons and looks to repeat that feat again. His career best was 231 penalty minutes set in 2001/02 and his average is 2.5 per game. The 34 year old Senator is slowing down as this is his third lowest per-game pace since the beginning of his career. He is still very consistent with his production as the longest he has gone without posting a penalty minute is five games. Neil has had 10 fights which places him sixth overall in that department. If he continues at this rate he will end the season with 183 penalty minutes and another four fighting majors.
#2 – Antoine Roussel, DAL
The undrafted 24 year old has 136 penalty minutes in 54 games. Roussel in producing at a 2.5 penalty minute per-game-pace in his second season in the NHL. He is also sitting in fifth place for minor penalties taken with 28. Roussel is one of the more consistent sin-bin specialists as he has not gone more than five games without taking a trip to the penalty box. What’s more impressive is that Roussel is also first in the league when it comes to drawing penalties with 35. He is not afraid to drop the gloves either as he has recorded eight major penalties for fighting. The Dallas left wing is a player to keep an eye on for leagues that have penalty minutes as a category. He will finish the season with 204 minutes which means he will post 68 in Dallas’ remaining 27 games. Pat yourself on the back if you picked him in the later rounds of your draft or if you acquired him earlier in the season.
#1 – Tom Sestito, VAN
Sestito has more than doubled his career best (83) and is currently on pace to triple that. He is posting an average of 3.15 penalty minutes per game and is also first in major penalties taken with 15. In 53 games with Vancouver he has 167 penalty minutes while only skating an average of six minutes and ten seconds of ice-time per contest. These numbers are inflated to some degree considering that on January 13th, against the Los Angeles Kings, he only skated for one second and accumulated 27 minutes in penalties. He obviously inspired the sad-sack Canucks with that performance. Five days later, against the Flames, four players played two seconds of meaningless hockey and were awarded 15 minutes in penalties each. Even if you remove the 27 minutes of penalties he would still be in first place so he must be doing something right. Whether Sestito can keep this pace going remains to be seen as he has not played more than 30 games in previous seasons. If you need help with penalties then I suggest picking up Sestito as he is only owned by 3% of Yahoo! managers.
Here is this week’s Top 10 broken down courtesy of Frozen Pool. It is one of the best applications out there that allows you to generate specific data for a wide variety of categories.
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