Top 10 shorthanded point players in the NHL today...
A lot of poolies see shorthanded points as a fluke category, one that doesn’t deserve attention.
But they couldn’t be more wrong. Shorthanded points can make or break your fantasy season, and it’s always a good thing when you can incorporate a real-life situation into a fantasy category.
Sure, in real life, it’s great if you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, knowing your team can kill penalties with the best of them. But if you’re in a league with shorthanded points, then it doesn’t do you much good knowing they’ve only scored two shorthanded goals this year, tied for worst in the league. And it’s admirable for real-life fans that Sean Couturier and Jay McClement are trusted to kill penalties and get more shorthanded ice time than any other forward in the league. But it’s not great for your fantasy team when they can’t use that ice time to your fantasy advantage.
In head-to-head leagues, shorthanded points can be one of the most important categories simply because of the fact they don’t happen very often. But with a little strategic planning, you can take advantage of a category that most other people ignore.
And that strategic planning starts with knowing what players are the best when it comes to shorthanded points. It’s more than luck, as some players consistently put up points while killing penalties.
For the below list, we looked at all players who have scored at least three shorthanded points in any of the last five seasons (reduced to two points for the lockout season). The number you see next to a player’s name is how many seasons they hit that mark.
#10: Loui Eriksson – 3 times (10 points in last five years, zero this year)
Eriksson’s shorthanded time on ice has taken a hit this year with the Boston Bruins, where he’s averaging just 1:13 per game. His frequent injuries haven’t helped either. However, he’s still scored at least three shorthanded points in three of the last five seasons, so he barely squeaks into the top 10 list. However, given his new situation in Boston, Eriksson looks to be trending in the wrong direction.
#9: Lauri Korpikoski – 3 times (10 points in last five years, three this year)
Korpikoski is the most underrated penalty killer in the league. While he doesn’t have much value in most leagues, the 27-year-old sees about 2:12 of shorthanded ice time per game as a member of the Coyotes. His fantasy value isn’t going to change that much, but in deeper leagues, it’s good to see he brings more to the table.
#8: Rich Peverley – 3 times (14 points in last five years, two this year)
Like Ericksson, Peverley is another player who is trending in the wrong direction. He is seeing only 1:03 minutes per game while shorthanded (down from 1:54 last year with Boston), and with less ice time means less chances to score.
#7: Brandon Dubinsky - 3 times (13 points in last five years, three this year)
Dubinsky is a great penalty killer, no doubt about it. He has 10 shorthanded points in the last three seasons, proving that he can still get it done away from New York.
#6: Patrice Bergeron – 3 times (12 points in last five years, three this year)
Without a doubt, Bergeron is one of the best penalty killers in the league. So it feels like Bergeron should be higher on this list, but the fact he’s never had more than three shorthanded points in any of the last five seasons hurts him a lot.
#5: Eric Staal - 3 times (13 points in last five years, four this year)
Despite getting a low amount of short-handed ice time — just 59 seconds per game (the lowest of anyone on this list) — Staal is always a threat to score. His four shorthanded points this year is just one off his career high.
#4: Jonathan Toews – 4 times (15 points in last five years, three this year)
The Gold-Olympic-medallist is Mr. Consistent when it comes to shorthanded points, never straying far from three points in any of the past five seasons.
#3: Brad Marchand – 4 times (15 points in last five years, four this year)
Marchand gets just 1:33 shorthanded ice time per game, but is like a mountain lion on the ice, waiting for the right opportunity before pouncing. He actually had no shorthanded points during his rookie season five years ago, but since then, has averaged almost four per year. His four shorthanded points this year is tied for second in the league.
#2: Lee Stempniak – 2 times (10 points in last five years, five this year)
What’s amazing about Sempniak’s numbers is that nine of his shorthanded points have come in the last two years as he’s re-invented himself in Calgary. While he leads the league in shorthanded points so far this season, and was second last year, he wasn’t even killing penalties a few years back. Four years ago, he averaged one second of shorthanded ice time per game. Stempniak would be #1 on this list if he had more history of being a great shorthanded points guy, but he’s easily been the best guy the past two years.
#1: Marian Hossa- 5 times (17 points in last five years, three this year)
Hossa has been as strong a defensive forward as anyone in the league during the last 15 years. He leads the league in shorthanded points over the last five-year period, and is the only player to make the list in each of the last five years. It’s also amazing when you look at his career, he’s had seasons of seven and five shorthanded goals, not just points.
The key is to remember that while many poolies may not like shorthanded points, the category is still worth the same as goals, assists, penalty minutes, etc. To intentionally punt it is a silly notion, and one that could cost poolies a tight matchup during a playoff week.
The trick to the above list is not to grab these guys solely for shorthanded points, but to factor SHP into the equation when drafting. Give these guys a little extra bump when drafting. For example, if Marchand is going around 127th in Yahoo pools, maybe consider grabbing him with your 110th pick.
Or maybe use shorthanded points as a tiebreaker when making roster decisions. If you have a choice between Hossa (whose average Yahoo draft position was 71.1) and Joffrey Lupul (66.1 average draft position), why not give a bump to Hossa for what he brings to the shorthanded category?
While shorthanded points are rare (so much so that many poolies hate the category), there's no need to ignore them when making roster management decisions.
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