Looking at Hits in Fantasy Hockey

As commonly used platforms such as Yahoo! continue to improve on their fantasy hockey capabilities, you start to see new trends emerging in league settings.  In my Understanding Your League article, we looked at how important it is for GMs to understand the settings of their particular league and to draft according to what your league settings value.  Today, let's focus on the most common trend in head-to-head format pools: including hits as a measured category.


I am in four leagues this year and each of them include hits while none of them include PIMs (which is still defined as a Yahoo! standard category). The Dobber Pro league this year is an example of a league that eliminated PIMs and added hits.  I personally really like this change as I have never been a big fan of PIM as a measured category, but I do like the option of having a non-scoring category option. 

In order to get ahead of the rest of the GMs in your pool, you really need to be able to understand the addition of the hits category, and determining the impact that this trend has on the value of the players in your league is of course critical to your team’s success. Let's look at examples of how adding Hits in place of PIM can have a major impact on the value of some key players:

(For all comparisons below, I am using a Yahoo! standard 12 team league G, A, +/-, PIM, PPP, SOG and comparing it to an identical league that simply subs out PIMs for hits using actual stats from the 2011-12 season).


Players who lose value

Obviously, a player who has great value because of his high PIM output will see a drop in value when PIM are no longer measured. The question is how much of a drop off is there? Take a player like Corey Perry for example: he had 127 PIM last season, but only 69 Hits.  Running the numbers through Fantasy Hockey Geek, look what it does to his value:


PIM League Value

Hit League Value

Corey Perry



Perry goes from being the 31st most valuable in the league (PIM league) to being the 107th most valuable player (Hit league). Keep in mind, these numbers were based on last season which wasn’t great for Perry and  I do see him being much more valuable than 107th even if the league doesn’t include PIM. What I want to focus on here though is the discrepancy in value of the same player with the same stats just by swapping PIM for Hits. If Perry bounces back in the upcoming season, he might be the 10th most valuable player in a PIM league, but still somewhere around the 50th most valuable in a Hits league.

The Perry example is somewhat easy, because he contributes so greatly to PIMs but accumulates less than one Hit per game.  The reality is there aren’t a ton of guys out there who excel in PIM and don’t excel in hits as well. A common pitfall would be for a GM to think that a player who provides good PIM output and good hit output will be virtually unaffected by the change.  You might hear a GM say “PK Subban contributed to PIM for me, but now he will just contribute to hits for me instead, so he is probably worth about the same right?” Wrong. Let’s take a look at the impact to PK:


PIM League Value

Hit League Value

PK Subban



PK Subban had 105 Hits last year, so you would hardly think that adding hits would hurt him, but running the numbers through FHG you can see that his true value drops 41 spots! How can this be, when PK is a good hitter? The reason is that he is an elite PIM provider (119 last year). His value didn’t go down because he doesn’t hit - he does; his value went down because he is such a high achiever in PIM that his good (but not elite) hit output does not make up for the loss of a category that he dominated in. Examples like Subban are the much harder ones to quantify when trying to determine the impact of swapping in the hit category. These are the types of players you need to identify when you are going into a league that counts hits.


Players who gain value

Similar to the players who lose value, there are a couple types of players who gain value that you would expect. There are the Michael Del Zotto types who don’t offer a lot in terms of PIM (36 last year), but are good hitters (156 last year). Not surprisingly, MDZ’s value jumps due to the change:


PIM League Value

Hit League Value

Michael Del Zotto




Taking away a category where MDZ was lacking (PIMs) and replacing it with one he is great in (hits), shoots his value up 22 spots. Much like Perry, the Del Zotto example is probably an easy one to identify. A tougher one to quantify might be Ryan Callahan, who was a decent PIM provider last year (61 PIM) but an elite hitter (271). Look how much his value changes:


PIM League Value

Hit League Value

Ryan Callahan




Again, both leagues in this scenario measure five of the same stats (G, A, PPP, +/-, SOG) and we are using the same output for these five categories (2011-12 actual stats). The only difference in these scenarios is changing one category (hits instead of PIMs) and it affects Callahan’s value by almost 100 positions! Callahan is a great example of a guy who can provide you some great value in a league that includes hits. Somebody like David Backes is likely already on other GM’s radar, due his name value and o-ranking.  His high PIM output has helped him to get higher rankings on all of the sites such as Yahoo! and as well as with a lot of the ‘experts’ out there. Callahan is a lower visibility guy who you can probably get at a much later round and look at his 2011-12 output in a league of this format compared to that of Backes:
























They had the exact same number of points, exact same PPP, shots were within 1 and Callahan actually hits more! Using FHG, you can identify exactly how this minor category change can drastically affect a player such as Callahan’s value. This information is a huge advantage at the draft table, or when trading.

There are a plethora of other players whose value changes significantly when hits are added to your league as a scoring category and it is very important to understand the impact to their value. You need to identify players like Perry and Del Zotto, who are impacted negatively or positively by the change and determine how much that their value fluctuates because of it. On top of that, it is critically important to identify the guys in the league who are good contributors to both Hits and PIM (or whichever category hits are replacing) and try to determine if the move increases or decreases their value. If a particular player is a good contributor in hits as well as PIMs, you cannot assume that their value will be unaffected by the change. If you treat the players in your pool the same way in a hit league as you do in a PIM league, you will be at a huge disadvantage to the more shrewd GMs in your league. Fantasy Hockey Geek is a great resource if you need help determining the impact to their true value. To figure out the impact of adding hits to your league(s), Sign Up today! 


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notoriousjim said:

... this is all a good point, but remember the there is still a trap here. Most of these draft progams fail to think about other managers tendencies. It also ignores roster space to some degree.

I am in a 16 team league with hits and PIM. The rosters are big (25 players) with daily moves, so the last few guys on my bench that get time on my starting roster (our bench is about 12 players) are guys that are studs in one or both of those stats. So the bottom of my roster is Downie, Martin, Lapierre, ect.

I know that other managers spend more time trying to find goals and assists, so i have to adress them first, and know that they will chase potential points late instead of grabbing elite pim and hits guys, so i feel less of a need to really put much value in hits and pim higher up in my depth chart.

If more managers are fighting over clutterbuck, callahan, martin, shenn and the other elite hitters, then you need to change your draft strategy
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0

BamNeely said:

Rode FHG Heavily This Year First time using FHG this year and used them heavily for my H2H MultiCat league. We use G/A/+-/SOG/FOW/PPP/PIM/Hits/BS. My team doesn't have much "star appeal" outside of Malkin & Neal but I think it's going to be a very solid team. Love these articles. Good stuff.
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0
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