Now that you got your fill on defensemen, it is time to showcase a few deserving forwards who excel in the combined ‘Hits’ and ‘Blocked Shots’ department. Forwards are a very different breed than defensive defensemen and blocked shots are not very forward friendly.
On the front line, reaching 100 blocked shots should be considered a rare feat. In fact, the last forward to record 100 or more blocked shots was Ryan Johnson with 109, in 2007-08. One season later, Chris Drury posted 97, but only finished 67 hits… not exactly monster worthy.
Since then, few forwards have stood out of the pack, and only a handful have been as consistent in blocking shots as they are in hits. With that in mind, Roto Keeper Monsters presents to you three shot blocking musketeers: the veteran, the graduate and the breakout.
Over the last four years, only one forward has averaged 74 or more Blocked Shots - Mike Fisher. The former Senators’ forward has flourished in the block shots department, finishing top five in three of the last four seasons. Usually, when a player moves to a new franchise (and system) mid-season, you expect an adjustment period, but Mike Fisher’s change in team did not affect his on-pace totals. When prorating both sets of numbers to 82 games, the results show 88 (Ottawa) and 91 (Nashville) – Mike finished the 2010-11 season with 89 blocked shots, topping all other forwards.
It is not recommended to draft Mike Fisher as your first line center, because on most other teams, he wouldn’t be. More specifically, those drafting him expecting heavy production based on goals and assists have been misled. Reality check! What best suits Fisher for your fantasy squad is his ability to put up high combined totals of hits and blocked shots (shots on goal as well).
Fisher should consistently finish top fifteen in hits and top five in blocked shots yearly, hovering just over 200 and 80 respectively. Although, like seen this past season, expect the odd off year.
One Year Upside : 202 Hits, 87 Blocked Shots
Three Year Upside : 223 Hits, 99 Blocked Shots
Welcome to the shot blocking show Ryan Callahan, and congratulations on posting back-to-back top five finishes! With the departure of Chris Drury, Callahan becomes the likely candidate to turn Captain – a seamless transfer in the eyes of many. It is evident that Drury was invaluable to Callahan’s learning curve, as the young 26 year old seems to have taken many pointers from this veteran’s game.
Over the last three seasons, Callahan recorded 774 hits, an average of 258 per campaign. However, this past season, Callahan was poised to shatter career highs in both hits and blocked shots; unfortunately it was cut short to 60 games due to injury. Even then, Ryan finished the season posting a remarkable 224 hits and 77 blocked shots. A deeper look will reveal that when prorated to a full season, those same numbers leap to 306 and 105, respectively.
When the New York Rangers needed a spark, he showed up, and he will do the same for your fantasy team. While he remains a Restricted Free Agents, it would not be wise for the Rangers to lose their team’s heart and soul. What Callahan brings to the game is truly intangible.
One Year Upside : 292 Hits, 93 Blocked Shots
Three Year Upside : 318 Hits, 107 Blocked Shots
One offseason ago, who would have guessed that a player named Brian Boyle would finish the season with 240 hits (one hit behind Ovechkin) and 86 blocked shots (three blocked shots behind Fisher)? For those counting, he also recorded 21 goals, 14 assists, 74 PIMs and 218 shots, all while making $525,000.
As seen in Tim Lucarelli’s “Late Blooming Brian Boyle”, Brian’s career path was a rollercoaster ride filled with obstacles. Despite this, the Rangers have shown confidence in him, dishing out a stellar three-year, 5.1 million dollar contract extension. Good term, great contract. Sitting behind newly acquired centerman Brad Richards and sophomore Derek Stepan on the depth chart should not be of concern - third line duties serve Boyle best.
Until puck drop, the thought of the former first round draft pick being a one season wonder will undoubtedly linger. However, Brian Boyle may have finally found his niche, and we should expect similar peripherals from him in 2011-12.
One Year Upside : 237 Hits, 78 Blocked Shots
Three Year Upside : 249 Hits, 90 Blocked Shots