Drop the Gloves: Fantasy 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.
It's a major shake-up this week, starting at the top...
Fantasy Hockey Standard Champion (Previous Rank in Parentheses)
1. B.J. Crombeen TB (3) - Ring the bell and raise his arm, we've got a new champion! B.J. Crombeen puts the fantasy knockout on previous title-holder Jared Boll, surging to the top of the rankings with four fights since we last checked in - six in his last 12 starts. Crombeen put the exclamation point on his ascent Saturday with a two-fight, 22-PIM massacre (although he was the one getting massacred against Matt Kassian - watch), which included an instigator penalty and a misconduct. He now has 12 fights on the season, two ahead of second place Colton Orr, and his 86 PIMs are good for fourth overall.
2. Colton Orr TOR (7) - Orr's stock is rapidly climbing since the departure of fellow tough guy Mike Brown - the Leafs traded Brown to the Oilers March 4. Orr has five fights in his last nine games, and a 29-PIM performance last Thursday (where he was credited with just two seconds of ice-time... see it below in our Fight of the Week) vaults him to the top of the leaderboard and makes him the first enforcer to crack 100 PIMs this season.
3. Mike Brown EDM (8) - Speaking of Mike Brown, no enforcer is producing at a greater per-game pace. He missed nine starts with a shoulder injury, but he's still 4th overall with eight fights in 21 games. Brown has three in nine starts since joining the Oilers, and his TOI has essentially doubled since the trade. He's third in the NHL at 87 PIMs, and thanks to injuries to a couple of other contenders, it all adds up to a third place ranking.
4. Jared Boll TB (1) - In his first 14 games, Boll had seven fights and 65 PIMs. Since then, he's gone 18 starts with just two fights and 14 PIMs - he's only fought once in his last ten. It's obvious why he lost the belt. That said, we fully expect him to pick it up again, especially with teammate and fellow enforcer Derek Dorsett out for the season.
5. Richard Clune NAS (N/R) - Injuries have turned the rankings upside-down, and Clune not only breaks back into the top 10, he climbs all the way to fifth. Since we last checked in, he has three fights - plus a major penalty and misconduct last night - in his last nine games. He's now dropped the gloves eight times in total, and he sits in the top ten in PIMs (77).
6. Zenon Konopka MIN (9) - Konopka is becoming a bit of a wild card. He endured a recent stretch when he was scratched in six of eight games, but he's now started eight straight, notching a couple of fights and 18 PIMs along the way. When active, he's one of the best, and he's beginning to make some noise.
7. Brandon Prust MTL (2) - Prust has missed six games and counting with a separated shoulder, but his original diagnosis was 10-14 days, and we've reached the latter end of that. In spite of the layoff, his seven fights are enough to keep him tied in a log jam at sixth overall in the category, and he remains in the top five in PIMs. He'll be climbing the ladder again in no time.
8. Chris Neil OTT (N/R) - Neil is tied with Braydon Coburn and Alex Burrows for most minor penalties (18), and his three misconducts are also tied for the league-high (Colton Orr). We've held him out of the top 10 until now because he only has four fights, but we can't ignore that his 96 PIMs are second most in the league.
9. Shawn Thornton BOS (N/R) - Last year's leader in fights is lurking in the top 10 again. He dropped the gloves three times in March.
10. George Parros FLA (5) - Parros earned his sixth fight of the season last week, but he was injured during the bout and he's missed the last three games. We'll hold him at 10 for now...
Derek Dorsett CLB (4) - Dorsett suffered a broken clavicle March 8. Moment of silence... he's done for the season.
Krys Barch NJ (6) - Barch drops out of the rankings after being a healthy scratch in seven of the Devils' last 13 games.
Jordin Tootoo DET - He continues to put up solid enforcer stats - 7 fights, 68 PIMs - but he's been scratched in two of the Wings' last five.
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: Colton Orr vs. Shawn Thornton
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.