The dynamic of the sport has changed significantly since Feb. 7, 1976, but that doesn't mean fantasy owners around the world aren't imagining the potential impact of a double-digit point effort. Considering how far a single multi-point game goes in determining head-to-head league results, a 10-point effort from a single fantasy player would almost certainly lead to a matchup victory during a particular week -- especially if it came in such balanced fashion as Sittler's (6 G, 4 A).
This brings us into the discussion of which players, based on both single-game and career point-production, would be most likely to challenge Sittler's seemingly untouchable mark. While one can make a case for many players around the League as candidates to reach that plateau in one game, here are five active players who could treat their fantasy owners to such a performance for the ages.
-Since the turn of the century, only two players have scored five goals in a game: Gaborik (Dec. 2007) and Johan Franzen (Feb. 2011). Gaborik, 30, has played 75-plus games in three of his last five seasons, scoring 40-plus goals in each of those three campaigns. Operating on a line with elite playmakers in Brad Richards and Rick Nash means he's in as good a position as anyone to record a double-digit point game.
-No single player has packed more offensive punch than Vanek so far this season. While the Sabres have lacked scoring depth, Vanek has 19 points (1st in NHL) in nine games, already having posted a pair of five-point efforts -- including a hat trick on Jan. 31. He's been one of the most heralded point-producers since entering the League in 2005-06, and his single-game prowess as of late makes him a leading candidate to reel off a Sittler-like offensive showing.
-Last season, Giroux finished with 65 assists (2nd in NHL), 93 points (3rd) and 38 PPP (1st). He also posted eight games with three-plus assists last year, the most in the League. So far this season, Giroux has had to deal with injuries to Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds as well as his line's loss of Jaromir Jagr to free agency, but, with a healthy arsenal, he's among the most explosive fantasy assets in the land. And if you want to talk playoffs, he had 17 points in 10 games last spring for the Flyers.
-Crosby has not missed a game yet this season, an indication the League's most prolific point producer has recovered from the ongoing injuries that set back his career over the last two seasons. His points-per-game average over the last two seasons was over 1.6 (1st in NHL), meaning he's as dangerous as any active player from a point production standpoint. Having Evgeni Malkin to work with on the power play is also a sign that the sky is the limit for Crosby on any given night.
-A list of potential 10-point players would be incomplete without a mention of Gagner, who sent shockwaves throughout the hockey world with eight points (4 G, 4 A) on Feb. 2, 2012 against the Chicago Blackhawks -- the NHL's first such game in over 23 years. Even more shockingly, Gagner followed up that once-in-a-lifetime effort with a three-point outing two days later. This year, the 23-year-old is seeing an expanded role with the man advantage for the Oilers, the third best power-play unit in the League (28.3 percent conversion rate). If the single-game feat he accomplished last season is any indication, Gagner may just have another masterpiece in store once he reaches his prime.
Follow Pete Jensen on Twitter: @NHLJensen
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