Fantasy Spin: Clowe, Simmonds top point/PIM assets
We're now one week into the 2012-13 NHL season and it's very clear which players have risen to the occasion from a point-production standpoint. Between Patrick Marleau's historic goal-scoring start, Martin St. Louis' distributing prowess and Zach Parise's immediate splash with the Minnesota Wild, these names are widely recognized and owned throughout the fantasy landscape.
But while the players who have racked up goals and assists are integral pieces to a championship squad, it's also worth noting which players have provided noteworthy category coverage so far. Specifically, players who put forth a combination of points and PIMs can lift your fantasy team to new heights.
While most of the players mentioned below are owned in the majority of fantasy leagues, putting together a package to acquire these assets can be a worthwhile initiative.
NOTE: "Penalties in Minutes" is a default category in Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey Leagues
- The League-leader in PIMs may only find himself in that spot after a 35-PIM outburst Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks, but his total is far from a fluke. Clowe has been a reliable points/PIMs producer in each of the past three seasons. He's played in 75-plus in each of those campaigns, racking up an average of 55 points and 109 PIMs per season during that span. Most of the Sharks' scoring has come from the likes of Marleau, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski through five games, but Clowe remains a fixture on the team's second line -- meaning he's in great position to produce points every night.
- With Scott Hartnell (foot) expected to miss four to eight weeks, Simmonds is a shoe-in to pick up the pace on the Flyers' top line. Philly's offense has been inconsistent so far, but expect Simmonds' chemistry with Claude Giroux to grow with each coming shift. Simmonds is not afraid to drop the gloves and already has a pair of games with 10-plus PIMs this season. Considering he's also seeing 4:20 per game on the power play, there are few players with Simmonds' fantasy potential moving forward in terms of category coverage.
- Cam Atkinson could miss a week or two due to injury, so Dorsett is expected to see an expanded role as a top-six forward for the Blue Jackets with Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky. Dorsett led the NHL in PIMs last season (235) so expect him to provide some points here and there along with PIMs galore. Only owned in 22 percent of Yahoo! leagues entering the week, there's a chance in some leagues that he may be up for grabs. If your team lacks potential in the PIMs category, Dorsett could be a perfect fit on your roster. Also, after reaching double digits in goals (12) for the first time of his career last year, he could even tally seven or eight goals in this 48-game season.
- Lucic remains on the Bruins' top line with David Krejci and Nathan Horton, and touched on the PIMs column in a hurry with 12 in his team's season-opening win over the New York Rangers on Jan. 19. He's touched on multiple categories with regularity in the past as well, reaching 60-plus points and 120-plus PIMs in each of his last two seasons. With three points in four games to start the new season, Lucic appears on track to be a top-5 points/PIMs producer again when it's all said and done in 2012-13.
- Not much needs to be said about the reigning Hart Trophy winner's value, especially considering he's been as good as advertised thus far for the Penguins. Malkin has reached the 100-PIM plateau before and recorded 70 in 75 games last season. As long as he keeps producing points in droves alongside James Neal, Malkin remains the single-most coveted fantasy asset in the game today.