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Five-tool forwards: The all-round studs

by Matt Cubeta
Just like in baseball, hockey has that five-tool label on players. These are the forwards that help you in just about every offensive statistic. While in most standard fantasy hockey leagues there are six offensive categories, we're still going to refer to these skaters as "five-tool" players, because let's face it, it's nearly impossible to be a stud in every category. Each player listed below is a forward that produces at a high rate in at least five of the six offensive categories -- some of them are valuable in all six.

This list doesn't include the superstars like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. While these three guys do produce in every offensive category, we all know they should be drafted in the top five of every league. They aren't undervalued and they aren't sleepers. They are obvious.

These players aren't the "sexy" names, but nonetheless, they are guys that will give you value in five offensive categories. Some of them can be drafted in the early rounds, but most of them will fall somewhere in the middle rounds of your draft. Regardless, you should be extremely grateful to have any of these five-tool players on your squad.

In order of preference:

1. Ryan Getzlaf (C), Corey Perry (RW) and Bobby Ryan (RW), Ducks
All three Anaheim players finished in our top-35 overall rankings, and all three of them produce in every fantasy category. These guys are the cream of the crop. You can't go wrong with any of them, and if you do get lucky enough to land one, you should try and pair him up with one of the other two (having talented linemates like these three players is fantasy gold). Getzlaf is the most gifted player of the bunch, but the fact that he missed some time due to injury last season has decreased his value heading into drafts. Don't be fooled, though, he is a fantasy beast annually. Corey Perry has a nasty side to his game and has recorded over 100 PIMs in each of the last three seasons, while scoring at an extremely high rate. The third piece to this puzzle is the youngest of the core -- Bobby Ryan. Ryan will likely play on the left wing of this line, and while his 81 PIMs from last season were a bit of an anomaly, he still plays with a definite edge.

2009 Statistics:
Ryan Getzlaf -- 66 GP, 19 G, 50 A, +4, 79 PIMs, 22 PPP, 149 SOG
Corey Perry -- 82 GP, 27 G, 49 A, even rating, 111 PIMs, 23 PPP, 270 SOG
Bobby Ryan -- 81 GP, 35 G, 29 A, +9, 81 PIMs, 21 PPP, 258 SOG

2. Mike Richards, C, Flyers
While Richards regressed a bit in points last season, he is still a tremendous overall fantasy player. He's recorded 63-plus PIMs in four of five NHL seasons (52 PIMs in just 59 games in the other season) and 212-plus shots in the last three seasons. Two years ago he finished the season with an unbelievable stat line: 30 goals, 80 points, plus-22, 63 PIMs, 33 PPP and 238 SOG. The Flyers captain is just 25 years old and is not afraid to drop the gloves when needed -- he got into four fights last year. After the three ducks, he's our next highest ranked player at No. 40.

2009 Statistics: 82 GP, 31 G, 31 A, -2, 79 PIMs, 31 PPP, 237 SOG

3. Alexandre Burrows (LW) and Ryan Kesler (C), Canucks
Another deadly team combination, Burrows and Kesler are two very interesting players. Burrows is probably the best overall five-tool player on this entire list, but the fact that he's out until November, or possibly even December, with a shoulder injury diminishes his value a bit. His season last year had him ranked in the top 20 among skaters in almost every fantasy league, and playing on a line with the Sedins, you can expect similar production when he returns to the ice. The only category Burrows doesn't produce in is power-play points, but still, it's hard to argue his improving statistics each year. Kesler set a career high with 75 points and 104 PIMs last season, making him a true fantasy five-tool player. He's known to be a scrappy guy, but it's probably safe to hope for 70-plus PIMs, as his 104 last year were far and away a career high. Kesler showcased his talent in the 2010 Winter Olympics, so expect him to get drafted fairly early in most drafts.

2009 Statistics:
Alexandre Burrows -- 82 GP, 35 G, 32 A, +34, 121 PIMs, 6 PPP, 209 SOG
Ryan Kesler -- 82 GP, 25 G, 50 A, +1, 104 PIMs, 26 PPP, 214 SOG

4. Chris Stewart, RW, Avalanche
Stewart was one of the biggest waiver-wire pick ups last year and finished the season with incredible overall numbers. The former first-round draft choice is expecting even bigger things this season and could end up being a steal if you draft him in the fifth round or later. Some people might say they don't buy into the youngster and don't trust him after just the one good season. But believe the hype, this kid is fantasy gold. Not only does he have the ability to score plenty of goals, but he also dropped the gloves seven times last season and eight times the season before. He'll likely be paired up with Paul Stastny and on the team's top power-play unit, so look for Stewart to improve on his breakout season.

2009 Statistics: 77 GP, 28 G, 36 A, +4, 73 PIMs, 13 PPP, 221 SOG

5. Scott Hartnell, LW, Flyers
Another tough guy Flyer, Hartnell is coming off a forgettable season. While his 155 PIMs made him valuable, the left wing finished with just 14 goals and 44 points. However, 8 of his 14 goals came on the power play, and it's expected Hartnell will continue to be placed in front of the net with the man advantage going forward. Don't forget that Hartnell had 30 goals, 30 assists and 143 PIMs just two seasons ago. We've got him ranked 69th overall this season, but if Hartnell is able to put up statistics like he did two years ago, you could have yourself an unbelievable middle-round draft pick.

2009 Statistics: 81 GP, 14 G, 30 A, -6, 155 PIMs, 14 PPP, 171 SOG

6. Brenden Morrow (LW) and Steve Ott (C), Stars
Like Hartnell, Morrow had a down season, but don't sleep on the veteran forward as he could be in line for a solid bounce-back season. Back in 2007-08, Morrow put together an exceptional season, finishing with 32 goals, 74 points and 105 PIMs. In 2008-09 he only played in 18 games, and then last season, Morrow totaled just 46 points and 69 PIMs in 76 contests. Morrow still sees plenty of ice time with elite playmakers like Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro, so the opportunities should be there. At 31 years old, Morrow still has what it takes to scrap and he plays as hard as anyone. His teammate, Ott, is as hated as anyone in the league. Ott is an agitator, but don't be misled, he has a bit of ability as well. Ott has recorded 135-plus PIMs in five of the last six seasons (the only one he didn't record that many in was when he was hurt and only appeared in 19 games) and set a career-high with 22 goals last year. While his plus/minus won't do you any good, Ott will give you plenty of PIMs while chipping in the occasional power-play goal.

2009 Statistics:
Brenden Morrow -- 76 GP, 20 G, 26 A, -3, 69 PIMs, 19 PPP, 155 SOG
Steve Ott -- 73 GP, 22 G, 14 A, -14, 153 PIMs, 11 PPP, 146 SOG

7. Rene Bourque, RW, Flames
While Bourque will almost certainly not find any time on Calgary's top offensive line, he brings tons of energy and grit to the Flames' second line. Bourque will likely line up with a combination of Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman or Mikael Backlund, and he should be able to build off his 58-point season. Bourque isn't known for his fighting abilities, but he sure does take a lot of minor penalties, which resulted in 88 PIMs last year. Bourque is an improving player that has increased his goals, assists, penalty minutes and shots on goal in each of the last four seasons. Look for the 28-year-old to score 30 goals and approach the 100 penalty minute range this coming season.

2009 Statistics: 73 GP, 27 G, 31 A, +7, 88 PIMs, 13 PPP, 215 SOG


G-A-P: 17-31-48
+/-: -4 | PIM: 106 | PP: 5

8. David Backes, RW, Blues
Another player looking to bounce back after a relatively quiet season, Backes could be a cheap find in the middle to late rounds this year. After breaking out in 2008-09 with 31 goals and 165 PIMs, Backes regressed to just 17 goals and 106 PIMs while appearing in nearly every game. Then again, the entire Blues team took a bit of a step back last season after making the playoffs the previous one. Backes got into five fights last year and is starting to gain a small reputation as a goal-scoring scrapper. Expect the Blues to improve again, with Backes being one of the major reasons.

2009 Statistics: 79 GP, 17 G, 31 A, -4, 106 PIMs, 8 PPP, 163 SOG

9. Steve Downie, RW, Lightning
Downie is the most unlikely name on this list, but he's also the player that produced the most penalty minutes of any of these players, at 208. While everyone expects the PIMs, Downie's 22 goals and 46 points are what shocked the world -- you can thank his linemates, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, for that. This all came after being on the verge of staying down in the minors, as he finished with just 6 points in 23 contests for the Lightning in 2008-09. Downie is expected to line up with the same two superstars and he should see a decent amount of power-play ice time. The only category he doesn't chip in too much is shots on goal, but you should still be plenty happy with Downie's overall production.

2009 Statistics: 79 GP, 22 G, 24 A, +14, 208 PIMs, 11 PPP, 116 SOG

10. Ryane Clowe, LW, Sharks
The tough San Jose left winger was tied with Steve Ott on this list for most fights last season with 11. The difference between the two players is that Clowe possesses a lot more skill. Two seasons ago Clowe recorded 22 goals and 52 points in 71 contests. He followed that with 19 goals and a career-high 57 points last season, while establishing a new high with 131 PIMs. Clowe will likely be on the wing with Joe Pavelski at center, which should result in another 50 point season from the 27-year-old forward. While his power-play goals dropped from 11 back in 2008-09 to just two last season, Clowe should continue to see a decent amount of PP ice time. Don't sleep on the San Jose power forward; he should have a solid five-tool season.

2009 Statistics: 82 GP, 19 G, 38 A, even rating, 131 PIMs, 15 PPP, 189 SOG

Other five-tool forwards to keep an eye on: Wayne Simmonds (LAK), Daniel Carcillo (PHI), Sean Avery (NYR), David Clarkson (NJD), Milan Lucic (BOS), Todd Bertuzzi (DET), James Neal (DAL), Bill Guerin (PHI), Matt Cooke (PIT), Martin Hanzal (PHX)

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