Multicategory performance should be the biggest draft day decider when selecting players. If one player can hit multiple categories at a top level, that player should be ranked higher and targeted to be a fantasy all-star for your team.
Here are some of the best category coverage assets that you should aim for to help your fantasy championship dreams come alive.
Corey Perry, RW, Anaheim Ducks
FANTASY HOCKEY ANALYSIS
The 2014-15 NHL season is drawing closer by the day, so NHL.com has you covered with all the fantasy hockey advice you'll need come draft day.
Corey Perry is the king of category coverage and will continue to reign supreme. In the past four seasons, he has the second-most goals (145), fifth-most points (276), 10th-most penalty minutes (368) and is 22nd in plus-minus (plus-44). The 2013-14 season saw a dip in his penalty minutes (65), but a big leap in plus-minus (plus-32). If we look at his other categories, he has the most game-winning goals (20), 10th-most shots (685) and is tied for 10th-most power-play goals (27) in the past three seasons. One of the best category coverage assets in fantasy hockey history, he will be one of the first six players taken in drafts.
Wayne Simmonds, RW, Philadelphia Flyers
Only one player in the NHL had 100-plus penalty minutes, 20-plus goals, 60-plus points and 15-plus power-play goals, and that was Simmonds. The 26-year-old has always flirted with being dominant in category coverage, with 93 points and 264 penalty minutes in his first 240 games while playing for the Los Angeles Kings. Since his trade to Philadelphia, he has developed into a fantasy category hog, seeing his goals per game average rise from 0.16 to 0.34, points per game from 0.39 to 0.67 and penalty minutes per game from 1.10 to 1.44. In his past three seasons in Philadelphia, only Alex Ovechkin (53) and James Neal (38) have more power-play goals than Simmonds (32).
David Backes, C, St. Louis Blues
The dependable Backes, who has played in 97.6 percent of the Blues' games in the past six seasons (447 of 458 games), continues to show fantasy owners he is one of the best category hogs in the NHL. Backes has four seasons with 20-plus goals, 50-plus points and 100-plus penalty minutes. The Blues captain is one of the best two-way forwards in the League; his career 48.4 percent faceoff win percentage makes him valuable in fantasy leagues that count faceoffs. If your league counts hits, his value rises even more, as he has 1,672 in his career.
Brandon Dubinsky, C, Columbus Blue Jackets
Center - CBJ
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 34 | PTS: 50
SOG: 189 | +/-: 5
The fantasy hockey world took notice of Dubinsky when he shut down Pittsburgh Penguins
center Sidney Crosby
during the Blue Jackets' run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. The 28-year-old is now primed to show his production while playing a two-way game can equal fantasy hockey success in multiple categories. Dubinsky comes off his second 50-plus point season and was one minor penalty (98 penalty minutes) away from his fourth season with 100-plus. He is plus-31 for his career, and in deeper category leagues he has 505 hits and 379 shots on goal in the past three seasons.
Antoine Roussel, LW, Dallas Stars
The next wave of category hogs is led by the Roussel, 24, who finished third in the League with 209 penalty minutes to go with his 14 goals and 29 points. He combined with another category coverage asset, Ryan Garbutt (32 points and 106 penalty minutes), and center Cody Eakin to form a dynamic line for Stars coach Lindy Ruff. With the addition of center Jason Spezza and left wing Ales Hemsky, this trio is expected to take on third-line minutes. This should not affect Roussel’s fantasy impact as he will still see plenty of ice time. His 135:42 total shorthanded minutes played was the second-most by a Stars forward. We have only scratched the surface of the talent who had 11 points in eight games for his home country of France in the 2014 IIHF World Championship.
Other Category Coverage Targets: Milan Lucic (Boston Bruins), David Perron (Edmonton Oilers), Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets), Scott Hartnell (Columbus Blue Jackets), Patrick Maroon (Anaheim Ducks)