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      Fantasy Hockey: Random Category Standouts

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      Every Fantasy Hockey league is built differently. Some are categories, while others are points based. Some are based solely on offensive production (Goals, Assists & Points), but others dive deeper into the game sheet and include shots, hits, blocked shots, penalty minutes and shorthanded points. 

      If you are in one of those leagues, below, you’ll find players who excel in specific categories and should rise in your draft rankings as a result. 


      Shots

      Timo Meier (326 SOG) 

      Only six players across the entire NHL produced 300 or more shots in 2021-22, and only one was drafted outside the top 50 ADP. Going at an ADP of 149.7 in Yahoo leagues, Meier’s overall production took a step forward last season as he added nearly a shot per game to his previous career highs and finished third in the NHL in shots (326), shattering his previous high by 78 shots. Alongside his top-3 shot production, he provided nearly a point per game as his 35 goals and 76 points across 77 games had him tied for 25th in league goals and 42nd in points. Meier is one of few players in the NHL with 300-plus shot ability heading into 2022-23, meaning if he can duplicate his elite numbers from last year and work on increasing his average shooting percentage (10.7%) and power-play points (18), we could see him pass 40 goals for the first time in his six-year career. 

      Notable Shot leaders

      1st – Auston Matthews (348), 2nd – Alex Ovechkin (334), 4th – Kyle Connor (317), 5th – Connor McDavid (314), 12th – Roman Josi (281)

      Hits and PIMs

      Tanner Jeannot (318 Hits – 130 PIMs)

      With banger leagues becoming the fantasy norm for standard scoring, hits are gaining more value year after year. Jeannot, a 24-year-old rookie, finished his impressive first campaign with Nashville second only to Radko Gudas in hits across the entire NHL. This made him a sneaky category stealer, beating the next highest ownable forward (Brady Tkachuk) by 48 hits. Jeannot’s physicality translated into an impressive third rank in Penalties (130 PIM) fueled by his league-leading 14 fighting majors. Unlike the two names ahead of him in PIMS (Mark Borowiecki and Pat Maroon), Jeannot contributes in other fantasy categories as he led all rookie skaters with 24 goals on the back of an incredibly high 19.4 SH%. He enters the 2021-22 season looking to build off his seventh-place Calder trophy finish and hoping he can earn more minutes to help offset the regression coming for his SH%. Regardless, he’s one of the select few players capable of recording 275-plus hits and 30-plus points.   

      Notable Hit leaders: 

      1st – Radko Gudas (355), 4th – Like Schenn (273), 5th – Brady Tkachuk (270), 12th – Tom Wilson (240)

      Notable PIM leaders: 

      2nd – Brady Tkachuk (117), 4th – Marcus Foligno (112)

      Shorthanded Goals & Points 

      Trevor Moore (5 SHG, 6 SHP)

      Moore enjoyed a breakout season in 2021-22, collecting 17 goals and 48 points while breaking 200 shots on goal (202) for the first time in his career. Where Moore truly shined was when the Kings found themselves down a man. Leading all NHL players in both shorthanded goals (5) and shorthanded points (6), Moore made an elite play in leagues that keep either of the seldom used stats. Add in a plus-20 rating, along with his 41 points (14G / 27A) through the final 49 games of the season, and Moore made a viable streaming option in the season’s second half in any fantasy league. 

      Notable SHG leaders: 

      5th – Aleksander Barkov (4), 7th – Mitchell Marner (3), Roope Hintz (3), Kyle Connor (3), Jonathan Huberdeau (3), Chris Kreider (3)

      Faceoff Wins 

      Patrice Bergeron (991 FOW)

      Not only did Bergeron finish 2021-22 just under a point per game and eighth in the NHL in shots, but he also led the league in faceoff wins by a significant margin. Bergeron’s dominance in the faceoff circle granted him 91 more draw wins than the next highest contributor in St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly (900). It is the third straight season where Bergeron has finished in the league’s top-five in faceoff wins; he also led the league in 2020-21. Look for the Boston star to be a strong contributor in leagues that account for faceoff wins, as he makes a great fantasy asset in almost all other categories across the board. There is no reason Bergeron shouldn’t reclaim his faceoff title for the third straight season as he enters his 19th NHL season. 

      Notable Faceoff Win Leaders:  

      2nd – Ryan O’Reilly (900), 3rd – Leon Draisaitl (887), 4th – Anze Kopitar (858), 5th – Elias Lindholm (843), 10th – Sidney Crosby (760)

      Plus/Minus (Defensemen)

      Devon Toews (+52)

      Toews took a giant leap forward in 2021-22 in almost all statistical categories throughout fantasy hockey, but none stood out more than his ridiculously high plus-52 rating. It ranked him first among all defensemen and plus-4 better than the next highest defender, his partner, Cale Makar. The legendary season is the 49th best plus/minus season ever for a defenseman since the stat started being tracked by all teams in 1967-68. Considering where Toews was drafted a season ago, the elite plus/minus paired with his ninth-ranked goal (13) and point production (57) among defensemen made Toews one of the biggest steals of any fantasy draft last season. Look for him to produce similarly high plus/minus and point production as he builds off a fantastic second season in Colorado and cements himself as a league top-15 defenseman. 

      Notable plus/minus leaders (Defensemen):

      2nd – Cale Makar (+48), 3rd – Gustav Forsling (+41), 4th – Justin Faulk (+41), 5th – Alex Goligoski

      Goals Against Average (GAA)

      Frederik Andersen (2.17 GAA)

      We have often expressed that goalies are voodoo, and what better way to acknowledge that statement than through Frederik Andersen’s comeback season with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2021-22. Fresh off two sub-par years in Toronto, where he failed to post a GAA below 2.85, and a save percentage higher than .910 % (in 76 total GP). Andersen’s 2.17 GAA with the Hurricanes was second to only Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin for best in the league, making him an elite selection when looking to win that category. Add in that he was seventh in league wins (35), third in save percentage (.922), and sixth in shutouts (4), and Andersen very well may have been the most valuable fantasy goaltender in terms of average draft position in 2021-22. 

      Notable Goals Against Average (GAA) leaders: 

      1st – Igor Shesterkin (2.07), 3rd – Jacob Markstrom (2.22), 4th – Ilya Sorokin (2.40), 5th – Jeremy Swayman (2.41)

      Saves

      Connor Hellebuyck (1962 Total Saves)

      Being the NHLs model of a goaltending workhouse can sometimes lead to negative repercussions in fantasy hockey. Overworking can often cause goalies to burn out throughout an entire season if the workload proves too heavy. Luckily, if you play in points leagues, that over-working is the exact thing you are looking for. Hellebuyck has started over 79 percent of Winnipeg’s regular season games over the last five years. The Canadian netminder finished with the second most games played of any goalie in the NHL in 2022 (66) on the way to leading all goalies with a whopping 1962 total saves. Hellebuyck faced 188 more shots than Thatcher Demko, who ranked third in Shots Against, proving how busy the Jets’ veteran was. The rest of Hellebuyck’s 2021-22 will go down as rather average as his .910 SV% had him ranked 25th among all goalies and his 29 wins placed him 13th. Considering the 29-year-old was getting peppered every night, owners will take what they could get as he made an elite points league play. Expect another season of heavy usage and heavy save totals. 

      Notable Save (Svs) leaders:

      2nd – Juuse Saros (1934), 3rd – Thatcher Demko (1799), 4th – Elvis Merzlikins (1742), 5th – Andrei Vasilevskiy (1712)

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