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Draft Guide

Enforcers Tier

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

This is the fifth season that we are ranking the top penalty-minute producers in tiers for the upcoming campaign. As always, we remind you that it's always better to get your PIMs from forwards who can also score (Steve Downie, Evander Kane, Milan Lucic, Scott Hartnell, Mike Richards) and offensive-minded defensemen (Zdeno Chara, Dion Phaneuf, P.K. Subban, Kevin Bieksa). Another successful strategy is to draft a defenseman enforcer which is far less damaging to your team’s offense than tying up a forward slot by choosing a winger or center sin bin regular. Unfortunately, there are very few rearguard enforcers in the NHL (Radko Gudas, Matt Carkner, Mark Fraser, Brenden Dillon).  

Now on to the prime penalty-minute producers in the game today:


Tier One (Derek Dorsett)


Dorsett will go back to the top of the class this season after an injury-plagued campaign with the Rangers in which he managed to play only 51 games. After being traded to the Canucks, Dorsett will have a lot to prove and should be the only NHLer over the 225 penalty minute mark.


Tier Two (Antoine Roussel, Chris Neil, Brandon Prust)

The second tier of enforcers should all get over 200 penalty minutes, but just barely. Roussel, Prust and Neil will all chip in with some points to make them even more valuable in fantasy pools.


Tier Three (Richard Clune, Tom Sestito, Radko Gudas)

The third group should get between 175-200 minutes in the sin bin. We see our first defenseman (Gudas) on the list. Defensemen used to be a prime source of minutes but that has not happened in recent times as it is the fourth line forwards that tend to populate this list. Clune and Sestito are good examples of this as they are one category players.


Tier Four (Steve Downie, Zac Rinaldo, Mike Brown, Jared Boll)


We are now looking at the 145-170 penalty minute range. Downie will have a huge advantage over the rest as his point totals should be close to 40 while Rinaldo, Brown and Boll are more of the classic enforcers.


Tier Five (Tom Wilson, Cody McLeod, Tim Jackman, Matt Carkner, Ryan Reaves, Shawn Thornton, Scott Hartnell, Dion Phaneuf)


Scott Hartnell is the top scorer by far in this group but Tom Wilson could surprise if he is on one of the top two lines in Washington as this tier should be in the 125-145 penalty minute range. Phaneuf and Carkner are the only two blueliners here with Phaneuf being far superior as he should get in the 35 point range while Carkner will only get five points at best. McLeod should be in the 15 point range while Jackman, Reaves and Thornton will be lucky to get 10.


Tier Six (Luke Gazdic, Jarred Tinordi, David Backes, Ryane Clowe, Matt Hendricks, Erik Gudbranson, Cody McCormick, P.K. Subban, B.J. Crombeen, Brandon Dubinsky, Evander Kane, Ryan Garbutt, Wayne Simmonds, Andrew Desjardins, Patrick Bordeleau, Mark Fraser, Eric Boulton, Zack Kassian, Brandon Bollig, Zack Smith, Milan Lucic, Kyle Clifford, Brenden Dillon, Steve Ott, Patrick Maroon, Jay Rosehill, Ladislav Smid)


The last tier should have players picking up 100-125 penalty minutes. Once again, players who are going to score as well as pick up minutes (Backes, Subban, Simmonds, Dubinsky, Kane and Lucic) should go relatively high in most pools.  Look for offensive rewards from Clowe, Garbutt, Kassian, Smith, Ott and Maroon. Corey Perry fell just short of the 100 penalty minute mark.

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 16th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.