This is the seventh season that we are ranking the top penalty-minute producers in tiers for the upcoming campaign. Times have changed as fights are down making it harder for a player to hit the 100-minute mark. As always, we remind you that it's always better to get your PIMs from forwards who can also score (Wayne Simmonds, Scott Hartnell, and Brad Marchand) and offensive-minded defensemen (P.K. Subban and Dustin Byfuglien). 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, Mark Borowiecki, Dalton Prout etc). Now on to the prime penalty-minute producers in the game today:
Dorsett and Wilson should lead the way this season in the penalty minute category. Both can get 15-20 points but 10-15 is more likely. The duo led the NHL in minutes last season and should continue to do so this season as well. Look for 175-plus minutes in the sin bin from both.
As stated earlier, penalty minutes have really dropped of late so the second grouping should garner between 140-165 minutes. Neil used to be able to pick up 20-plus points, and has done so five times in his career but he has not hit the 20-point mark in his last four seasons. McLeod is a consistent 11-13 point performer while Kassian could be the best of this bunch if he is able to play a full season as he is capable of 20-30 points in a full campaign. Gudas is the top defenseman as far as minutes are concerned. He has some offensive capabilities with 14 points but he had one huge game with a couple of goals and a pair of helpers to bulk up his seasonal stats.
The third tier should mange 130-139 minutes. Simmonds is a stud as he should hit the 30 goal mark while chipping in over 20 assists. Roussel has neared the 30 point mark the last two seasons and should give you similar numbers this year. Matt Martin is a stud in the hits department (if you play that category) and should get 10-15 points in a regular season. Bollig is in the same range as Martin as far as points is concerned
The fourth tier should get you 110-129 penalty minutes. As in the previous tier, there are some very good fantasy players and some who contribute only in this category. The top three of Byfuglien, Hartnell and Abdelkader certainly will help out offensively. Byfuglien is especially capable of scoring as the blueliner has had 56, 45 and 53 points in his last three seasons with 100-plus minutes in each of the last two. Hartnell can help out across the board in fantasy hockey but has been good with his plus-minus only once in his last four seasons. Abdelkader has had 40-plus points in each of his last two seasons and expect more of the same this season. Shaw will chip in with 35-40 points in Montreal this season and could see first power play time, the same as he did with the Blackhawks in 2015-16. Thornton, Cracknell and Borowiecki are strictly penalty minute players who chip in occasionally with a point or two. Borowiecki plays on the blueline and that should help his fantasy value.
Tier five gives you players who should get 100-110 penalty minutes. There are a couple of studs in this group with Subban being a top defenseman in fantasy hockey while Marchand had a breakout scoring season in 2015-16 with 37 goals. Maroon really showed some offensive prowess when he was dealt to Edmonton at the trade deadline with 14 points in 16 games but we doubt he can continue at that pace. He is also moving down the depth chart with the off-season signing of Milan Lucic. Bieksa used to be a fantasy stud but those days are long gone as he is a mediocre offensive player at this time. The remainder are just penalty minute players as far as fantasy hockey is concerned with McNabb being a possible breakout candidate on the blueline.
The last tier should have players picking up 90-100 penalty minutes. Lucic and Jenner will certainly pick up plenty of points while Trouba on the blueline is capable of doing some offensive damage. Weise can also score but the remainder have one use in fantasy hockey and that is in this category.