Matt Martin is still a stud when it comes to hits, but there are plenty of new faces when it comes to hits and blocked shots. Meanwhile, many of the guys you used to be able to count on have been faltering.
Below we look at 10 players whose peripheral stats are out of whack compared to last year.
10. Dmitrij Jaskin
It’s always fun when a player you had almost given up on has a rebound season. Jaskin’s hits per game average had fallen every year coming into this season.
2014-15: 2.7 hits per game
2015-16: 1.94 hits per game
2016-17: 1.92 hits per game
2017-18: 3.2 hits per game
His ice time has also been slowly decreasing over those four years as well, so maybe he figures he needs to show more of a presence on the ice to keep his spot in the lineup. Whatever the reason, fantasy general managers aren’t complaining.
9. Joel Edmundson
You can chalk part of Edmundson’s increase in blocked shots to a significant increase in ice time. In his three seasons in the NHL, his ice time has gone from 14:56 to 17:46 to 19:51. At the same time, he’s also seen an increase in blocked shots per game (from 0.9 to 1.4 to 2.8). This year’s mark of 2.8 is tied for third-highest in the league.
Provorov is looking at other ways to make an impact for the Flyers considering he’s not used in a solely offensive role. His 2.9 blocked shots per game is up from 2.0 a year ago, and his 2.0 hits per game is up from 1.4 last year. He had 10 blocked shots in a game against the Blues last week, which tied a Flyers record, and probably was the difference in many head-to-head matchups.
Last year, I managed to win a head-to-head league (we only start three defensemen per game) by streaming Radko Gudas, Dion Phaneuf and Borowiecki for the second half of the season. Last year, Borowiecki managed an impressive 5.2 hits per game. That’s a record for anyone playing at least 41 games since the NHL started keeping track of the stat. His career average is 4.3 hits per game, second only to Matt Martin all time. This year, that hits number is down to 3.1. It hasn’t helped that he’s been limited to nine games because of an undisclosed illness.
6. Dustin Brown
It’s not just an uptick in points that is making Brown fantasy relevant again. He’s averaging 3.1 hits per game compared to 2.4 last year. His five-year average before this year is 2.87, so maybe we shouldn’t be that surprised to see an increase. It helps that Brown is averaging an extra four minutes per game compared to last year.
Martinez has never been a block machine, even when playing 21-plus minutes the previous two season. He reached 2.33 blocked shots per game in 2015-16, but his career averaged 1.67 going into this campaign. Martinez went into last night’s game averaging 3.5 blocked shots a game, double his career average. Not only is that a significant increase over his 2.0 blocked shots per game a year ago, it leads the league among players who have played at least eight games.
4. Adam Larsson
It’s a bit shocking that Adam Larsson has morphed into the NHL’s hits leader at 4.3 hits per game (before last night’s game). In New Jersey, he never reached two hits per game (though he did get to 1.99 hits per game in 2015-16) and he had a career 1.56 hits per game in New Jersey. Last year he put up 3.2 hits per game. In a little more than a season, he’s more than doubled his hits per game average.
3. PIMs way up
I’m lumping all the PIM players into this one number or else the list would only be focused on PIM. Last season, only three guys who played at least 41 games averaged higher than 2 PIM per game (Cody McLeod led at 2:27). This year, there are 12 guys who have played eight games (also about half the season) who are above 2 PIM per game. Six players are above 3 PIM per game, and McLeod is tops at 4:36 PIM per game. Most interesting about this stat is that fighting is still declining. There is an average of 0.24 fights per game this year, according to Hockeyfights.com. That’s below 0.30 per game from last year and is the lowest the website has on record back to the 2000-01 campaign.
2. Shea Weber
As the Canadiens have struggled most of the year on offense and defense, it’s good to know there are still some absolutes. Weber has always been a stud when it comes to hits and blocked shots and you know you’re going to get around 150 hits and 150 blocked shots. This year, he’s been taking it to the next level with 44 hits and 41 blocked shots through 17 games. That’s a pace of 212 hits and 198 blocked shots, both of which would be career highs. Weber and Brooks Orpik are the only players averaging 2.6 hits and 2.4 blocked shots per game.
1. Radko Gudas
Gudas was considered elite in peripheral categories going into this season. In my one-year pool I talked about earlier (it includes PIM, blocked shots and hits), I selected Gudas in the 13th round. I’ve had to drop him as he wasn’t doing much. He came into the season with a career average of 3.94 hits and 1.9 blocked shots per game. This year he’s at 2.2 hits per game and 1.3 blocked shots. That’s not bad but you can get better value from rookie teammate Robert Hagg. The only good thing is he is averaging 2.8 PIM per game, up from a career average of 1.61.
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