In this Boxing Day issue of the Independent Sports News Fantasy Hockey Report, it is fitting to take a look at some of the best hockey players who could be the best boxers in the National Hockey League, and if there could be a legitimate place for them on your fantasy hockey team.
Antoine Roussel of the Dallas Stars has a NHL high 87 penalty minutes in 34 games and has some offensive skill as well. The native of Roubaix, France also has some offensive skill as he has 17 points (fifth on the Stars) and 41 shots on goal. Roussel is currently day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, but you will definitely get penalty minutes from the left winger. Prior to this season, Roussel has reached well over 100 penalty minutes in each of the last three seasons—209 penalty minutes in 2013-14, 148 penalty minutes in 2014-15 and 123 penalty minutes in 2015-16.
In Calgary, Matthew Tkachuk clearly learned the physical side of the game well from his dad Keith. So far this season, Tkachuk has 62 penalty minutes in 32 games as a rookie, and has fought Joseph Cramarossa of the Anaheim Ducks and Alexander Wennberg of the Columbus Blue Jackets. However also just like his father, Matthew has some offensive skill that Flames fans should be excited about. He has 19 points, a +6, four power play points and 59 shots on goal. Those are all very respectable numbers for a player in his first three months in the NHL.
While in Philadelphia, Wayne Simmonds has continued to combine offense and physicality to become one of hockey’s elite power forwards. So far this season, Simmonds has 60 penalty minutes in 36 games, and has displayed consistent offensive skills as well. He has 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points and 94 shots on goal.
This past week six players had five points each to lead the NHL. Three of the players play for the Minnesota Wild—Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle. All three Wild forwards have benefits to fantasy hockey because they play multiple forward positions. Meanwhile, Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings, Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins also had five points. Jagr now has 1889 career points and has passed Mark Messier into second place all-time in NHL scoring.
In NHL injury news, players who went on the injury reserve this past week were Tyler Pitlick of the Edmonton Oilers, Jacob Josefson of the New Jersey Devils, Paul Stastny of the St. Louis Blues and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Pitlick is out for the year with a torn ACL, Josefson is out with a concussion, Stastny has an upper body injury and Bishop has a lower body injury. Of the four, the loss of Bishop hurts fantasy owners the most as he plays the position of goaltender.
Finally, looking ahead to the week in weekly leagues, choose Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks, and avoid the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues. The Capitals and Ducks play four times each, and the Oilers and Blues only play twice each. The best Capitals are Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and the best Ducks are Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf.