Brett Lockwood

In The Crease

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The Penalty Minute Factor

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The Konopka Factor: How PIMs Have Affected the Way We Play Fantasy Hockey.

Before the season started, when you glanced at your league categories, did anything stand out? If you said penalty minutes you wouldn't be alone in your reaction. Before any draft, one should determine if PIMs are to be a category in your hockey pool because they play a much bigger role than one would think. PIMs completely change the way fantasy hockey is played. In what other league is Colton Orr or Sean Avery valuable? Orr isn't even respected by his own NHL team, never mind poolies. The PIMs category is basically reserved for enforcers or pests, and there are certain players (some of whom you've never heard of) who could make or break your fantasy year.

Hands up if you know that Zenon Konopka leads the NHL in PIMs. If you are in a standard league, that includes PIMs, owning a guy like Konopka can do wonders. Wait, you say, why would I draft a guy who doesn't register points and sits at a horrid minus-nine for the season? Consider this: you are near the top of every single scoring category but are in dead last in PIMs. Some would say there's no way you should trade talent for a guy who will spend most of his days in the sin bin. I say, it can be the right move and here is why.

Imagine you are in a league with five offensive categories (G, A, +/-, PPP, PIMs) and five goalie categories. You have an incredible wealth of talent up front, propelling you to the top of goals, assists, and power play points. The one category that is holding you back is PIMs. Do you take from the incredible talent pool and dish it out to recover your PIMs deficiency? I am in a situation much like this one in an Eastern Conference Only league. When I scour the waiver wire, I see there's no one within 115 PIMs of Konopka. I sit last in PIMs but have a nice offense up front. I decided to take action and ship off Phil Kessel (19 goals, 12 assists, 21 PPP, minus-15 rating, 10 PIMS), Bryan Allen, and Nick Foligno for Michael Rupp, Deryk Engelland, and Travis Zajac. While most would say this is not a wise move as Kessel is a potential superstar and I am trading for a bunch of enforcers, it is essential to dig deeper into the trade. While the key to the deal is adding Rupp's and Engelland's PIMs to my team, I have covered off a little of the scoring loss I may experience by snagging the undervalued Travis Zajac. When making a deal to shore up a deficiency on your roster, it is imperative to scoop up an under appreciated gem such as Zajac, who registered 67 points a few seasons ago. If you are going to trade a superstar for PIMs, always make sure to request that extra piece that could even up some value.

A few teams per league always flail in the PIMs category. There is no shame in making deals that can help you snatch some valuable points. As we approach the midway mark in the season, time is running out to plug your roster's holes. Be a daredevil and go for the championship folks!

The deal I made last week was a no-brainer for me. I lost one of my biggest goal scoring threats, but take a look at the numbers. I lost 16 goals from my squad (assuming Zajac stays at his current level, which is unlikely, seeing as he looks on the verge of erupting). Meanwhile, there was virtually no loss in assists. I gain heavily in +/- (plus-19 difference) and gain significantly in PIMs (add over 100 PIMs to my side). While looking at the deal prima facie, it is easy to criticize my choices. Kessel for a few enforcers? But looking at the trade as a whole, it is suddenly OK to deal the best player in the trade. Isn't it strange how much PIMs effect the game we play?

***Did You Know?***

In 1974-75 Dave Schultz led the league with 472 PIMs. This still stands as the record for most penalty minutes in one season. Schultz also sits fourth on the list, with 405 PIMs in the 1977-78 season.




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