FHL: The Newest Black-n-Blueshirt

Updated: February 7, 2007, 4:10 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com
If there's anything I've been missing since the NHL's return from the season-long lockout in 2004-05, it's the importance of the enforcer. Whatever you want to call them, enforcers, goons, thugs, maybe all-around jerks -- I'm guessing these owners play in leagues that penalize penalty minutes -- these players haven't been nearly as critical to the composition of a roster in the "newer, faster" NHL of today.

That's a shame, really, considering the inclusion of penalty minutes is one of the more interesting aspects of fantasy hockey. These days, it doesn't take nearly as much to fill that category as it did, say, a decade ago, and it's no longer imperative that you pick up at least one enforcer in order to stay competitive enough in PIMs.

In addition, the few true enforcers remaining don't do enough in the other categories to warrant using on a regular basis, especially not when you could instead spot in two or three 60- or 70-point performers with 100-PIM ability. But in spite of that, there are still a few, key PIM specialists, and on Monday, one of them, Sean Avery, became a New York Ranger.

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