It's not uncommon for a great scorer to also spend most of his time outside of the sin bin, making some fantasy owners interested in players purely for their penalty minutes to compensate. However, this season we have a strong crop of power forwards who can help you out in just about every offensive category. This week we'll list off ten of our favorite power forwards in the order we'd draft them:
1) Evgeni Malkin - Malkin's jump to the top echelon of players last season was really more of a hop. After establishing himself with 33 goals and 85 points in his Calder Trophy winning rookie season, Malkin's 47 goals and 106 points in 2007-08 should be seen as part of his natural progression. Look for Malkin to compete with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin for the Art Ross Trophy this season.
2) Dany Heatley - A shoulder injury cost Heatley his shot at a third consecutive 50-goal, 100-point season. However, Heatley enters 2008-09 as good a contender as any power forward to reach those milestones once more. Thanks to Ottawa's amazing trio of top line quality forwards, Heatley has also enjoyed a plus-93 plus/minus rating over the last three seasons. He's one of the rare few who can be counted on to help you in every single conventional offensive category.
3) Vincent Lecavalier - After scoring 52 goals and 108 points in 2006-07, Lecavalier was hot out of the gate last season with 66 points in 50 games before the all-star break. However, when Tampa Bay traded Vaclav Prospal and Brad Richards, Lecavalier's pace slowed down a notch and his plus/minus rating plummeted with a minus-16 rating in March. Tampa Bay finished the season dead last in the Eastern Conference, but they're attempting to breathe new life into the franchise with the selection of Steven Stamkos, the acquisitions of Ryan Malone and Radim Vrbata, and the return of Vaclav Prospal. Even if Tampa Bay suffers some injuries, Lecavalier has a good chance of playing on a strong line throughout the season. Lecavalier should make another run at both 50 goals and 100 points this season with a decent plus/minus rating on an improved Lightning team.
4) Jarome Iginla - Iginla has firmly established himself as one of the best forwards in the game over the last two seasons. He has developed into one of the most reliable goal scorers in the league with at least 30 goals in each of his last seven seasons and at least 35 goals in each of his last six campaigns. There's no reason to believe this season can't be a repeat of his last, with Iginla pushing both the 50-goal and 100-point barriers.
5) Olli Jokinen - The Phoenix Coyotes traded for Olli Jokinen in the off-season to give the team an elite center to pair up with Shane Doan. The two should do remarkably well together and Jokinen can be expected to record roughly 90 points again after dipping slightly to 71 points last season. Jokinen has played in at least 78 games in each of his last eight seasons, making him one of the best bets to have an injury-free season.
6) Marc Savard - Savard scored 97 and 96 points in the two seasons leading up to 2007-08, but he was limited to 78 points in 74 games when a fractured bone in his back forced him to miss the tail end of the season. He still managed to return in time for Boston's series against Montreal, going on to score a goal and six points in the seven game series. When healthy, Savard can be counted on for roughly a point and a penalty minute per game.
7) Rick Nash - Pop quiz: Who was the last player to have an 80-point season with the Columbus Blue Jackets? The truth is the franchise has never seen one of their own reach the 80-point plateau. So it's safe to say that Nash has never really been given the opportunity to play with a strong supporting cast of forwards. However, Columbus is aiming to change that this season with the additions of rising star R.J. Umberger and established veteran Kristian Huselius. Nash goes into every season as a candidate to score 40 goals, but this season he could also do what no Blue Jackets player has done before: score 80 points.
8) Ryan Getzlaf - Over his three season NHL career, Getzlaf has constantly improved with better points, plus/minus, and penalty minute totals each season. He was one of last season's most valuable players with 82 points and 94 penalty minutes in 77 games. Getzlaf is capable of repeating those numbers again this season while having one of the league's best plus/minus ratings on the top line of a strong Anaheim club.
9) Brenden Morrow - Morrow rebounded nicely from an injury-riddled 2006-07 season, scoring 32 goals and registering 42 assists in 82 games. He also led the Stars' in plus/minus with a plus-23 rating and he spent 105 minutes in the sin bin. Morrow isn't likely to score quite as many points as some of the other guys on this list, but could get more penalty minutes than anyone else mentioned while doing a little bit of everything else too.
10) Alexei Kovalev - After frustrating Montreal fans for two seasons with mediocre play, Kovalev finally held up his end of the bargain in 2007-08 with 84 points and 70 penalty minutes in 82 games. Montreal recently acquired Robert Lang, who has played well with Kovalev in the past. Kovalev and Lang both enjoyed career seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2000-01 with Lang getting 80-points and Kovalev setting career-highs with 44 goals scored and 95 points. The Canadiens' recent acquisition does help Kovalev, but he still remains one of the riskiest players in the game. There are enough safe bets out there that you can afford to let another fantasy team gamble on Kovalev.