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Slappers and Bangers: 18 Multi-Cat Forwards for 2023-24 Fantasy Hockey

Everyone scours rankings and depth charts looking for the next Alexander Ovechkin. You know, the player that does it all – produces a point per game and provides three hundred shots and two hundred hits. Until recently, Ovechkin owned the multi-cat forwards pond. No one provided the complete category coverage he did.

Well, he has company now. A new fantasy multi-cat stud has emerged, Brady Tkachuk. He broke out in a big way last year with 83 points, besting his previous career best by 16. He also dropped a tidy 347 shots and 242 hits.

Players like this are few and far between. Especially the ones that add the scoring to massive hit totals.

Everyone already knows about Brady Tkachuk and Ovechkin, so we won’t be discussing them here.

Below, we’ll pull out some multi-cat forwards who might surprise you with their totals from last year. I’ve opted for the quick-hit approach for this first article.  As the draft approaches, more names to consider is more important than a deeper dive into two or three.

It also seemed fitting if the first article matched the column’s title, “Slappers and Bangers.” Forwards that provide offense and bit shot and hit numbers.

Let’s start with a surprise Toronto Maple Leafs player.

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Multi-Cat Forwards For 2023-24 Fantasy Hockey

John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs

Tavares had never had more than 59 hits in a season, until 2021-22 when he jumped to 90 hits. At first glance, it’s a blip. A few rough games can create an outlier of a season for hits. In 2022-23, he had 114 hits, no longer such an outlier of a season.

Players in their 30’s don’t normally double their hit totals. This isn’t an anomaly, it’s a trend. We can tell it’s a trend by looking at Austin Matthews and Mitch Marner. They aren’t laying people out, but they have both doubled their hit totals in the last two to three seasons as well. It’s a deliberate team shift, William Nylander excluded.

Tavares might be losing a bit of foot speed, but he’s still a point-per-game player with 250 plus shots, and now a hundred-hit multi-cat stud.

Jason Zucker, Arizona Coyotes

Sure, he’s no secret. Multi-cat leagues are his bread and butter. But, do the totals, 197 shots, 197 hits provide a slight surprise?

He won’t provide the point totals of Tavares or Tkachuk. But if you’re looking for that ‘cat-stuffer’ later in your draft, Zucker offers a decent offensive upside. Early indications suggest Zucker will line up on the second line and second power-play unit. Another 50-55-point season is likely in store.

It seemed like everyone on the Coyotes hit last year. They play a real ‘grind you down’ brand of hockey. It suits Zucker well. he should come close to repeating 200 hits and shots, and that makes him a valuable late-round option.

Seth Jarvis, Carolina Hurricanes

This is a player still growing into multi-cat status and is a little more speculative. As his role and ice time continue to grow, expect his shot totals to continue to rise. Already we’ve seen his shots per game jump from 1.62 (2021-22) to 2.28. With 75 hits, he was just shy of one per game. These should edge upward toward the 100 mark.

We’re looking at another 70-point (potential) player who will annually provide 200 or more shots and tease 100 hits.

Adriene Kempe, Los Angeles Kings

One of the lesser-known 40-goal scorers in the NHL, unless you’re a Los Angeles Kings fan.

He produced almost identical seasons in 2021-22 and 2022-23 with 35 goals, 247 shots, and 114 hits in 2021-22 and 41 goals, 250 shots, and 119 hits in 2022-23. It’s nice to find a plug-and-play 40-goal scorer that will provide this kind of category coverage.

J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks

I know, he’s a multi-cat stud. I had to give him his dues though. He was the only other point-per-game forward to have 200 shots and 200 hits, Brady Tkachuk being the other. Ovechkin missed by 14 hits.  Things seem calmer and a little more stable in Vancouver these days.

There’s no reason we shouldn’t expect Miller to replicate last year. We could see him boost his point totals up past 90 again.

Owen Tippett, Philadelphia Flyers

New to this club, Tippett really emerged last season as a blossoming multi-cat player. He had 231 shots and 125 hits. He’s also approaching his breakout threshold of 200 games. Coming off a 47-point season, there’s no reason we can’t see a 65-point, 250-shot, 125-hit season.

Joel Eriksson Ek, Minnesota Wild

Eriksson Ek was always a strong defensive center. That kept him in the bottom six while he developed his offensive game. At 6’3″ Eriksson Ek is a bigger player, bigger players often need more time to break out. For the last two years, he has been trending in that direction.

In 2021-22, he put up 49 points, by far a career high. He also blew his previous career high in shots out of the water, jumping from 124 to 223. And then last year, he again set career highs in points (61) and shots (247). All the while, his hit totals have remained rock steady around 120 per season. He’s no longer just a defensive third-line center. He has legitimately developed into a strong two-way center.

At 26, he’s just coming into his own. There’s more upside. It’s like a broken record, but he’s another player with 70-point potential that can bang.

Tim Stutzle, Ottawa Senators

I was a little surprised to see that Stutzle had 114 hits last year. Coming off a 90-point season, this puts him into elite company. Very few players carry a fantasy line of 90 points, 228 shots, and 114 hits. Only 21, this isn’t his ceiling. We should see both his point and shot totals increase.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Los Angeles Kings

He wasn’t a member of the 100-hit club last year, but he has been in three previous seasons. He also eclipsed 200 shots for the second straight season. Now that he’s settled on a team long-term, he can finally settle in.

Replicating 2022-23 should be easy with that supporting cast. Chalk up another forward that will give 70 points a run.

Alex DeBrincat, Detroit Red Wings

The shots and points come as no surprise but the 109 hits might. It’s actually the second straight season DeBrincat has cracked the 100-hit marker. His hit totals have been slowly but steadily climbing year over year since his sophomore season.

There will always be fluctuation from year to year, but he’s been trending toward this multi-cat status for several years.

Rickard Rakell, Pittsburgh Penguins

He’s been a very frustrating player to own over recent years. Only his 2017-18 season was better offensively. For multi-cat purposes, 2022-23 might have been a better all-around year. His 243 shots, 141 hits, and 21 power-play points were all career highs.

With the Penguins running Erik Karlsson and Kris Letang on the first power-play unit, it will be difficult to repeat that performance. Expect some regression. He’s been very inconsistent throughout his career, which makes him a hard player to predict moving forward. This coming season will be no different.

Anders Lee, New York Islanders & Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets

These two I’ve grouped together because they’ve trended in the same direction. They were both forwards that could produce 200 hits and shots any given year. Recently, the hit totals have trailed off to 110-140.

They’re both good for 25-30 goals and 55 points. We may start to see some division in those point totals as the Blue Jackets begin to improve. They have a lot of nice pieces trickling into the lineup. Lee’s caught on an Islander’s team that has most of the roster under contract for the next three seasons. What you see is what you get.

Evander Kane, Edmonton Oilers

It feels like the fantasy community has soured on Kane over the last couple of years. There have been injuries and bankruptcy issues that have contributed to these attitudes. When he plays though, he plays possessed. He gets to ride shotgun with one Leon Draisaitl or Connor McDavid. Either player will elevate your offensive performance.

He’s one of the few players that can push his name into the 300-shot, 200-hit conversation. Given a full healthy season, we could see Kane set career highs across the board. Don’t count him off just yet.

Timo Meier, New Jersey Devils

Now with back-to-back years with over 300 shots and 150 hits, and point totals of 66 and 76, we should see a new career high in points. Playing with this high-octane New Jersey Devils offense for a full year, it’ll be exciting to see what he can do alongside Jack Hughes all year.

Vincent Trochek, New York Rangers

I worry a little about his offense. Filip Chytil is closing in on his second-line center role. He could slip to the third line by mid-season. He’ll remain a hit-and-shot machine, but his offense could take a little dip.

Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes

It feels like he has another gear offensively that he hasn’t been able to tap into. In the meantime, he’s good for 200-plus shots and 150 hits. It’s hard to believe he’s only had one 30-goal season and has yet to hit 70 points. A healthy Svechnikov should crush both markers.

Chris Kreider, New York Rangers

It feels like age-related decline should be coming. He’s been around forever, yet he’s only 32. There should be two to four more years of 200-shot, 100-hit, 30-plus goal seasons in the tank.

Alexis Lafreniere, New York Rangers

I like to create conversation. There’s too much talent here for him to stagnate as a 50-point forward. I’m expecting a breakout soon and a large one.

He has yet to have a season with 1.5 shots per game. Everyone else on this list produces 2.5 per game or more. He’s been trending in that direction. Consistent exposure in the top six should assist there. With 141 hits last year, he’s a physical player. We just need the offense to kick into high gear. I’m expecting his first 60-plus point season and give 200 shots a real run.

Thanks for reading. We’ll take a look at defensemen next week.

Follow me on Twitter @doylelb4

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