NHL: The 12 Most Productive Fighters

Mike BurseCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2012

NHL: The 12 Most Productive Fighters

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    There has been much controversy regarding "staged" NHL fights in recent years. Recently, the beginning of the New York Rangers-New Jersey Devils game may create a rule change.

    Fighters in the NHL do have value. They creating space for their team's scorers and keep the other team's pests honest.

    Here is a look at the top 12 players in terms of fighting majors this year. We will rank them based on their statistical impact aside from fighting.

Zenon Konopka

1 of 12

    He is a 6'0", 209-pound center for the Ottawa Senators and has been in 17 fights.

    In 54 games, he has three goals, two assists, a minus-four rating, one game-winning goal, 52 hits, 18 blocked shots, six more giveaways than takeaways, 33 shots on goal and 89 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    Konopka has been a valued member of a young Senators team. He brings toughness and protection for their young players.

Krys Barch

2 of 12

    He is a 6’1”, 237-pound right winger for the Florida Panthers and has been in 12 fights.

    In 49 games, he has two goals, three assists, a plus-one rating, 63 hits, 10 blocked shots, one more takeaway than giveaway, 33 shots and 89 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    Barch was acquired by the Panthers to bring more toughness to their playoff drive. He could be a valued member of this team in the playoffs when things get rough.

Brad Staubitz

3 of 12

    He is a 6’1”, 215-pound right winger for the Montreal Canadiens and has been in 14 fights.

    In 54 games, he has no points, a minus-five rating, 83 hits, 18 blocked shots, one more takeaway than giveaway, 20 shots and 44 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    The Canadiens wanted more toughness and they have surely received it in Staubitz. He has been a useful addition to their lineup. With their push to become a bigger, tougher team, look for the Canadiens to keep him on the roster for next season.

Zac Rinaldo

4 of 12

    He is a 5’11”, 169-pound center for the Philadelphia Flyers and has been in 14 fights.

    In 57 games, he has two goals, six assists, a minus-two rating, 144 hits, 15 blocked shots, one more giveaway than takeaway, 46 shots and 120 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    Rinaldo has been a welcome addition to the new-look Flyers. He has carved out a role as a fourth-line agitator and enforcer. He is small but plays a big man’s game. He will need to put on more weight in order to better handle the game's bigger enforcers.  

Cody McLeod

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    He is a 6’2”, 210-pound left winger for the Colorado Avalanche and has been in 16 fights.

    In 68 games, he has six goals, four assists, a minus-one rating, 111 hits, 13 blocked shots, nine more takeaways than giveaways, 50 shots and 75 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    Cody has been an effective enforcer and defensive player this season. He should continue to contribute to this young team.

Jared Boll

6 of 12

    He is a 6’2”, 219-pound right winger for the Columbus Blue Jackets and has been in 16 fights.

    In 45 games, he has one goal, one assist, a minus-six rating, 88 hits, nine blocked shots, three more takeaways than giveaways, 26 shots and 30 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    While he has not played regularly, when he has been in the lineup he has played his role effectively. With only 30 minutes in penalties aside from fighting, he has not been hurting his team too often by putting them in the position to have to kill penalties.

Ryan Reaves

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    He is a 6’1”, 229-pound right winger for the St. Louis Blues and has been in 13 fights.

    In 54 games, he has two goals, one assist, a minus-one rating, one game-winning goal, 150 hits, seven blocked shots, 10 more takeaways than giveaways, 30 shots and 44 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    The Blues have seen a resurgence under head coach Ken Hitchcock, who has worked wonders getting the best out of his players. Reaves is no exception. He should be a valued member of their fourth line during the playoffs.

Shawn Thornton

8 of 12

    He is a 6’2”, 217-pound left winger for the Boston Bruins and has been in a league-leading 19 fights.

    In 71 games, he has four goals, eight assists, a minus-five rating, 84 hits, 11 blocked shots, 10 more takeaways than giveaways, 97 shots and 50 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    Thornton is an effective enforcer who can take a regular shift. He is perhaps the best fighter in the league and keeps opposing teams honest while still being an effective player for the big bad Bruins.

Tim Jackman

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    He is a 6’2”, 225-pound right winger for the Calgary Flames and has been in 14 fights.

    In 68 games, he has one goal, six assists, a minus-19 rating, 150 hits, 15 blocked shots, 10 more takeaways than giveaways, 94 shots and 18 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    Jackman has been a solid fourth-liner this season. He brings toughness, grit and solid all-around play. And he mostly stays out of the penalty box aside from his fights, with only 18 minutes in penalties.

Brandon Prust

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    He is a 6’0”, 192-pound right winger for the New York Rangers and has been in 19 fights, which ties him for the league lead.

    In 73 games, he has five goals, 12 assists, a minus-three rating, two game-winning goals, 136 hits, 47 blocked shots, eight more giveaways than takeaways, 62 shots and 56 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    He is a valued member of the lineup and a good all-around player who can also act as the Rangers enforcer.

Derek Dorsett

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    He is a 6’0”, 192-pound right winger for the Columbus Blue Jackets and has been in 16 fights.

    In 68 games, he has 10 goals, six assists, a minus-seven rating, one game-winning goal, 176 hits, 36 blocked shots, 16 more takeaways than giveaways, 114 shots and 116 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    He has brought much-needed toughness to a dismal season for the Blue Jackets. He and Jared Boll are a good tandem of tough guys, but Dorsett is the more gifted overall player.

Matt Martin

12 of 12

    He is a 6’3”, 210-pound left winger for the New York Islanders and has been in 13 fights.

    In 71 games he has seven goals, seven assists, a minus-16 rating, one game-winning goal, 338 hits, 36 blocked shots, 15 more takeaways than giveaways, 112 shots and 44 penalty minutes, excluding his fighting majors.

    Martin has proven to be a solid all-around young player. He still may develop more of an offensive game and could be a solid third-line player for years to come.