Enforcers, brawlers, goons and cheap shot artists—like them or hate them, they are still an integral part of the NHL landscape for better or worse. Whether it’s to get under an opponent’s skin, retaliate for an injustice or to build momentum after falling behind, penalties and fighting are a big part of a coach’s arsenal.
Many times during a season, the difference between victory and defeat comes down to which team can intimidate the other into submission. Having a player or two who can go toe-to-toe with the best of the NHL’s enforcers is crucial.
Here are my predictions for the top five candidates to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs in penalty minutes this season. When called upon to defend the team's honor, these guys know what it means to be tough.