Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
While the 14-0-3 Chicago Blackhawks have been a strong offensive team with plenty of fantasy contributors, their biggest fantasy impact has been on the defensive end.
The Blackhawks, who rank second in the NHL with just 1.88 goals allowed per game, have been extremely frustrating for opposing fantasy owners because they keep stars off the scoreboard.
Twenty-nine players have scored a goal against the Blackhawks this season; only three have doubled up: Martin Hanzal of the Coyotes, Alex Edler of the Canucks and Mike Richards of the Kings.
Of the 29 players, just seven currently rank inside the top 100 overall in Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
The biggest names that have scored goals against Chicago this season are Daniel Sedin, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Getzlaf, Richards, Edler and T.J. Oshie.
Besides Sedin, who has an ADP of 7.8, none of those players were drafted in the first 50 picks.
Chicago's stingy defense has started with strong play in the crease. Goaltenders Corey Crawford and Ray Emery both have save percentage of .930 or better.
The 'Hawks have helped their netminders out by keeping opponents off the net. Their 28.0 opponents' SOG average ranks 12th in the NHL.
Most importantly, Chicago's penalty killing unit has been dominant after ranking 27th last season with a 78.1 percent success rate on the second-least PK chances in the NHL.
The team basically went back to the drawing board after that debacle and came out with an entirely different No. 1 penalty-killing line.
Dave Bolland, Hossa, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook constituted Chicago's most-used PK line last season, but this year it has been the unit of Marcus Kruger, Michael Frolik, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya called into duty most frequently, according to leftwinglock.com.
Kruger and Frolik have also skated with Keith and Seabrook on the team's second-most used PK line this year. Hossa shows up on Chicago's third- and fourth-most used PK lines but Bolland doesn't appear until the team's fifth- most used line.
The change has helped Chicago extinguish 88.7 percent of opposing power plays (third in the NHL) on 62 chances. As a result, goals have been extremely difficult to come by, especially for the players fantasy owners rely on the most.