("Sleepers, Keepers , Bench'em or Drop'em" is a weekly fantasy hockey column written by Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs, an honest-to-goodness expert on such matters and founder of DobberHockey.com. His column will run on Puck Daddy every Thursday in a non-holiday week.)
So the Brian Boucher(notes) call from last week has panned out about as nicely as Crystal Pepsi, but patience -- he'll still be the guy for the next six weeks and the Flyers can't continue to be a losing team for that long.
Can they? With Boucher now in as my third goaltender, I was able to swap Jose Theodore(notes) for Brad Boyes(notes) and address my need for goal scoring. Until the Flyers snap out of it, I'll continue to ride my other two horses and leave Boosh on the bench, though.
I was going to stick him in this spot last week as a replacement recommendation for Teemu Selanne(notes), but goaltending is just so hard to come by in roto leagues if you don't get them early, so I had to roll with Boucher. Now that Joffrey Lupul(notes) is out as well, it's time to take a serious look at the 22-year-old Sexton.
Are you drunk?
Ah, beer. If I had a dollar for every ridiculous decision I've made at the draft table while under the influence, I would have enough to cover my entry fee. But I have looked closely at Sexton for the past week and I believe he's a safe call. At worst, he'll do what Andrew Ebbett(notes) did last spring (which was pretty damn good) covering for Selanne. At best, he'll turn into something helpful long-term. Don't be surprised if he gets as many as 17 goals and 29 points in the next 40 games. He has seven points in his last four.
The Keepers who are on fire...
Stephen Weiss(notes), Florida Panthers: Run the report generator over at DobberHockey's Frozen Pool and you'll discover that Weiss and linemate Nathan Horton(notes) are tied for third in NHL scoring over the past month. Weiss is on pace for 69 points, which would be a career high. He'll get there, too -- mark it.
Steve Sullivan(notes), Nashville Predators: That's more like it. After a crummy five points in 17 games to kick off the campaign, Sully has come on strong with 18 in his next 17. He's also a plus-9 in his last 10 contests. Now lining up with Jason Arnott(notes) and an equally hot Martin Erat(notes), Sullivan and the Preds are firing on all cylinders right now and I think he'll get to 65 points come April.
Alexander Semin(notes), Washington Capitals: This guy's streakier than a dirty windshield, but he's definitely "on" now. When he really finds his zone, and we've seen it before, he is one of the five most prolific producers in the NHL. In seven games since his return from a wrist injury he has 11 points.
Sergei Gonchar(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins: After 12 games off (wrist), Gonchar needed three games to get his timing back. If you remove those games from his stats he has 18 points in 19 games this year, which is where we expect a high-caliber offensive rearguard to be as Sidney Crosby(notes) and Evgeni Malkin(notes) creep towards their prime. With Gonch in the lineup, Crosby has 28 points in 21 games, while Malkin has 27 in 22. Now that the Penguin stars have matured, Gonchar has become close to a point-per-game blueliner.
The Sleepers who are on the wire...
Robert Nilsson(notes), Edmonton Oilers: If Kent Jr. could consistently play with any kind of intensity, he'd be almost as good as Kent Sr. However, that has been a problem for Nilsson. With Ales Hemsky(notes) out and Patrick O'Sullivan(notes) on the latest milk cartons, the Oilers need production from somewhere and Nilsson is now getting the ice time. The 24-year-old has points in five of his last six games playing with Shawn Horcoff(notes) and Ryan Stone(notes). He'll run hot and cold all season long, but currently he's pretty hot.
Ruslan Fedotenko(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins: He's another one of those guys who can't score to save his life for about three or four weeks and then suddenly everything seems to go in. After just a point in 12 games, he has three in his last two, which generally indicates a hot run of some sort. Snag him, ride him for two weeks, and then dump him.
Rob Schremp(notes), New York Islanders: It's a bit of a long shot, but worth taking a flyer if you are in need of a depth forward with upside. 'Don't-call-me-Robbie' Schremp is showing some great chemistry with Jesse Joensuu(notes) and Trent Hunter(notes), as they had points in three straight games before being shutout Wednesday against the Rangers. As a member of a third line, even a productive one, the best-case scenario would be three points for every five games, but that's much better than Schremp's earlier zero-points-in-65 press-box-appearances pace. In many roto leagues, a winger who can give you three for every five is worth owning.
Ryan Shannon(notes), Ottawa Senators: If you thought Schremp was a long shot, you probably thought I dipped back into the beers with this one. But the Sens are without Jason Spezza(notes) and someone has to benefit from that. Mike Fisher(notes) is already performing as well as can be, so it won't be him. That leaves Shannon, a one-dimensional offensive talent who has performed in spurts, or Chris Kelly(notes), who had a very impressive hot streak back in 2006-07 when Spezza was hurt. The latter picked up an assist Wednesday, but I would wait another two or three games and see if one of them really steps forward. Then make your move.
In a slump, these boys are mired...
Brooks Laich(notes), Washington Capitals: With all the Capitals forwards back in the lineup, Laich is seeing his ice time dip, particularly on the power play. However, he has the Peverleyan ability to produce regardless of those things, but only when he's in the zone. Zero points in his last five games hints that he is far, far away from said zone. Bench him.
Steven Reinprecht(notes), Florida Panthers: Whenever you see a team's top scorers struggle, you often see the secondary scorers step up. Then when the big guns pick it up again, the secondary guys slip back to their normal role. Now that Frolik, Weiss and Horton are rolling, Reinprecht is back to being a 45- or 50-point player. He has just three in his last eight games. Drop him.
Dennis Wideman(notes), Boston Bruins: Wideman as a top-scoring defenseman just didn't feel right. Like George Clooney as Batman, it just felt all wrong. Too inconsistent to be co-running the top power play, Wideman's totals have been inflated over the last couple of seasons thanks to the Bruins not really having another option. Now they have Derek Morris(notes), who is seeing more PP time than Wideman. He'll pick up his game, but don't expect more than 35 points this year. Bench him.
Darryl Dobbs is the founder of dobberhockey.com, a fantasy hockey community with over a dozen columnists, a daily blog and in-depth fantasy player rankings. His always accurate opinions can also be found over at The Hockey News in their fantasy section.