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Fantasy Hockey: Feeling Saad, pointless Penner and grabbing Grabovski

Dobber Hockey
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Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of DobberHockey.com and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this rollercoaster world and is unable to escape.

If your draft was two weeks ago and most of your players had terrible preseason production, it's time to pack it in and look ahead to next year.

Not really, though sometimes I think the harder-core poolies take every game just that seriously. But there are some things you can take from preseason performance, especially the last two or three games before the campaign kicks off.

Using another one of Frozen Pool's awesome tools, here are the top scorers from the preseason.

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Studs...

These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...

Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks (3 points in Game 1) – With three points and a plus-2 against the Caps, Saad obviously had himself a great game. What's more impressive - he did it while playing on a line with Joe Lunchbox and Johnny Hardhat:

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Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (Preseason: 7 points in 5 games) – Seguin tore up his apartment the preseason, making an immediate impact with his new team and displaying early chemistry with Jamie Benn. We're all predicting a big year for Seguin, it's just nice to see promising signs that agree.

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Patrick Marleau (Preseason: 6 points in 4 games) – (Sarcasm font) Marleau is bound to have a huge year. This great start before the regular season even kicks off is a surefire sign that a career year is in the cards, because historically whenever Marleau starts hot he continues until the season is done (/Sarcasm font). In all seriousness, I'm not taking Marleau in any league. After his nine goals in five games to kick of 2012-13 he managed just eight in 43.

Toronto goaltending (4 goals allowed, two games, facing 69 shots on goal) – Both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer are good goaltenders. The consensus is that Bernier is better to some degree, but Reimer tends to bring his game up to another level when challenged. While the split starts really suck in fantasy hockey, an owner in daily leagues will enjoy a surprising amount of success. Just keep an eye on the starting goaltenders daily.

Duds...

Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...

Dustin Penner, Anaheim Ducks (Pointless in the preseason) – Hopes were…tempered by poolies after Penner signed with the Ducks. Because he was expected to be reunited on a line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, there was potential for a rebirth of sorts. But Penner's preseason performance was flat as a pancake and he was a healthy scratch in Game 1.

Devin Setoguchi, Winnipeg Jets (Preseason: 1 point in 3 games, pointless in Game 1) – The big acquisitions for the Jets this offseason were not brought in as free agents, but actually via the trade route. Both Setoguchi and Michael Frolik were expected to play bigger offensive roles, but I get the sense that Setoguchi is the guy poolies were favoring. He's also in the top six, while Frolik is on the third line. But Frolik had a bigger presence in the preseason and he scored two goals in the first game with no power-play time. The clock is ticking on Setoguchi, with a hungry Byfuglien Frolik eyeing his spot.

Beau Bennett, Pittsburgh Penguins (Preseason: 1 point in 4 games) – Everyone's favorite dark horse is not looking too promising these days. Jussi Jokinen has taken his prime spot on the Evgeni Malkin line and his production will take - and has taken - a hit. Ironically, the move was likely made because he can still produce from the third line whereas Jokinen is not as promising in that regard.

Devan Dubnyk (5 goals allowed, 28 shots faced in Game 1) – Dubnyk was shellacked last season in Game 2 when he gave up six goals in one period. The feeling I'm getting is that he gets off to a Luongo-like start to his seasons before settling in later in the first month. Might be best to bench him until he irons it out.

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals... Bolland, Arcobello, Rundblad, Eller, Abdelkader, Jokinen

Mikhail Grabovski, Washington Capitals (Preseason: 8 points in 4 games, turned water into wine) – When Grabovski has something to prove, he steps up like no other. And after a productive preseason, he stormed out of the gate with four points in the first game, including the first hat trick of his NHL career. Unfortunately, but the time you're reading this, he will be off the waiver wire. As you can see:

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Dave Bolland, Toronto Maple Leafs (2-2-0-2, plus-2, 2 PIM, 5 SOG) – Bolland has always been underrated offensively, but injuries kept happening to him at the worst times, stunting both his development early on in his career as well as any opportunities that he got. An injury is bound to strike. You can see that just by looking at his career stats, but while he's playing you can enjoy better-than-expected numbers.

David Rundblad, Phoenix Coyotes (Preseason: 7 points in 6 games) – It will be tough for Rundblad to produce when both Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are ahead of him in the power-play pecking order. But he's too talented to not be a factor and after two years in North America, he's finally accustomed to the rinks and the style. Just 1% owned in Yahoo! leagues.

Mark Arcobello, Edmonton Oilers (Preseason: 4 points in 5 games) – The odds were stacked against the 5-9 undrafted pivot, but they're starting to shift his way. With Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sidelined, the Oilers are putting Arcobello at center with his former AHL linemate Jordan Eberle on the wing. Not a bad gig.

Lars Eller, Montreal Canadiens (3 points in the first game) – The Habs have four capable centermen with scoring-line upside. So Alex Galchenyuk was moved to the wing to play with Eller. It's looking as if the coach will lean on whoever of the remaining three pivots is wielding the hot stick. Right now that's Eller, as you saw with his three-point performance in Game 1.

Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings (0 points, plus-1, 2 shots and 5 hits in first game) – Right now, he's playing with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. What, you need more?

Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets (Preseason: 4 points in 5 games) – Jenner kicks off the year on a line with some guy named Gaborik. But no pressure. Still just 8% owned in Yahoo! leagues.

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Heating Up?

Here's where I'll fire off a few names of players who may be at the very beginning of a nice little run. Just a gut feeling, but worth looking into and/or taking a chance on:
J-G Pageau, Ottawa; David Desharnais, Montreal; Jussi Jokinen, Pittsburgh; Mats Zuccarello, NY Rangers; Matt Niskanen, Pittsburgh; Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim; Matt Stajan (yeah, I said it), Calgary.

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.

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