Dobber checks in every Monday 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.
At $4.5 million per season, Tomas "Flash" Fleischmann's contract was snickered at by some. After all, his career high in the NHL is 51points. Hell, even Matt Stajan has topped that.
But the more astute fantasy owners noted the steadily increasing points-per-game average, year over year, culminating in his 0.95 (21 points in 22 games) with the Avalanche last season. Now that he's lingering around the Top 10 in scoring, the only people snickering (this time in triumph) are Panthers fans. With points in 19 of his 26 games, he's almost certain to give the paid attendance, that these days easily tops the 12 mark, their money's worth.
With 48 points in his last 48 games, he's reaching the point where you can no longer say "trend."
Here's the snippet of the Frozen Pool report that ranks the top roto players of the last two weeks:
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers (8-5-4-9, plus-3, 6 PIM, 26 SOG) — After kicking off the season with two points in seven games, Hartnell has been rolling along at better than a point-per-game clip. Coach Peter Laviolette has been sticking with the Hartnell-Claude Giroux combo with no sign of that changing. At the end of the season, Hartnell plans to return to the coach the compromising photos that he has of him.
Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks (7-3-6-9, plus-6, 2 PIM, 20 SOG) — Forgive the guy for making you self-conscious about your beer gut taking a few weeks to get his rhythm back after hip surgery. Kesler is a 75- to 80-point player and if you lost faith in that then you suck.
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins (15-4-11-15, plus-17, 11 PIM, 52 SOG) —These numbers are eye-popping, but impossible to keep up unless your name is Sidney. The giant is not going to get 70 points and finish at plus-70. He is what he is, a 50-point and plus-30 player.
"Sell High" pick of the week: James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins. Seems stupid to sell this guy after leading the league in shots and surprising everyone with more than a point per game, just when Sidney Crosby returns. But since Crosby has come back, Neal's numbers have actually slipped. He's taken fewer shots — three times in the seven Crosby games he has managed two or less. No idea why that is, other than perhaps Crosby has taken some of the Evgeni Malkin time away from him.
Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks (9-0-0-0, minus-7, 20 PIM, 20 SOG) — So is the presence of Brent Burns slowing him down? Or is 35 his best before date? Or is this just a slump, plain and simple? Probably a little from columns A, B and C. But I would be surprised if he failed to reach at least 45 points this year. But poolies can find consolation in his crazy PIM numbers.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators (0-4-1, 4.11 GAA, .872 SP) — You see this all the time with the Predators. They are the team version of Kristian Huselius — very hot or very cold. You can argue chicken versus egg with me and frankly I don't care about reasons. Whatever the cause, Rinne and the Preds will turn things around. He'll get his 33 to 35 wins.
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars (4-0-0-0, minus-2, 0 PIM, 20 SOG) — In eight of the past 10 games, Benn's name was nowhere to be found in the scoring summary. I again harken back to my Alex Goligoski argument. When Goligoski returns, the team's offensive players will pick it up.
"Buy Low" pick of the week: Sheldon Souray, Dallas Stars. Goligoski had his hard cast removed and is targeting a return for a week from now. With him out of the lineup, Souray has zero points. Yeah. That works out to zero points per game. A week from now, the numbers will roll again. In the meantime, Souray will continue to struggle on the ice, and have a better life than any of us off the ice.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Brian Boyle, New York Rangers (5-1-2-3, plus-4, 9 PIM, 14 SOG) —The big galoot is lining up with Carl Hagelin and John Mitchell these days. It doesn't sound like much, but then again that is how things often were last season when he managed 21 goals. He also sees some PP time, which doesn't hurt.
Zach Bogosian, Winnipeg Jets (6-0-5-5, plus-6, 6 PIM, 19 SOG) — His numbers are up across the board and it's in no small part due to Tobias Enstrom being on the shelf. With Enstrom still out another three weeks, Bogosian will contribute solid numbers for the time being.
Derek Dorsett, Columbus Blue Jackets (5-3-1-4, plus-4, 2 PIM, 16 SOG) — He's in the league for his mitts and because he can get under an opponent's skin, but he's a wire option because of his golden stick. Well, perhaps that's a little overboard but still — the guy hasn't put up numbers at this rate since the WHL. It must be from seeing so much time on a line with Sami Pahlsson. Not really.
Erik Condra, Ottawa Senators (5-2-3-5, plus-3, 6 PIM, 7 SOG) — By the time Condra was drafted in 2006, the janitors had already begun sweeping up. The third-last pick of the draft, 211th overall, has made a nice transition to the pro game after a successful college career. He's not to be underrated, but there will be a lot of hot/cold headaches these first couple of campaigns.
Jake Gardiner, Toronto Maple Leafs (5-0-3-3, plus-6, 12 PIM, 9 shots) — Although he sits fourth on the Leafs in average time on the ice, he's actually second on the team over the past two weeks. The responsibility is increasing and logic would dictate that the numbers will increase along with it.
Kyle Brodziak, Minnesota Wild (5-3-2-5, plus-1, 4 PIM, 14 SOG) — I love it when players steadily improve. Even energy players and checkers. Brodziak's points-per-game average in the last three seasons have increased bit by bit, from 0.34, to 0.39 to 0.46. This year he's at 0.50. Crosby has no reason to be jealous, to be sure, but as a temporary depth option Brodziak isn't bad.
Ryan O'Reilly, Colorado Avalanche (5-4-5-9, plus-7, 2 PIM, 16 SOG) — The Avs have finally found themselves a hot line and just like that O'Reilly is five points away from a career high. He's clicking with Gabriel Landeskog and Milan Hejduk. At 35, Hejduk is nearly as old as his two linemates combined.