Fantasy Hockey: Making your midseason comeback

Dobber Hockey
December 16, 2010
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(Note: Our friends at Dobber Hockey are back for some fantasy fun. All stats are through Wednesday night's games; this feature will be found on Thursdays here on Puck Daddy.)

If you're in several fantasy leagues, you understand how easy it is to let one or two of them slide. But nothing swings your attention back to the red-headed stepchild like the embarrassment of being in last place.

While winning is still achievable, you're probably just interested in avoiding the embarrassment of finishing in the basement. It's easy to just quit and then in April tell the others that you never tried in the first place, but why not give it a whirl? Quitting is for losers. If Evgeni Nabokov(notes) can try for an NHL comeback, then the least you can do is the same in your fantasy league. And the pleasure and satisfaction you'll feel just for crawling back up to the top half of your league would rank up there with Calgary fans when they look at Dion Phaneuf's(notes) statline.

Here are some players who could help you make some waves (positions as listed in Yahoo!).


Jason Pominville(notes), Buffalo Sabres, RW

Owned in just 28% of Yahoo! leagues, the former 34-goal man seems to be turning things around. Three goals and six points in his last seven games and he has averaged over three shots per game in his last eight.

Antoine Vermette(notes), Columbus Blue Jackets, C

One would think that Vermette would build on his career high of 65 from a season ago. That hasn't been the case, as he stumbled to start that made Adam Mair(notes) look like a sniper. However, the 28-year-old has 10 points in his last 10 games, including six goals. For the most part, stats always shift to where they are supposed to go, over the long term. If Vermette's stats act accordingly, then he's in for a solid 50 games going forward.


Tomas Fleischmann(notes), Colorado Avalanche, LW

The Flash has 10 points in his last six games. The Washington Capitals as a team have scored eight goals in their last six games. Five of Fleischmann's 10 points are assists, and he's primarily a setup man. Why he's only owned in 25% of Yahoo! leagues indicates the large amount of Washington fans who play fantasy hockey.

Roman Hamrlik(notes), Montreal Canadiens, D

The man with the toughest name in hockey has fallen into a good year/bad year pattern - and we're very much in a good year. Yet 57% of the leagues out there haven't noticed that he is on pace for 34 assists, solid PIM and a nice plus/minus. He has four assists and six points in his last seven games.


Toni Lydman(notes), Anaheim Ducks, D

He leads the NHL in plus/minus (tied) and yet he is only owned in 16% of all Yahoo! leagues. Go figure. His other statistics are weak, but not Henrik Tallinder(notes)-weak. You could certainly live with them if he keeps pumping up your plus/minus.


Steve Ott(notes), Dallas Stars,

Available in most leagues, Ott has five points in his last eight games to go with his 15 PIM. If you don't mind taking a hit on plus/minus, he'll be a great boost for PIM and moderate numbers for points and shots.


Anton Babchuk(notes), Calgary Flames, D

Just two power-play points in the last five games, but Coach Sutter is starting to lean on him more with the man advantage. It took him several games just to see any time when they're up a man, but now his ice time is rising and his production along with it.


Alex Steen(notes), St. Louis Blues, C

Owned in only a quarter of all leagues. It wasn't this way in October, but his owners bailed on him after a rough first couple of months. He has eight points in his last seven games and that's because he's been shooting the puck like Alex Ovechkin(notes) on steroids. He's averaged about five shots per game in that span.

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Chris Osgood(notes), Detroit Red Wings, G

You're desperate for goaltending and here is a short-term solution. He has had a solid couple of games while Jimmy Howard(notes) has floundered a little with just two wins in his last five. Howard is the starter and it will remain that way, but for the next three or four weeks Osgood could see as many as seven starts until his counterpart can get back on track. Those with daily transactions could use that as a third goalie on the short term.

Brian Boucher(notes), Philadelphia Flyers, G

With Michael Leighton(notes) returning, fantasy owners are starting to steer clear of the three-headed monster in Philly. But Boucher is white hot and he has started three in a row. Coach Laviolette has already shown us how loyal he is to the hot goalie so I think you can get at least one seriously good week out of him.


Middle-of-the-Pack Jack says: "Alexander Frolov was a 71-point player and he's only 28 and he has something to prove. I'll ride out this slump and it will start paying dividends by Christmas."

Yeah, 71 points back when Yutaka Fukufuji backstopped the Kings for a little while. Frolov's points have been declining and he is being outplayed by...well, pretty much all of the Rangers up to and including the stick boy. He has four points in his last 16 games and his ice time is dwindling. He's still going to top out at 50 or 55 points this year at best. Don't be swayed by his recent two-game surge. In fact, use that surge to shop him around for someone more useful. Like the aforementioned stick boy.


Dark Horse

Brandon Prust(notes), New York Rangers, LW

This little gem has 12 points in his last 24 games to go with a plus-8 rating. But the big number is the penalty minutes - 66 of them in that span. Only owned in 9% of Yahoo! leagues, Prust is a guy who could really save your ass. And do it in a hurry.

Finishing last sucks, but there's a lot of hockey left to play - more than half the season. It'll take some fight, some smarts, and a little luck, but why not pull a Nabokov, and start your comeback? After all, it was none other than Lance Armstrong who said "quitting lasts forever". And it ain't time for forever yet, son.

Enjoy finding a parking spot Saturday.

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