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.
What a year it's been for rookies. So many good ones, yet we may not see a 50-point forward, a 15-win goaltender, or a 25-point defenseman!
The last time something like this happened, the Calder went to blueliner Barret Jackman for his 19 points and plus-23. So if you look at the plus/minus category, then it would seem that Gabriel Landeskog could walk away the winner here. He'll likely finish the season with 40 or 45 points and a plus-20 rating.
If Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returns healthy and regains his pre-injury form, then Calder voters will be saved from a tough decision.
At any rate, there is a preseason Calder favorite who has really emerged on the scene — Brayden Schenn. In pulling the latest Frozen Pool data, Schenn cracks the Top 15 roto players of the last two weeks (includes Sunday's games).
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks (5-4-1-5, plus-3, 10 PIM, 25 SOG, 3 PPP) — Hey look, it's that guy who had 19 goals in the last 16 games of 2010-11.
Michael Del Zotto, New York Rangers (8-2-4-6, plus-6, 6 PIM, 15 SOG) — Unlike the last couple of seasons, MDZ has maintained his strong play throughout. He's also one of five Rangers in the Top 50 in the league in Hits with 119.
Mike Smith, Phoenix Coyotes (5-0-0, 1.20 GAA, 0.962 SP) — Smith has been affected by the magic potion that affects all goaltenders who play under coach Dave Tippett. If you didn't see this as a possibility when he signed on in the summer, you had your blinders on. The question mark with Smith has always been his health, not his ability to thrive behind a stifling defensive system.
"Sell High" pick of the week: Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins. Seguin is on pace for 68 points and he sits 43rd in scoring. But he has just six points in his last 14 games. As with many 20-year-olds, he could be wearing down now that it's the tail end of a tough NHL schedule. That's not to say that he's done for the year. Far from it. But he was on a point-per-game pace before this slump and that's what your fellow managers will remember when you talk trade with them.
Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Niklas Hagman, Anaheim Ducks (9-0-0-0, minus-3, 2 PIM, 13 SOG) — "Ohhhh!" Bob Murray exclaims as he slaps his forehead. "So THAT's why he was chased out of Toronto and Calgary. I see it now!"
David Krejci, Boston Bruins (5-0-0-0, minus-4, 2 PIM, 4 SOG) — Krejci needs to find another linemate to have chemistry with, otherwise his fantasy owners will see little from him as long as Nathan Horton is sidelined.
Matt Read, Philadelphia Flyers (10-1-1-2, minus-3, 4 PIM, 17 SOG) — Read is still getting a lot of ice time and he's seeing time on both special teams. But with the emergence of Schenn, as well as the fact that the most games that he has played at any level in the past six years is 58, probably means a tough finish.
"Buy Low" pick of the week: Jiri Hudler, Detroit Red Wings. Hudler has a low enough point total (34) to keep his price down and his current five-game pointless drought will make his owner sour. But Hudler is a streaky player, having already had three slumps that were very similar to this one in 2011-12. In every circumstance he bounces back with a nice little five or six-game run.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Marcel Goc, Florida Panthers (16-3-10-13, plus-3, 4 PIM, 22 SOG, 3 PPP) — In between the sprained knees, the pulled groins and the separated shoulders, Goc is actually an underrated offensive talent. Pigeonholed as a checker in San Jose, he worked to shed that reputation last season in Nashville and is continuing that now with Florida. He would be on everybody's radar as a solid 50-point player right now were it not for the injuries. But that's served to disguise his fantasy value, making him available on most waiver wires. He's seeing 19 minutes a game, as well as some power-play time, so expect the run to continue.
Artem Anisimov, New York Rangers (5-2-3-5, plus-4, 2 PIM, 12 SOG) — It was nice of Anisimov to honor Scott Gomez with a 17-game pointless drought. But now that Gomez's own drought is over, Anisimov can get back to putting up moderate points.
Luca Sbisa, Anaheim Ducks (22-3-9-12, plus-5, 26 PIM, 21 SOG) —Although he's not on the first power-play unit, Sbisa has become a decent fantasy option for his multi-category production. Not particularly strong in any one area, he's proven to be a reliable PIM per game, plus player who can post 30 or 35 points. Rosters that need six defensemen will need Sbisa.
Martin Hanzal, Phoenix Coyotes (6-3-2-5, plus-5, 2 PIM, 13 SOG) — Hanzal's points-per-game have taken a nice jump this year thanks to chemistry with Radim Vrbata and the ageless Ray Whitney. As long as he's not in the hospital playing with these two, he's a two-points-every-three-games player.
Dainius Zubrus, New Jersey Devils (7-3-5-8, plus-5, 2 PIM, 5 SOG) — Although his shot total makes Sergei Kostitsyn look like Alex Ovechkin, Zubrus is still on pace to have the third best offensive season of his career. There is a risk though. He's been stuck placed on a line with Alexei Ponikarovsky and Steve Bernier, who have reputations for sucking the offense out of anyone they touch.
Teddy Purcell, Tampa Bay Lightning (12-5-6-11, plus-5, 0 PIM, 26 SOG) — Giving his best Tomas Fleischmann impression, Purcell started the season with 12 points in 13 games. He then followed up with 10 points in 29 games before this current run.
Stephane Robidas, Dallas Stars (11-2-4-6, plus-3, 10 PIM, 13 SOG, 3 PPP) — As the Stars slowly realize that Sheldon Souray sucks is not the answer, they go back to their old standby of leaning on Robidas a little bit more with the man advantage. You're seeing a shift in responsibility that will hold true even when Souray returns from his foot injury.