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.
Interesting fact — Mr. "Eight-Point Game" Sam Gagner has 20 points in the 20 games that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed with a shoulder injury. He has 22 points in 44 games with RNH.
That's one hell of a difference and lends credence to the theory that he is being "Jordan Staal-ed" in Edmonton. That is to say, his ceiling may only be 55 points on this team, but 70 or more on another.
Speaking of impactful lineup injury returns, there were a couple of minor ones in Pittsburgh this past Thursday. Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang pushed defensemen Paul Martin and Matt Niskanen right out of the power-play, and thus fantasy, mix. It was interesting to see Crosby line up with Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy, thereby keeping Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal with their current linemates.
The move doesn't disrupt the value of the six players on those lines, and it has already boosted the value of both Cooke and Kennedy (each have four points in three games since). I have a suspicion that next week's Roto Ranker result will have both of those guys appearing in the Top 100.
Here is the Roto Ranker for the past two weeks, courtesy of Frozen Pool:
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames (10-8-6-14, plus-3, 9 PIM, 33 SOG) — The last time Iginla failed to post at least 67 points, we were all still laughing at ourselves for fearing Y2K. His recent hot streak puts him back on pace to keep that 67-plus streak alive.
Loui Eriksson, Dallas Stars (19-8-13-21, plus-11, 2 PIM, 43 SOG) — Eriksson is on track for his third consecutive 70-point season, as well as possibly a career high in goals. He already has a career high in plus/minus (plus-20) and he'd have to pretty much pull a Rick Nash to get that number down below the plus-14 he had in 2009.
Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames (7-3-4-7, plus-4, 10 PIM, 11 SOG) — Giordano could continue this hot pace right through the end of the season and his numbers would be still be looked upon as sucky.
Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia Flyers (7-0-1, 0.97 GAA, 0.968 SP, 0 philosophical musings) — Top 7 or 8 goalie plus strong team generally equals 40-plus wins. It hasn't worked out that way, but since the Flyers picked up defensive stalwart Nicklas Grossmann his Bryzgalov's game has turned around. In one of my leagues he single-handedly moved me up four spots in two weeks. Then again, his previous terrible play was the main reason I was down those four spots to begin with…
Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Ryane Clowe, San Jose Sharks (15-2-0-2, minus-7, 18 PIM, 42 SOG) — After increasing his point totals every year he's been in the NHL, Clowe has taken a big step back this campaign. He's still shooting a lot, but not enough on Leaf goaltending because they're getting stopped. Now that Martin Havlat is back and playing on his line, perhaps things will turn around soon.
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets (7-0-0-0, minus-2, 4 PIM, 21 SOG) — Doing everything he can to up his trade value for what's sure to be a fun summer of speculation…
Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers (13-0-3-3, minus-1, 14 PIM, 29 SOG) — He already has career highs in goals, points, power-play goals and shots. He's been hot/cold like this all year so it should turn back around.
Ian White, Detroit Red Wings (14-1-1-2, minus-4, 2 PIM, 19 SOG) — Gee, does he miss Nicklas Lidstrom?
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Sebastien Caron, Tampa Bay Lightning (no statistics yet)
— Here is a long-shot, but I want to give you any goaltender I can because that's the No.1 position that poolies are desperate for late in the season. Mathieu Garon is hurt, Dustin Tokarski isn't quite ready and Dwayne Roloson suddenly remembered his age. So the Lightning will probably turn to Caron more often than not down the stretch. If he starts off well, they may even ride him the rest of the way.
Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets (5-1-0, 1.88 GAA, 0.947 SP) — Probably the worst goalie in the league from October through February, Mason has suddenly become one of the best. The reason? Bigger pads? If that truly is the case, then the NHL would have all the proof it needs to increase scoring. If bigger pads can turn a guy who was probably not fit to start in the ECHL into an NHL goalie with a 94% save percentage, then what would shrinking said pads do for league-wide offense?
Antoine Vermette, Phoenix Coyotes (7-2-4-6, plus-4, 4 PIM, 13 SOG) —It's hard to imagine Vermette being the No.1 center anywhere, but…here we are. After going pointless in his first six games with his new team, he's finding his form now.
Peter Mueller, Colorado Avalanche (8-1-6-7, plus-1, 2 PIM, 23 SOG) — The recovery has been slow, but steady. Now we're starting to see Mueller for who he is. He's a better goal scorer than he's been showing, but the goals will come — his shot total is where it should be.
Marcus Foligno, Buffalo Sabres (4-3-2-5, plus-5, 0 PIM, 6 SOG) — Foligno is not going to be a great goal scorer, but he'll be a decent third-line player who adds excellent scoring depth. But right now, he's in the "Foligno" zone.
Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders (3-1-2-3, even, 0 PIM, 2 PPP, 6 SOG) — Some added offensive help for those who are desperate up the middle. He won't help you in the other categories at all, unless you get points for losing faceoffs.
Jason Garrison, Florida Panthers (4-1-3-4, plus-5, 2 PIM, 10 SOG) — Only four Florida forwards have more goals than this guy, which explains why Garrison's assist number is low. He's 59-percent owned, but that number is down from a few weeks ago, so thought I'd mention.
Two more situations to speak of…
Alexander Radulov is back. We may see him as soon as Thursday. He is not yet available in Yahoo!, but keep checking. Yahoo! can add him when the NHL adds him, which won't happen until the transfer becomes official. At that point, he would have nine games left to play. Prediction: 9-6-4-10
Marcel Goc has been listed in "the Wire" section here a couple of times now, but I haven't sold too many people, as he's still at 1% starts in Yahoo!. I have to insist. He has 20 points and is plus-6 in his last 29 games. That's a decent No. 4 center in most roto formats. The latest numbers for Goc: 4-2-2-4, plus-4, 2 PIM, 1 PPG, 11 SOG and he played over 20 minutes last game.