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.Steven Stamkos because he's our security blanket. Our safe pick. After over 300 consecutive games played at a 95-point pace, he can't miss. Or so we thought. Some fantasy owners with a low-threshold for risk thumbed their nose at Sidney Crosby on draft day for the safety of Steven Stamkos. Well then.
Turning to Frozen Pool, I ran a report looking at the top centermen of the last three weeks based on the main six rotisserie categories:
As you can see, Stamkos is in at No.2. That's obviously a gaping hole that needs to be filled. But perhaps you can see a potential replacement somewhere in the rest of the chart.
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Brandon Dubinsky, Columbus Blue Jackets (9-4-8-12, plus-3, 21 PIM, 22 SOG, and 3 PPts) - In 46 games (last season and this one), Dubinsky has 35 points and 110 PIM. He had 34 (and 110 PIM) in all of 2011-12. That info doesn't help you in your league any, it's just damn interesting. And by "damn" I mean "kind of".
Mike Richards, Los Angeles Kings (5-3-6-9, plus-1, 0 PIM, 22 SOG, and 5 PPts) - Jeff Carter gets hurt and Richards gets hot. I'm not implying that Carter sucks, I'm implying that Tyler Toffoli is awesome. Toffoli, by the way, is owned in just 11% of Yahoo leagues and should be picked up immediately if available. Richards and Toffoli are clicking on a line together.
Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets (3-1-4-5, plus-4, 2 PIM, 10 SOG) - The start of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft brought us some great players. After Alex Ovechkin came Evgeni Malkin. Then some guy. Then Ladd, followed by Blake Wheeler. Ladd sits just behind David Krejci for fourth in career points from that draft class.
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings (6-4-4-8, plus-4, 4 PIM, 18 SOG) - Not since his 97-point days was Datsyuk shooting the puck as much as he is now. He's on pace for 259 shots on goal this year. That's a number he's only hit once.
Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (0-3-0, 4.73 GAA, 0.860 SV%) - It's a slump, nothing more. Despite all the clamoring from Ottawa fans and media, Robin Lehner won't be taking over the No. 1 job at any point this year. In fact, Anderson is categorized as "buy low" by yours truly.
Michael Grabner, New York Islanders (10-0-0-0, minus-4, 6 PIM, 15 SOG) - After Grabner tallied six points in the first three games of the season, poolies were scooping him up faster than a Philadelphia coaching change. The reality is that while the speedy Grabner is a threat to score on the PK, grinding out goals are not really his thing anymore.
Artem Anisimov, Columbus Blue Jackets (6-0-0-0, minus-7, 2 PIM, 14 SOG) - With a career points-per-game average of 0.45 and pretty much hovering around that number each and every year, Anisimov is starting to make it pretty clear just what we can expect from him. He's played on a line with everyone from Marian Gaborik to the hot dog guy and nothing is getting him going.
Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (6-0-0-0, plus-2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG) - Fantasy hockey rewards greatness, but the only way greatness can be measured in fantasy hockey is through the stats. So while Brodin is a top defenseman in the league and regularly flirts with 29 minutes of ice time each game, that doesn't help our team any. How does he have zero shots in six games?
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Reilly Smith, Boston Bruins (5-1-4-5, plus-1, 4 PIM, 9 SOG) – It's the second hot streak for Smith, which sandwiched a short cold run. He doesn't play with Loui Eriksson, but his hot streaks coincide with Eriksson being in the lineup. His four-game pointless streak occurred while Eriksson was sidelined.
Devante Smith-Pelley (7-1-5-6, plus-6, 0 PIM, 11 SOG) – Here's who is on the ice (i.e. his linemates) when Smith-Pelley gets a point:
It's impressive that you don't see a "Perry" or a "Getzlaf" anywhere. The adrenalin of a recent call-up will wear off soon, but in the meantime enjoy the production.
Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks (6-3-3-6, plus-2, 0 PIM, 14 SOG, 2 PPpts) – It's hard to believe this guy had 135 penalty minutes in the OHL back in 2010-11 and then 99 PIM in just 38 AHL games for Rockford the following year. And now he's going after the Lady Byng.
Philip Larsen, Edmonton Oilers (5-1-4-5, minus-4, 2 PIM, 14 SOG) – Despite the ugly plus/minus and the fact that he couldn't get pumped up for a game against his former team Wednesday, Larsen is the go-to guy on the power play for as long as Justin Schultz is out (groin).
Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets (2-2-1-3, plus-3, 0 PIM, 10 SOG) – Since Gaborik isn't scoring, somebody has to, right? Atkinson leads the Blue Jackets in shots on goal. By a wide margin. And now he's finding the back of the net, as he snapped a six-game pointless drought.
Grant Clitsome, Winnipeg Jets (3-1-2-3, plus-5, 2 PIM, 4 SOG) – If Clitsome is a minus-7 on this season even after going plus-5 the last three games, I'd hate to see what this stat was like before this hot run. What's that? Minus-12? Ah, I see you have a calculator.
Mikhail Grigorenko, Buffalo Sabres (2-2-0-2, even, 0 PIM, 5 SOG) – A new coach is just what the doctor ordered for this guy. All he needs is a bump in linemates and ice time. A new coach and fresh perspective will see to it that it happens, at least in the short term.
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:
The key Sabres - Cody Hodgson, Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson; Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia; Nathan Gerbe, Carolina; Patric Hornqvist, Nashville; Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay; David Moss, Phoenix.
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