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.
Time to change things up a little. The studs and duds portion has put a spotlight on some of the players you want to consider trading away or acquiring. But the hungry masses are eager for more waiver steals, so as of this week you will find a beefier "Wire" section. I'm nothing if not a lucky son-of-a-bitch who gets to write about fantasy hockey for a living flexible.
Here's a snippet, courtesy of Frozen Pool, of the Top 10 skaters of the last two weeks, using the six common stat categories:
Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars is not getting enough love in fantasy hockey circles. He's getting lots of love — but not enough of it. To wit: stop making offers as if he's going to arrive soon. He's already arrived, unpacked his bags, opened a beer and sat down. Think nothing of offering up a big-name player to acquire him, because chances are he will outperform that big-name player.
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings (4-5-4-9, plus-8, 2 PIM, 20 SOG) — So far Franzen has as many points as Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg combined. The key? Mike Babcock has convinced him, through hypnosis, that this is the postseason. In actuality, Franzen has the talent to post a point per game, but he has yet to play a full, healthy season since his coming of age in the 2008 playoffs. Odds are an injury is coming, but hopefully Franzen can give you a couple months of this before it hits.
Derek Stepan, New York Rangers (4-2-5-7, plus-6, 2 PIM, 11 SOG) — Since the formation of the 'GAS' line, or whatever they're calling it, Stepan has been flying. Along with linemates Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik, the trio has been scoring in bunches. The chemistry is too good to break up anytime soon and it also has the added bonus of putting Brad Richards on another line to spread out the offense. So the nice numbers should continue for awhile.
Tomas Fleischmann, Florida Panthers (10-5-7-12, plus-10, 4 PIM, 27 SOG) — Another good line has been thrown together, this time in Florida. Flash is lining up with Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg to form a potent trio. Suddenly, Versteeg knows where the net is the Panthers are looking like a playoff team. As long as Fleischmann stays healthy (big if), he should be the first Panther to top 65 points since Olli Jokinen in 2007-08.
"Sell High" pick of the week: Patric Hornqvist, Nashville Predators. Horny has always picked up his points (usually goals) in bunches. So the fact that he was shutout on Saturday could indicate a cold patch of four or five games is forthcoming.
Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Rene Bourque, Calgary Flames (8-0-0-0, minus-3, 2 PIM) — Just over a season removed from 58 points and 88 penalty minutes, Bourque is now looking like a graduate from the Matt Stajan School of Suck. The thing is, though, he is one of the streakiest players in the league. So something impressive is probably coming, we just don't know when. He ended last season with 20 points in 24 games when it looked like he was destined to fall short of 40 on the campaign.
Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers (10-0-2-2, plus-1, 2 PIM, 18 SOG) — Many poolies are still holding out hope that he can one day be a first-line player. It must be the way his year-over-year production has trended upward so sharply. You know, the way he followed up his 49-point rookie campaign with seasons of 41, 41 and 42. It ain't gonna happen in Edmonton. And the way Gagner has managed to miss so much time year after year due to injury, it probably ain't gonna happen anywhere else either.
Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators (6-0-0-0, minus-3, 2 PIM, 12 SOG) — He was getting points when Craig Smith was on his line, but now that Smith is back at center, Fisher is stuck. Perhaps things will get going again now that Sergei Kostitsyn is back from injury.
"Buy Low" pick of the week: Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes. He had seven points in his first four games, so you know the 35-year-old hasn't lost it. He's a safe acquisition despite being pointless in six.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Jason Chimera, Washington Capitals (6-2-2-4, plus-4, 4 PIM) — Chimera is a pretty consistent 30-point player who is scoring a lot more this season (on a 48-point pace). It won't last, but take it now if you need the depth.
Jhonas Enroth, Buffalo Sabres (5-0-0, 1.75, 0.944) — I had him here last week and if I reached even just one of you, then I have done my job. Because now it's as obvious as the nose on Milan Lucic's face that Enroth will be a fantasy stud for the near future. Ryan Miller is out with a concussion and the Sabres are now in Enroth's undefeated hands.
Viktor Stalberg, Chicago Blackhawks (9-4-3-7, plus-7, 8 PIM, 28 SOG) — Stalberg's ice time (hovering in that 13-14 minute range, with little PP time) is still not justifying any long-term commitment, but for now the guy is red hot and is contributing in many areas.
Zack Smith, Ottawa Senators (7-2-3-5, plus-2, 7 PIM, 14 SOG) — He's a bigger, meaner version of former Senator Chris Kelly. He's a 100-plus PIM guy who has the potential to flirt with 40 points. But while he's been putting up the points, he's toned down the penalties so be wary of that.
Daniel Carcillo, Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-3-4, plus-3, 2 PIM, 4 shots) — Carcillo is plucked up by a few fantasy teams for the penalty minutes that he provides. But 21 of his 32 this season were earned in one game. Instead, he's turned his focus to offense. But you know when that stops he'll fall back on his PIM gold, so it's win-win for you.
Steve Montador, Chicago Blackhawks (3-3-1-4, plus-2, 5 PIM, 6 SOG) — Montador is a reliable 20-point player who generally gives you more than a penalty minute per game while boasting a solid plus/minus. This season, his plus-8 has him heading towards a career high in that stat. His seven measly PIM are a cause for concern, but he hasn't had fewer than 73 since the lockout.
Aaron Rome, Vancouver Canucks (4-3-2-5, plus-3, 21 PIM, 9 SOG) — This past week has seen Rome set a new record for best fantasy performance by a player owned in zero leagues. He's a short-term fix for someone. Ideal for Ian White owners, who need a replacement for a week or two.