Fantasy Hockey: Drew Doughty returning to form and why you should buy low on Tuomo Ruutu
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.
Evgeni Malkin may be the hottest player of the last 10 games, but his linemate James Neal has been racking up PIM like they're going out of style — 22 in that span. That's enough to make him the best rotisserie-player own of the last three weeks. The third member of the line, Chris Kunitz, has also performed well ranking 16th among skaters.
Let's take a look at the Frozen Pool Roto-Ranker snippet:
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
P.A. Parenteau, New York Islanders (18-6-13-19, minus-2, 18 PIM, 44 SOG) — Let's face it. Not one team in the NHL would have given this guy a chance, other than the Islanders. Parenteau could have scored five goals per game in exhibition and the best he could have hoped for was a fourth-line job that would be destined to cool him off enough for the organization to send him down without looking silly doing it. That's the uphill battle that ninth-round picks who have spent far too long in the AHL have to face. Full credit to the Isles for giving him a real shot on a scoring line. You have to wonder how many other potential point-per-game players we'll never see come out of the AHL.
Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins (2-2-1-3, even, 2 PIM, 3 SOG) — Seguin is coming off of a three-game pointless skid, which marks the first time all season that he's done that. Call it throwing darts a hunch, but I think we're in for something pretty sustained in the coming weeks.
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings (18-1-12-13, plus-9, 24 PIM, 48 SOG) —Doughty has nearly as many shots on goal in the last 18 games as he had in the prior 27. This is a great indication that the shoulder issues are fully behind him and that the Doughty of old is back.
"Sell High" pick of the week: Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators. He has 12 points in his last 10 games, but we've seen enough of these runs from Fisher to know that a cold streak is on the way. In the 20 games prior, he managed just six points.
Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs (8-0-0-0, minus-3, 7 PIM, 20 SOG) — As a team, the Leafs have only scored 18 goals in those eight contests, so there hasn't been a lot to pick up an assist on. His production pro-rates to 46 points, thanks to this dip, which sounds about right for Phaneuf and still gives him a solid bounce-back campaign.
Vinny Prospal, Columbus Blue Jackets (8-0-0-0, minus-3, 0 PIM, 12 SOG) — He's not shooting, he's not taking penalties and he's a minus player. Yes, an empty space on your roster has helped your team more than Prospal. After 27 points in his first 34 games, it was being hailed as a comeback year for Prospal. In the end though, the black hole that is this franchise's 2011-12 season has sucked in another victim.
Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres (12-1-1-2, minus-7, 6 PIM, 24 SOG) — He has 25 points in 25 games at home, but just 16 points in 24 road games. He has just gone six games in a row — all on the road —without a point. Buffalo plays two of three on the road before a run of eight out of nine games at home. So it would seem that help is on the way.
"Buy Low" pick of the week: Tuomo Ruutu, Carolina Hurricanes. Ruutu's skill is underrated. Now that he's in his prime and in a contract year, he should be building on his career high of 57 points of a year ago, instead of regressing. It's a month before the trade deadline. He's bound to be moved and that's when business will pick up for Ruutu owners.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Nik Antropov, Winnipeg Jets (5-3-3-6, plus-1, 6 PIM, 9 SOG) — Antropov has shown in the past that he can put up the points, but it has taken him 118 games to get 67 points after reaching that number in 2009-10 alone.
Colin Wilson, Nashville Predators (3-2-1-3, plus-2, 0 PIM, 9 SOG) — A big worry for fantasy owners when it comes to Wilson is his ice time. But he's played at least 17:15 in 10 of his last 11 games. The ice time is trending up, which should mean that the points will too.
Lars Eller, Montreal Canadiens (3-2-1-3, plus-2, 2 PIM, 7 SOG) —After going six games without a point on the heels of his five-point effort January 4, Eller has points in three straight. His ice time is creeping back up to the 15-16 minute range.
Kyle Clifford, Los Angeles Kings (8-2-2-4, plus-3, 24 PIM, 11 SOG) — Clifford is a great solution in roto leagues where you need an injury fill-in for a week or two. Because at worst, he'll be a great PIM guy. At best, he chips in the odd point, is a plus-player and he's shooting the puck more.
Mathieu Perreault, Washington Capitals (4-4-2-6, plus-5, 4 PIM, 10 SOG) — Perreault got another shot on Alex Ovechkin's line last week and picked up a pair of assists. Unfortunately, Ovechkin was suspended for the next three games. But Perreault scored a hat trick in Game 1 of the suspension, further endearing him to Coach Dale Hunter. His hold on a scoring line is still tenuous, but if he can pick up a point or two in these next two games, he'll get to play on a line with Ovechkin again. With Nicklas Backstrom still a ways off, Perreault could actually give you help for the long term.
Tom Gilbert, Edmonton Oilers (injured) — Gilbert is expected back this week and is notorious for his strong February/March streaks. Absolutely worth a flyer.
Gilbert Brule, Phoenix Coyotes (5-3-1-4, plus-2, 2 PIM, 10 SOG) — This is a risky one, given Brule's history of sucking ice time (still hovering around 12 minutes per game), but it's a new environment for him which often sparks players for the short-term.
For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you're at it, follow Dobber's fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.