Fantasy Hockey: Jonathan Toews is a stud; Pekka Rinne is a dud

Dobber checks in every Thursday to force-feed you the latest fantasy hockey trends. The founder of and a columnist for The Hockey News website, he long ago immersed himself into this roller coaster world and is unable to escape.

I'm not about to suggest that the Calgary Flames and the San Jose Sharks are great teams. But in fantasy hockey, a player's sudden hot streak often goes hand-in-hand with the team's situation.

In the case of Calgary, they are the only team to still have 21 games left. Those extra games will help more than you'd think. Couple that with a Jarome Iginla trade, and things could 'pop' for some of the players.

Not for Alex Tanguay, who has had Iginla on the ice for 17 of his 21 points. But for the other players who haven't been relying on Iginla, and will see more ice time.

The Sharks have been sputtering for so long that it's at the point where another two or three losses these next four games could spell the end of their coach and/or GM. Whenever something like that happens, the players on the affected team will respond positively. Acquiring a Calgary or San Jose player doesn't get any easier than it does right now.

This week's Frozen Pool snippet shows the hottest players in their last 10 games played, including any current hot or cold streaks:


These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (10-7-7-14, plus-9, 0 PIM, 30 SOG) – Baby steps. Take a look at Toews' year-over-year points-per-game average…

2008-09 - 0.84
2009-10 - 0.89
2010-11 - 0.95
2011-12 - 0.97
2012-13 - 1.00

Not only do you gotta love the direction the numbers are heading, but you also have to appreciate the consistency.

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning (10-2-10-10, plus-2, 4 PIM, 7 SOG) – After finishing with fewer than 80 points for just the second time since 2003, poolies considered the 37-year-old St. Louis on the decline. Perhaps they were right… if by "on the decline" they meant "full of awesomeness".

P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens (10-4-8-12, plus-2, 2 PIM, 40 SOG) – Two things about the new Subban - the shot totals are way up and the penalty minute totals are way down. While 35 points, 120 PIM and 200 SOG are great in an 82-game season - poolies would still prefer 65 points, 50 PIM and 250 SOG. And that seems to be what we have here now.

Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings (4-0-2, 1.29 GAA, 0.956 SP, 1 SO) – Although the Red Wings were soundly spanked by Sergei Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets in a home-and-home set last week, Howard emerged from that virtually unscathed. He didn't get the start in their regulation loss, and played well in their shootout loss. Sandwich that on each side by two wins, and what you have is a hot goalie. In his last seven starts, Howard has not given up more than two goals in a game.


Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...

Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators (0-2-0, 5.23 GAA, 0.803 SV%, yanked twice) – Nothing kills a good fantasy team more than a stud Top 3 goalie crapping the bed for four games. Because you don't even see it coming. There you are walking down the street and whistling a happy tune, when 'splat' - four seagulls fly by and drop some of the white stuff on you. Rinne had allowed one goal in three games…pushing a lot of fantasy teams to the top of their league. Why on earth would you bench him after that? But then…this.

Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues (0-2-0, 4.53 GAA, 0.810 SP - also, he's not really playing, which is kind of important) – Jake Allen has stepped in to fill the void left by the sudden departure of Halak and Brian Elliott. Now if we can only figure out who those people are that are wearing the Halak and Elliott jerseys for the Blues.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes (8-0-1-1, minus-3, 4 PIM, 18 SOG) – After getting shut out three games in a row, the Phoenix player stats obviously look Coyote ugly. OEL is no exception. But he had one point in seven games back in early February and bounced back from that slump big time. He's been there, done that, so I wouldn't be worried.

Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes (5-0-0-0, minus-4, 0 PIM, 13 SOG) – This one is concerning. Skinner has just four points in 12 games since coming back from a concussion. Sometimes the return to expected productivity can be slow after an injury like that.

The Wire...

Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...

Bryan Bickell, Chicago Blackhawks (13-4-6-10, plus-5, 14 PIM, 21 SOG) – Already just seven points shy of last year's total, Bickell is turning into one of those power forwards who blossoms in their late 20s. He's shooting the puck a little more and in the last 13 contests his ice time has crept upward by about two minutes per game.

Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks (8-1-9-10, plus-6, 0 PIM, 17 SOG) – The 20-year-old rookie is suddenly in the Calder conversation after kicking off the season with a mere five points in 21 games. Since then his ice time and shot totals have surged, and with them have come the points.

Kyle Okposo, N.Y. Islanders (9-2-5-7, minus-1, 16 PIM, 22 SOG) – The seventh overall pick had 52 points in his second full season. Since then Okposo has shown no desire to move anywhere but sideways. Were it not for his three points in his last two games, he would be tied with Erik Condra of the Senators - who was drafted 204 picks after he was.

Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning (4-1-3-4, plus-5, 0 PIM, 3 SOG) – Poolies don't care if his minutes are sheltered. We don't even care if he makes funny faces. All we care about is the end result - and Johnson's AHL production is translating well to the bigs.

Jarret Stoll, Los Angeles Kings (19-5-7-12, plus-5, 18 PIM, 24 SOG)Besides living the good life, Stoll is also making himself a decent fantasy option, if you need some depth at center.

Patrick Wiercioch, Ottawa Senators (9-4-4-8, plus-4, 26 SOG) – In the 16 games that Erik Karlsson has been on the shelf, Wiercioch played 15 of them and has 10 points. After a couple of up-and-down pro years, the 22-year-old has taken a huge step forward this season and has established himself as one of the better up-and-coming blueliners in the league.

Matt Irwin, San Jose Sharks (7-4-2-6, minus-5, 2 PIM, 26 SOG, 3 PPG) – If you are lacking in shots on goal, look no further than this guy. Just be prepared to take a bit of a plus/minus hit. Irwin, who was signed as a free agent but never drafted, is considered the No. 2 PP guy for the Sharks after Dan Boyle.

Heating Up?

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:

Charlie Coyle, Minnesota; Ryan O'Reilly, Colorado; Martin Havlat, San Jose; Michael Del Zotto; Guillaume Latendresse, Ottawa; Tomas Fleischmann, Florida; Ville Leino, Buffalo;

For more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while you’re at it, follow Dobber’s fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.

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