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.
Happy New Year! As the turn of the calendar signals upcoming midseason fantasy drafts, decisions on rebuilding or a balls-to-the-walls, all-or-nothing charge for the title, we'll take a look at the hottest fantasy players of the past month. December rankings again courtesy of Frozen Pool:
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Kevin Bieksa, Vancouver Canucks (26-4-16-20, plus-16, 21 PIM, 54 SOG) —Take a second look at those numbers from the last 25 games. If only I had the inclination to go through my Twitter feed from early November and search for keywords "Bieksa" and "sucks". If that doesn't show how fickle fantasy hockey is, nothing will.
Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers (14-8-8-16, plus-11, 35 PIM, 39 SOG) — Hartnell has had such a great year that he actually ranks second behind Daniel Sedin in roto-ranking for 2011-12. Season to date, he's sixth in plus/minus, 11th in goals, 14th in power-play points, 32nd in penalty minutes and first in hair awesomeness.
PA Parenteau, New York Islanders (9-3-7-10, even, 12 PIM, 28 SOG) — If Garth Snow didn't give this guy a chance, Parenteau (like Moulson before him), would be a top AHL scorer this season. Instead, he's in the Top 35 in the NHL. How many AHLers are in the same boat, but minus the great opportunity? Plenty. But that's hockey politics. Not a top draft pick? Already well into your 20s? Back of the line!
"Sell High" pick of the week: Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche. Five points in his last six games pushes him over the 20-point mark. That should be enough to gain some interest in roto leagues. His plus-8 leads the Avs by a wide margin and the Matt Duchene injury frees up some more power-play time. Use that sentence in trade talks and you'll close the deal. Because more often than not, the production of a rookie remains steady or slips a little in the second half.
Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Dmitry Kulikov, Florida Panthers (11-0-0-0, minus-4, 10 PIM) — Other than a three-game stretch in early December, Kulikov has not been the same player since his lower body injury. To go from 17 points in 20 games to three in 18 is ouchie. Something's up.
Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche (7-0-0-0, even, 5 PIM, 19 SOG) — With five points in 15 games since his groin injury and nine in 21 before that, the decline is modest. But it relates to the arrival of Stefan Elliott, who is clearly the better PP QB. As such, do not expect things to turn around this year for E.J.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (5-0-0-0, minus-6, 6 PIM, 88 SOG) — Bah, he was due for a market correction anyway, having started off at such a hot clip. Oh, Ryan GETZLAF! I thought you said Ryan O'Reilly. But Ryan Getzlaf yeah, I don't know what's going on with that guy. After four straight seasons of tallying at least a point per game, Getzlaf would need 57 points in 45 games to do it again. Certainly possible, but even if it doesn't happen he's not going to get any worse. Worth grabbing, if his owner is giving you a discount.
"Buy Low" pick of the week: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens. The numbers: (1-6-0, 3.48 GAA, 0.889 SP). Fact 1: Peter Budaj is the backup. Fact 2: Lame-duck coach. They can't possibly stick with a coach whom the fans are against, through loss after loss. Given the above, Price will continue to play 99 percent of the games and a (hopefully soon) new coach will change some of these L's into W's. Right Bruce Boudreau? Oh, I mean…right Kirk Muller? Ah…well it's a theory that generally holds true, no?
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Jannik Hansen, Vancouver Canucks (16-7-6-13, plus-8, 6 PIM, 31 SOG) —Still only owned in 7% of leagues, Hansen has really found chemistry with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond. In fact, his hot run coincides with Raymond's return.
Viktor Stalberg, Chicago Blackhawks (7-4-3-7, plus-3, 4 PIM, 19 SOG) — While Stalberg needs to work on his consistency, as evidenced by one-shot games sandwiching a recent nine-shot game, he has really benefited playing on a line with stars. As long as that lasts, he belongs on your team.
T.J. Galiardi, Colorado Avalanche (5-1-2-3, plus-1, 6 PIM, 12 SOG) —The recent numbers won't knock you off your chair, but beggars can't be choosers. Galiardi has seen a bump in ice time thanks to the Duchene injury and he has shown chemistry with Paul Stastny, his current linemate, in the past.
Jamie McGinn, San Jose Sharks (11-4-3-8, plus-1, 4 PIM, 25 SOG) — McGinn's hot run may be over, but he's still shooting the puck a lot and the Sharks play 13 times in the next 22 nights. He was plus-6 over his last 24 games, so he'll help you there, too.
Stefan Elliott, Colorado Avalanche (11-2-4-6, plus-4, 4 PIM, 24 SOG) — The Avs have won eight of their last 10. Is that because of Elliott's presence, or is he hot right now or is he hot right now because the team is winning? Actually, I believe that his numbers of the last 10 games will be typical of what Elliott will do in most 10-game windows that you take a snapshot of throughout his career. He'll be that good.
Curtis Glencross, Calgary Flames (14-8-6-14, Even, 2 PIM, 27 SOG) — Still owned in just 29% of Yahoo! leagues, Glencross is having a career year. He's playing with Jarome Iginla, and has been for quite some time so don't expect the streaky Glencross to hit a wall any time soon.
Jason Arnott, St. Louis Blues (9-4-3-7, even, 4 PIM, 26 SOG) —The name "Arnott" doesn't carry the same weight that it once did in fantasy circles, but he does have his moments. Even if he's slumping, he's racking up the shots on goal and he'll help with plus/minus. It makes him a great No.4 center option.