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.
Stephen and Steven have been the best fantasy owns of the past two weeks. Stephen Weiss continues to enjoy life on a line with actual hockey players Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann, picking up the third highest assist total in the league over the last two weeks. But as an added bonus, his 20 penalty minutes in the November 13 game against Philadelphia (the start of the report's two-week cutoff) mark nearly 50 percent of his career-high season total.
But that game is already in the books — the odds of him having another 20-minute PIM game are roughly equivalent to the odds of Carolina giving Tomas Kaberle a contract extension. As for the other Steven, Mr. Stamkos hasn't been elite in any one category but he has been pretty strong in all of them.
The big story in fantasy hockey is the same as the big story in real hockey — Sidney Crosby. The Kid has only been back for one week and yet he ranks fifth in a chart that measures a two-week window. Here's the snippet of the Frozen Pool report:
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets (6-5-2-7, plus-3, 8 PIM, 29 SOG) — It took seven games for Kane to see 17 minutes of ice time in a game. Since then, he's hit that mark 12 out of 15 games and the results are pretty clear given his 14 points in that span. He's on pace to top 300 shots on goal. Only six players hit that last season, just to give you an idea of how impressive that is. Given the shot total and the ice time, there is zero reason to believe that this is just a blip.
Jason Garrison, Florida Panthers (15-6-4-10, plus-8, 4 PIM, 39 SOG) — He's a household name, but only if you live in the Garrison household. It's not often that a player is drafted in 1 percent of Yahoo! Leagues or less, and within eight weeks he is owned in 57 percent of them. I need to see more for longer before I'm ready to consider him more than a 38-point player (which is still quite good, but obviously not as good as what we are seeing).
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (9-8-8-16, plus-8, 2 PIM, 33 SOG) —Toews is another one of those hot/cold players, but because his skill level is so much higher than most of the other "hot/cold" players, his cold runs are generally short. He has yet to earn a point in a game in which he didn't have a point in either the game before or the game after. No lonely assists for this guy, his points are always in bunches.
"Sell High" pick of the week: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers. Do I love watching him? Yes. Do I think he's a superstar already? Yep. But that doesn't change the fact that he's on pace for 84 points and the odds are extreme when it comes to betting against him reaching that number. It's rare to see a player reach 70 points as a freshman, let alone 84. A slowdown is imminent, especially with frequent linemate Taylor Hall now on the shelf with an injury. Will he slow down to 60 or 65 points? Probably not that far. But 70 is a fair number and if he can be flipped for an 80-point player plus an upgrade in another position on your team, then go for it.
Somebody wake these guys up — their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Michal Frolik, Chicago Blackhawks (8-0-0-0, minus-3, 2 PIM, 14 SOG) — I don't question his talent or his potential to be a first-line player. But "potential" and "getting there" are two different things. The first line on the Blackhawks is spoken for. So is most of the second line. Circumstance has hurt his chances of providing any help in your fantasy league and he may not ever get to that point. The best thing that could happen to him is a trade or an injury to a top sixer on this team.
Sheldon Souray, Dallas Stars (9-0-0-0, minus-2, 6 PIM, 27 SOG) — Since Alex Goligoski was knocked out of the lineup, it seems as though Souray can't get anything going. Until Goli returns, Souray needs to be over at Kelly Kelly's house on your bench.
Patric Hornqvist, Nashville Predators (5-0-0-0, minus-3, 2 PIM, 9 SOG) — Horny is at it again. The hot/cold streaks that this guy goes through puts Kristian Huselius to shame.
"Buy Low" pick of the week: John Tavares, N.Y. Islanders. He had 10 points in six games to start the year, but is pointless in his last five. Last week I suggested that you pursue Alex Ovechkin hard — and now he has a new coach and the points will come rolling in. The same thing could well happen to Tavares, who I think will flirt with 80 points this year and a new coach would only help the cause.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Ryan Jones, Edmonton Oilers (6-3-2-5, plus-3, 4 PIM, 14 SOG) —After 25 points a year ago, he's on pace for 38 this time around. Assuming Taylor Hall's ice time will be divvied up amongst a few players, Jones will be a beneficiary.
Magnus Paajarvi, Edmonton Oilers (numbers irrelevant) — The favorite to replace Hall on a scoring line, this is his big chance. I wouldn't be so bold as to activate him this week, but I would definitely make the waiver claim and sit him on my bench for the week. If he responds well, he'll be in my lineup next week. If not, no harm done.
Mathieu Perreault, Washington Capitals (10th in the league in points per 60 minutes of ice time at even strength) — A new coach in Dale Hunter prompts this recommendation. Call it a hunch, of which I boast a solid 52% success rate, but I think Perreault's hustle and clutch play will earn him regular duty. Finally.
Richard Bachman, Dallas Stars (numbers irrelevant) — With Kari Lehtonen on the shelf for what I think will be a couple of weeks but it could be longer, the Stars will turn to Andrew Raycroft, which is like the Blue Jackets turning to Steve Mason. Bachman, one of my favorite prospect goaltenders, will be between the pipes by the weekend. Call it another hunch.
T.J. Brodie, Calgary Flames (5-1-2-3, plus-2, 2 PIM, 5 shots) — With Anton Babchuk on the shelf, Brodie is their second-best offensive option on the blueline behind Mark Giordano. His minutes are still down around 14 per game, but this sheltered transition into the NHL will ensure that his plus/minus remains solid.
Zack Kassian, Buffalo Sabres (2-1-1-2, plus-2, 2 PIM, 3 SOG) — With points in each of his first two NHL games, Kassian is making a Luke Adam kind of splash. He adds much-needed size to the roster - if you stack his linemates Derek Roy and Nate Gerbe on top of one another, Kassian will still be bigger. As long as Tyler Ennis and Brad Boyes remain sidelined, Kassian will continue to prove that he belongs at this level.
Tyler Bozak, Toronto Maple Leafs (9-6-5-11, even, 8 PIM, 26 SOG) — I wasn't going to note him here, but thought I would check the Yahoo! ownership percentage anyway, just in case. I was shocked to see the number at a mere 17 percent. His numbers over the past three weeks speak for themselves.