Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009.
Sidney Crosby is a man on a mission. After seemingly doing all he could to get out of the All-Star Game the proper way (not getting invited) and thereby avoiding suspension if he missed it the old-fashioned way, he has really made up for lost time. But will it be enough to catch Patrick Kane in the scoring race? Heading into Thursday night’s contest, Sid sat 23 points back but he had five games in hand. And the way things are going these days, five games for Crosby is about eight points. So call it a 15-point deficit.
Here are the NHL’s Top 30 scorers since and prior to the New Year...
Before December 31, Crosby wasn’t in the Top 30 at all. Or even in the Top 50.
Also of note, one of the more underrated players in fantasy (and real) hockey is Evgeny Kuznetsov. When he sat 24th at the end of 2015 most owners expected him to slow down. But since then he’s been third in league scoring ... And then there’s Old Man Thornton (I can say this and still be respectful because I’m older). Jumbo Joe was nowhere near the Top 50 at the end of the year, but he’s third in scoring since then ... John Tavares sits 36th in league scoring since January 1, but he has 11 points in his last 10 games and is starting to heat up ... Newcomer Shayne Gostisbehere missed three games with an injury and yet still manages to sit 24th in scoring in 2016.
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens (4-3-5-8, plus-6, 2 PIM, 11 SOG, 1 PPPts) – While Max Pacioretty continues to flounder as he tries to recapture his magic with David Desharnais, Plekanec is picking up the slack.
Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets (6-5-3-8, plus-6, 4 PIM, 23 SOG) – Just 32% owned and you can thank Cam’s streakiness for that. With a little more consistency he’d be twice that. He’s on pace for 53 points, which easily beats his career high of 40. He also has a history of finishing strong, so this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning (13-3-11-14, plus-5, 4 PIM, 33 SOG, 5 PPPts) – This streak is on the heels of a cold string of 29 games and just eight points. It was looking ugly, but then again so was the rest of the team. Now Hedman is back on track and on a 50-point pace.
Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks (15-2-2-4, minus-4, 0 PIM, 27 SOG, 3 PPPts) – Marleau slows in the second half. And it looks like 36-year-old Marleau slows in the second half even faster. On one hand, it’s nice to see him help out a bit with the PP points. On the other hand…he needs the power play to help him get any points at all. I moved him and Patrick Sharp for David Perron and Andre Burakovsky last week and I feel good about it.
Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres (8-0-2-2, minus-9, 2 PIM, 16 SOG, 2 PPPts) – Ristolainen was really humming along. Even after the recent eight-game skid he’s still on pace for 50 points. So it’s weird that his power-play opportunities are astonishingly high. Over the last nine or 10 games he’s seen close to 80% of the available PP time, yet his season average is 56.3% of Buffalo’s PP time.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (11-2-1-3, plus-2, 4 PIM, 38 SOG, 1 PPPts) – In the last seven games, St. Louis managed just seven goals. Is that because Tarasenko isn’t producing? Or is he not producing because his teammates aren’t scoring?
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks (54%) (22-4-14-18, plus-4, 9 PIM, 44 SOG, 4 PPPts) – Yes, Vlasic is 54% owned. But he should be 85% owned. Fantasy leagues with any kind of depth to them should value 50-point defensemen. And that’s exactly what Vlasic is. I know this is a bit of shocker given his track record of producing in the high-20s. But thanks to a new coach he’s being deployed differently and he’s seeing a lot of power-play time.
Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators (14%) (9-2-6-8, plus-4, 12 PIM, 15 SOG, 2 PPPts) – Since Seth Jones was traded Ekholm has been seeing a lot more power-play time. On this list two weeks ago, Ekholm’s ownership has only risen by 2%. He has 10 points in the 14 games since the Jones-Ryan Johansen deal.
Ben Scrivens, Montreal Canadiens (15%) (3-0-0, 1.30 GAA, .959 SV%) – Back from the dead? We thought Scrivens was done and done. Michel Therrien is desperate for wins and now he has Scrivens providing them. So Therrien will ride the hot hand here and hope it will last until Carey Price returns.
Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals (17%) (11-6-8-14, plus-6, 0 PIM, 23 SOG, 1 PPPts) – Two weeks ago Burakovsky was just 4% owned, so poolies are catching on quickly. He’s firmly set on a productive line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams. I believe in him enough to pretty much trade Patrick Sharp as part of a package (noted above) for him.
Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild (10%) (5-2-3-5, minus-1, 2 PIM, 10 SOG, 4 PPPts) – The Wild are struggling right now and with Jonas Brodin out for the long term and Jared Spurgeon battling an injury, Dumba is seeing a spike in his ice time. And he’s pulling through with some production which could be enough to keep his ice time even after the others return.
Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks (4%) (9-5-4-9, minus-1, 6 PIM, 27 SOG, 1 PPPts) – There’s been some line juggling in Anaheim, but rest assured Rakell will be playing on line with Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, or both.
Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers (36%) (9-3-9-12, plus-7, 8 PIM, 21 SOG, 3 PPPts) – The streaky Jokinen is at it again. His linemates (Reilly Smith – 20% and Vincent Trocheck – 41%) are also on fire and worth grabbing if you need help up front.
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