Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Western Conference playoff pool primer

Yahoo Fantasy Hockey: Western Conference playoff pool primer

Dobber launched his fantasy hockey website DobberHockey back in 2005 and has been Puck Daddy's resident fantasy hockey 'expert' since 2009.

Time for playoff pool drafts! And as always there will be a handful of players who perform far better than their draft position would indicate. Here are 10 players in the Western Conference who you shouldn’t sleep on. (Check out our Eastern Conference picks here.) These are in no particular order and not every Western Conference team will be represented (so put down the pitchforks Nashville fans).

Jakob Silfverberg, Anaheim Ducks – Silfverberg may not even reach the 40-point mark this season. But you may remember last year when he tallied 18 points in 16 playoff games. In his first 39 games of 2015-16 he had just six points, but in his last 39 games he’s picked up 30. And that includes 13 in his last 12. So he heads into the postseason on a roll.

Jamie McGinn, Anaheim Ducks – For a later round when all the obvious Ducks are off the board, McGinn makes for a solid pick. He has 12 points in 18 games with Anaheim. And while he is pointless in his last three, he’s also lining up with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and seeing a lot of power play time.

Andrew Shaw, Chicago Blackhawks – Shaw was enjoying a career season before hitting his current slump of three points in 14 games. However, business really picks up for him come playoff time. In his last 31 playoff games he tallied 19 points.

Cody Eakin, Dallas Stars – Eakin is a streaky producer because he bounces around from line to line. Coach Lindy Ruff once said that he uses Eakin as the spark to get a slumping line going, be it the first line or the checking line. He’s pointless in his last six but had nine points in seven games before that. His hard-working style is conducive to playoff hockey and he does have a track record of success when it counts. In his last WHL season he had 27 points in 19 playoff games for Kootenay en route to a Memorial Cup semi-final appearance. And in six career NHL playoff games he has five points. Call this one a hunch – if Dallas goes deep, Eakin will play a surprisingly big role in that.

Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings – Yes, Brown has gone from a steady and reliable 55-point player to suddenly turning into a steady and reliable 27-point player. In fact, if he is pointless in his final two games he’ll finish with 27 points. That’s his total from last year. And the year prior. But when the Kings won their last Cup in 2014, Brown had 14 points – that’s more than half of what he had in that entire regular season. The Kings’ captain steps it up.

Dwight King, Los Angeles Kings – If you like the Kings to go deep then you can safely draft King in the final round. He’ll still be there. After all, his career high is 30 points and he’s not likely to ever beat that number by more than a couple of points. But in the postseason the 6-4, 230-pound winger takes it to the next level. He has 24 points in 64 career NHL playoff games and he tallied 11 in 26 during the last Cup run.

Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild – Before getting first-line billing for the Wild Granlund had 13 points in 23 career playoff games. Now that he has that billing, look for him to find another gear. In each of the last two years the only Wild players to increase their points-per-game average in the playoffs are Granlund, Jared Spurgeon, Erik Haula and Nino Niederreiter.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks – Vlasic’s sudden breakout at the age of 29 is no fluke. A new coach means a new role, and this new role includes power-play time. Ten of his 40 points this season have come on the power play. Assuming he’s back from injury in time for Game 1, Vlasic will surprise if the Sharks go deep.

Joel Ward, San Jose Sharks – Ward is not known for putting up big points. He’s known for coming up big in the playoffs. You’d think that would be enough to take away his ‘sleeper’ card, but no. People still won’t give him respect for playoff production. He did get nine points in 14 playoff games the last time he was there (2014-15 with Washington). But he’s been doing it all along – 35 points in 53 career playoff games for 0.66 points-per-game. That easily tops his regular season career points-per-game of 0.44.

Robby Fabbri, St. Louis Blues – Fabbri (ankle) is currently sidelined but he’s set to come back any day now and almost certainly will be ready for the first playoff game. The rookie has just 37 points this season, which will ensure that he slips pretty deep in most drafts. But he has 19 points in his last 25 games. It took him 46 games to get his first 18 points.

When you prep for your playoff pool, don’t forget to pick up Dobber’s 10th annual Interactive NHL Playoff Draft List. Also follow Dobber @DobberHockey.