Sunday, November 1, 2009

Just Fantasy Hockey: Saturday Night Round-Up

There were 11 games in the NHL last night. Lets break down the key fantasy performers in each.

BOS defeats EDM 2-0
Bruins Centre Vladimir Sobotka had a goal and an assist in just 10:12 of ice-time. Sobotka was one of JFH's "Deeper Sleepers" as he was expected to lock down a spot on one of Boston's top 3 lines after the Phil Kessel trade. The talented pivot had played very well in the AHL over the past couple of seasons but couldn't crack the deep Bruins' roster. With the injury to Marc Savard, Sobotka has become the 3rd line centre in Beantown and is developing great chemistry with hulking winger Blake Wheeler. Sobotka has 3 points in 5 games, while averaging just 10:34 of ice-time. Look for his icetime to gradually rise and his production should follow. Our "Deeper Sleeper" projection of 39 points is still quite possible. Grab him off FA if you need a depth centre with upside.

PHI defeats CAR 6-1
Philly Dman Matt Carle had a goal and 2 assists while playing 24:38. Carle is off to a great start this season with 12 points in 11 games. More importantly, he's averaging 25:07 a game as he is finally being trusted to play in all situations. Carle has struggled since setting a career high of 42 points in his rookie season with San Jose. Since then, he has been moved to Tampa Bay, then Philly as he struggles to find consistency in his game. The 25 year-old now looks very confident on the Flyers' blueline. He has always had great offensive instincts but now looks to be bringing them every night. While he won't keep this pace up, Carle should be able to set new career highs this year. See if you can get him off an owner who thinks his hot start is just a mirage.

ATL defeats OTT 3-1
Thrashers' Goalie Ondrej Pavelec absolutely stood on his head in this game stopping 50 shots for the victory. The Thrashers are high on this 22 year-old goalie and expected him to battle incumbent Kari Lehtonen for starts this season. Well, with Lehtonen assuming his natural position on IR, Pavelec has had the opportunity to run with the #1 job and he hasn't disappointed. Pavelec comes with a pedigree as he was a 2nd round pick in 2005 and has been dominant at the AHL level. Grab this youngster if you are in a keeper league as his future looks bright.

NJ defeats TB 2-1
Not a lot of fantasy news in this game, but Lightning winger Steven Stamkos did notch his 10th of the year. He now has 10 goals and 15 points in just 11 games and looks to be the Lightning's most dangerous forward each game. Stamkos is the real deal and will be treated with superstar status entering next year's draft. See if you can trade for him now as he will only get more expensive as the season progresses.

MTL defeats Toronto 5-4
Leafs Dman Tomas Kaberle put up a goal and 3 assists in this game. He now has an amazing 10 points in his past 4 games and leads all NHL Dman with 17 points this season. While Kaberle won't keep up this torrid pace, we always expected him to have a bounce back year. Surrounded by tougher players, Kaberle is feeling more confident and comfortable with his role on the ice. His great vision should allow him to flirt with 60 points this year. Grab him if you can but don't overpay for the past 4 games.

NYI defeat BUF 5-0
A bit of a shocker in Long Island as the Isles spanked one of the League's hottest teams. Islander winger Jeff Tambellini scored a hat trick in only 13:14 on the ice. Tambellini now has 6 goals and 7 points in just 8 games, while averaging a mere 11:54 a night. Tambellini tore up the AHL whenever he was down there, but hadn't been able to solidify a regular spot on the Isles. He played 65 games with the big club last year but only registered 7 goals and 15 points. A highly-skilled winger, Tambellini could find himself playing with John Tavares in the near future. Keep an eye on him and be ready to pounce if his ice-time increases.

MIN defeats PIT 2-1
Not much to talk about here, other then a great game by Wild Goalie Niklas Backstrom. Backstrom made 34 saves for his 5th victory of the season. He has great numbers with a 2.50 GAA and a .916 SV%, however his 5 wins in 12 games is his downfall. Backstrom is a top goalie if your league features GAA and SV% categories but is nothing more then an average goalie in leagues that only reward Goalie Wins.

FLA defeats STL 4-0
Panthers' Centre Nathan Horton had a goal and an assist in 19:47 of ice-time. Horton now has 7 points in his past 3 games and 10 points in 12 games on the year. Horton is putting it together after a slow start and is on pace to flirt with his career high of 62 points. Horton always seems to run hot and cold but would be much more valuable if he gets traded out of Florida. That said, at 24, he could be primed for a breakout year. If you can get him cheap, go for it.

NSH defeats DAL 4-2
Pred's winger JP Dumont had 2 assists in 17:15 of ice-time and now has 11 points in just 9 games.
If you take out his 5 point game against OTT, Dumont has 6 points in 8 games which is about what you can expect from the crafty veteran. See if you can sell high on Dumont as he has never been a point-per-game player and is not about to at 31 years of age. His career high is 72 points so don't expect any more then that, regardless of his hot start.

PHX defeats ANA 3-2
Another of our "Deeper Sleepers," Ducks Dman James Wisniewski had an assist and 2 fights for 10 PIMS last night. Wisniewski now has 9 assists in 9 games and 16 PIMS while averaging 25:24 of ice-time. He is playing in all situations, including time on a talented Ducks PP. James has always possessed grit, skill and smarts, but has struggled to stay healthy for an entire season. If he can stay healthy, he could be a top 20 Dman this season. Grab him off FA if he is still there or see if you can get him cheap off an owner who doesn't appreciate Wisniewski's great start.

DET defeats CAL 3-1
Big story here is a decent performance from Wings Goalie Chris Osgood. Ozzie made 20 saves for the victory, putting in his best effort of the season. There has been a lot of talk about the Wings needing another goalie but be patient with Osgood. He has always been a hot and cold goalie and had a tough start to the year. If he can string together a couple of good games, he'll keep his stranglehold on the #1 job. Keep a close eye on this situation.


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