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Dobber checks in every Thursday 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.
In a League in which some teams have played 23 or even 24 games, the fact that Boston has only played 20 can be used to your advantage. Not only for streaming purposes (28 games left in the Bruins' season), but also in terms of optics. It "looks" like some Boston players aren't doing as well as they actually are, because they "only" have 16 or 18 points, or they "only" have 30 or 35 hits. Some owners are so immersed in the stats that they fail to pay enough attention to the basics, such as "games remaining". Just putting that out there.
For this week's Frozen Pool chart, I thought I'd take a look at something different. Value. In other words, who is picking up decent points but being paid a lower salary? Here are the top "cost effective" players this season, so far:
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes (4-3-6-9, plus-7, 2 PIM, 10 SOG) – The line of Staal, Alex Semin and Jiri Tlusty is one of the hottest in the league right now. Since February 14:
Alexander Semin, Carolina Hurricanes (6-3-9-12, plus-8, 2 PIM, 18 SOG) – Amazingly, just one of these points have come on the power play. Looking at these stats…man, that's gotta drive Troy Brouwer nuts.
Nazem Kadri, Toronto Maple Leafs (5-4-5-9, plus-7, 2 PIM, 11 SOG) – The secret to Kadri's success this year? Body fat. The trick is to find a stupid topic for Leafs fans to overanalyze and get upset about. Then, when they're distracted by Tim Connolly-related matters, you sneak in there and make them pretend that they never had you going to Vancouver for Roberto Luongo.
Slava Voynov, Los Angeles Kings (17-4-9-13, plus-11, 6 PIM, 30 SOG) – Voynov is a key reason that Mike Richards and Jeff Carter get to drink play together again. Without Voynov showing that he was ready, Jack Johnson would not have been expendable. Now the 23-year-old has become one of the best offensive blueliners in the NHL - and a lot of poolies don't know it yet. Still just 56 percet owned, which is below the 73% mark that Mike Green boasts.
Somebody wake these guys up – their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars (4-0-1-1, minus-9, 17 PIM, 16 SOG) – After jotting the numbers down, I had to double-check that brutal plus/minus. Then I had to double-check that crazy PIM number. Needless to say, this is very un-Jamie-Benn-like and when contacted he tells me that he'll be switching jerseys back from brother Jordie soon.
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings (4-0-0-0, plus-1, 2 PIM, 8 SOG) – I love how - and I say this without sarcasm - Mike Babcock sticks to the Zetterberg-Damien Brunner line combination. Far too many coaches would have subbed in about 30 other players on that line by now, at first sign of a slump.
Pascal Dupuis, Pittsburgh Penguins (7-0-0-0, even, 4 PIM, 17 SOG) – He's back on the Sidney Crosby line. Now that Evgeni Malkin has returned James Neal moves out of Dupuis' spot. Regardless, it's odd that on one of Crosby's wings, a guy has 27 points while on the other wing a guy has 12. You could almost shift your defensive zone coverage to the Chris Kunitz side of the ice when that line is out.
Alex Edler, Vancouver Canucks (6-0-0-0, minus-1, 4 PIM, 17 SOG) – In Tuesday's game, Edler fired a season-high eight shots on goal, which is a great sign for shaking this 'not producing points' business.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Alex Killorn, Tampa Bay Lightning (10-4-3-7, plus-1, 2 PIM, 27 SOG) – This year, when it comes to rookies, everything Tampa Bay touches is gold. Besides the obvious Cory Conacher, there is the lesser-known Killorn (and the even lesser-known Ondrej Palat). With Brett Connolly and Tyler Johnson waiting in the wings, and Vladislav Namestnikov, Richard Panik, J.T. Brown and Nikita Kucherov on the way - I'm very interested in seeing this team's top six come 2015-16.
Jiri Tlusty, Carolina Hurricanes (13-11-5-16, plus-10, 6 PIM, 33 SOG) – Fantasy owners started catching on to Tlusty about two weeks ago and now he's up to 58 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues. But if you are lucky enough to see him on the wire, rest assured that Jiri Tlusty has indeed arrived. I had another jab at Leafs fans queued up, but in my contract with Puck Daddy I'm only allowed one of those per column.
Dustin Penner, Los Angeles Kings (6-1-4-5, plus-3, 6 PIM, 13 SOG) – On any a Sutter-coached team, Penner will always be a healthy-scratch risk. But right now he's playing on a line with Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. At the very least, that means he'll fluke some assists as Carter takes a run at the Rocket Richard Trophy (and, looking at his 15 goals and two assists, his Cy Young Award).
Matt Cullen, Minnesota Wild (7-2-5-7, plus-2, 6 PIM, 16 SOG) – Cullen's stats in roto hockey are just a step below Zach Parise's this season, yet his fantasy value is one-fiftieth of that.
Jake Muzzin, Los Angeles Kings (5-3-2-5, plus-3, 0 PIM, 9 SOG) – Everyone needs a defenseman, if there is any depth to your league at all. Muzzin makes a great No.5 or 6 guy and he's getting some PP time as well.
Jeff Petry, Edmonton Oilers (5-3-2-5, plus-2, 11 PIM, 10 SOG) – Sure, he only has five points this year…but he has all of them in the last five games. For some reason, the Oilers keep playing Ryan Whitney refuse to put Petry out on the power play, which is obviously a concern.
Dan Ellis, Carolina Hurricanes (0.923 SP on the year, 3-2-0 record) – With Cam Ward on the shelf until late April, Ellis will be the man between the pipes for the Hurricanes. Ellis had the sniffles last game, so Justin Peters got the start. But moving forward, Ellis will get the bulk of the starts.
Here's a new section in which I fire off a few names of players who may be at the very beginning of a nice little run. Just a gut feeling, but worth looking into and/or taking a chance on:
Joe Pavelski, San Jose; Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal; Colin McDonald, N.Y. Islanders; Derick Brassard, Columbus.
Also - sadly, Paul Bissonnette's three-game points streak came to an end February 28.