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.
The NHL trade deadline is in six days - as it is in most fantasy leagues, too. Some owners like to target those players who are on the trading block, in hopes that they are moved to a more favorable situation. I'm guilty of that myself. But the reality is, unless he's a winger going to the Penguins a prospect going to a rebuilding team, the move that you're making strictly on the hope of his production surging after a trade has as much downside as it does upside. Stay focused on the current situation - the best way to avoid overpaying.
This week's Frozen Pool takes a look at the top roto players of the last two weeks heading into Wednesday's games.What do these 20 players have in common? None of them are on the trading block.
These fellas are wielding a hot stick. Take that into consideration when you go after them in trade talks...
Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets (9-2-8-10, minus-1, 6 PIM, 32 SOG, 5 PPPts) Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom really complement each other. And not just because cloning them and putting 20 of them together in a line looks like a UPC code. But you have the big, hard-hitting shooter beside the smaller, slick-passing finesse. Enstrom is back from injury now, so watch these two go to work.
Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs (4-6-1-7, plus-5, 8 PIM, 14 SOG) Injuries and suspensions behind him, Lupul is now back in his familiar spot alongside Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel. Last year he emerged as a point-per-game player and as long as he can pretend Bozak is a first-line center stay healthy, the numbers will continue.
Derek Stepan, New York Rangers (14-7-9-16, plus-4, 4 PIM, 27 SOG, 5 PPPts) In the last 14 games, Stepan has more points than Marian Gaborik (seven) and Brad Richards (six) combined. Now his ice time has crept above the latter two vets and is actually second on the team in TOI among forwards behind Ryan Callahan.
Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks (4-0-0, 0.73 GAA, 0.970 SP, 2 SO) Before this five-game winning streak, Schneider held a 6-5-3 record and had sat on the bench for four games watching Roberto Luongo get the starts. Nine days have gone by since that 'low' and everyone in Vancouver has relaxed.
Somebody wake these guys up their fantasy owners are counting on them...
Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues (0-2-0, 4.29 GAA, 0.769 SV%, yanked once) Just like it's been in Vancouver, the goaltending situation in St. Louis has been a roller coaster ride. Except with the Blues, the 'downward' part has lasted a lot longer. So Jaroslav Halak sucks and Jake Allen is a superstar. And now Halak doesn't suck anymore, he's actually great. But Allen sucks. Hopefully this suck/not suck pattern will stop soon. Thankfully, we don't have to go through such a roller coaster with Brian Elliott. He's been pretty consistent with his suckiness.
Alexander Semin, Carolina Hurricanes (3-0-0-0, minus-5, 2 PIM, 7 SOG) This is precisely the reason why forward-thinking Jim Rutherford only signed Semin to a one-year deal. He knew all about Semin's inconsistency. So after Semin proves himself for 48 games, I'm sure Rutherford will reward him with a two or even three-year extension, though probably not for his current $7 million given that the salary cap drops next year. So Semin will play hard and
I'm sorry? Oh.
James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs (7-0-1-1, minus-6, 0 PIM, 12 SOG) Something is off with JVR. Going back a month, to February 27, van Riemsdyk is a minus-9. Whatever the reason for the spiral, he should be benched in fantasy leagues.
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks (10-1-3-4, plus-1, 0 PIM, 31 SOG) Sedin owners should be troubled by this - Daniel tallied 10 points in the seven games that Ryan Kesler was in the lineup, but just 19 in 26 when Kesler is out.
Mostly short-term grabs here, but as always some potential steals...
Martin Erat, Nashville Predators (3-1-6-7, plus-1, 0 PIM, 7 SOG) Erat owners have been waiting all season for this. If you bailed on him a week ago, shame on you. You know what he's like - pointless in seven followed by 12 points in seven. He's done it for years. We call this phenomena 'The Huselius'.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Minnesota Wild (7-2-7-9, plus-5, 0 PIM, 11 SOG) Scratched for three games in mid-March, PMB returned to the lineup a new man. Or maybe it was the 'old' Bouchard we saw prior to his concussion issues.
Michael Frolik (2-2-1-3, plus-1, 2 PIM, 7 SOG) Until this point, Frolik has been a PK specialist on the Hawks. I use this term a lot with him, but it's like using a race car to plow the field. Now he's playing on a line with Jonathan Toews and seeing decent ice time. These last two games mark the first two times all season in which he has seen more than 16 minutes of ice time.
Marcus Johansson, Washington Capitals (4-1-4-5, plus-4, 0 PIM, 3 SOG) He's now on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and until that stops, the production will probably be reasonably close to where it is currently at.
Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild (14-4-8-12, plus-11, 0 PIM, 20 SOG, 5 PPPts) Although he's been paired up with Clayton Stoner (who is also on a decent streak), Spurgeon is on the first power-play unit with Ryan Suter - and the Wild PP has been humming of late.
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (6-2-6-8, 2PIM, minus-2, 11 SOG) After 27 games he had seven points, but six games later he has another eight. Who does he think he is, Martin Erat? Josi has been paired with Shea Weber at even strength all season, but only in the last 10 or 15 games has he also been paired with him on the power play.
Steve Oleksy, Washington Capitals (4-0-2-2, plus-2, 13 PIM, 1 SOG) The 27-year-old rookie is a fine option for penalty minutes or hits. Oleksy should deliver if you are lacking in either physical category. The points have been a nice bonus.
Here's where I'll 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:
Roman Cervenka, Calgary; Mikael Backlund, Calgary; Rich Peverley, Boston; David Moss, Phoenix; Joe Pavelski, San Jose; Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles; Erik Condra, OttawaFor more fantasy hockey tips, take a gander at DobberHockey. And while youre at it, follow Dobbers fantasy hockey musings on Twitter.