Here are some fellows from the Eastern Conference worth a look-see in your upcoming playoff pool draft.
The Obvious: Marc Savard, David Krejci, Phil Kessel, Tim Thomas, Dennis Wideman, Zdeno Chara, Michael Ryder.
Not So Obvious: Krejci has just 13 points in his last 26 games…After just two points in his first six games as a Bruin, Recchi has six in his last four…
Dark Horses: Chuck Kobasew has eight points in his last 10 games. When healthy, he has shown to be quite productive this season; Milan Lucic has all the tools to be that playoff warrior that becomes a legend. If the B’s play 15 postseason games, Lucic could get 10 or 12 points.
The Obvious: Ray Whitney, Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu, Rod Brind’Amour, Cam Ward, Sergei Samsonov.
Not So Obvious: Samsonov has 44 points in the last 58 games, which is a 62-point pace…Brind’Amour found his magic anti-aging juice around the trade deadline day. He has 16 points in his last 12 games…
Dark Horses: Matt Cullen had 26 points in 25 games prior to his lower body injury. He’ll be fine for the playoffs and could be back in that form; Joe Corvo has 10 points in his last 11 games. His surge coincides with the rest of the team finding their offensive mojo. So which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well – if both are producing, then feel free to draft the egg; Erik Cole is a dark horse only in the sense that he has 37 points this season. Don’t overrate him, however. Even on the Hurricanes, he is not the point-per-game player he looked to be before all his injuries. In 15 games he’ll get you 10 points and no more.
The Obvious: Stephen Weiss, David Booth, Cory Stillman, Nathan Horton, Jay Bouwmeester and Tomas Vokoun.
Not So Obvious: Weiss has 38 points in the last 43 contests…Booth had streaks of 16 in 11 and 11 in six. That means that in the other 49 games he had just 24 points. That screams “streaky”. So he’ll either be hot in the playoffs or he’ll be a huge bust – be careful…After 65 points in 45 games last year in junior, Michal Frolik had just six points in nine playoff contests – and was a minus-4.
Dark Horses: Goaltender Craig Anderson has started and won two games in a row. If the Panthers get into the playoffs on his back then he’ll backstop them once they get there, as well; Gregory Campbell will probably be used to shut down the opposition’s big guns, but he is a great candidate to be this year’s Sami Pahlsson-type and post eight points in 15 games.
The Obvious: Andrei Markov, Alexei Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Andrei Kostitsyn, Alex Tanguay.
Not So Obvious: Since the minor Kostitsyn controversy that was all over the Montreal papers, Sergei played his way back to the American League (and is pointless since his recall) and Andrei has stumbled with just two points in 14 games. Steer clear of both…You can kid yourself into believing that Jaroslav Halak is a better goaltender than Carey Price, or that he has earned the top job. Doesn’t matter, regardless of the level of truth of those statements. The Habs will be riding Price every second they can…Robert Lang’s return will hurt Tomas Plekanec, who put up horrible numbers while Lang was in the lineup but strong numbers when Lang was hurt, so watch for that.
Dark Horses: Lang may not return until the second round, or perhaps he’ll catch some first round games. Regardless, he led the team in scoring before he suffered the injury to his Achilles tendon; Since joining the Habs for his second stint, Mathieu Schneider has 13 points in 18 contests.
The Obvious: Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner, Travis Zajac, Brian Gionta and Martin Brodeur.
Not So Obvious: Brendan Shanahan has just eight points in his last 22 games. Regardless of his track record, stay away…This is a two-line team, so barring an injury to one of their top six, you won’t see points from the likes of Shanny, John Madden, Bobby Holik or Brian Rolston.
Dark Horse: Defenseman Paul Martin has 14 points in his last 17 games and is the man the Devil’s turn to run the power play.
The Obvious: Nikolai Zherdev, Nik Antropov, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Michal Rozsival, Henrik Lundqvist.
Not So Obvious: Drury has 10 points in 12 games since Antropov joined the squad…Markus Naslund has just four points in those same 12 games. Another big name who you should steer clear of…Rozsival had just one point in 11 games prior to his lower body injury…
Dark Horses: Ryan Callahan is on fire and he plays with the hustle and spark needed in the postseason. He has 10 points in his last 11 games; Sean Avery is playing very well in his return to New York. He has nine points in 12 games.
The Obvious: Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Scott Hartnell, Daniel Briere, Kimmo Timonen.
Not So Obvious: Five times this year Joffrey Lupul has gone through stretches of at least three games without a point…Mike Knuble has just eight points in his last 17 games.
Dark Horses: Martin Biron has started 10 of the last 11 games and won seven of them. He heats up every season at the right time; Claude Giroux will be a prolific producer in the NHL and he is seeing plenty of ice time right now. It’s very feasible that he puts up numbers at least as good as what Hartnell can do.
The Obvious: Chris Kunitz, Bill Guerin, Petr Sykora, Marc-Andre Fleury, Sergei Gonchar. Oh, and some guys named Sid and Evgeni.
Not So Obvious: Miroslav Satan has seven points in six AHL games. The salary cap will keep him out of the league during the regular season. It won’t be a factor for the postseason…Since the trade deadline, Sykora has one point in eight games. That’s the impact of adding Kunitz and Guerin.
Dark Horses: Kris Letang has eight points in 11 games. Clearing Ryan Whitney off the roster is really helping his numbers; Jordan Staal frequently plays 20 minutes a game and is out there during crunch time.
The Obvious: Anyone named Alex. Also Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Viktor Kozlov Jose Theodore.
Not So Obvious: Tomas Fleischmann and Eric Fehr have shown that they can produce, but both are immersed in a horrible slump and not worth taking unless a key injury strikes the roster…Michael Nylander is not the same player anymore. Just stay away…Laich has nine points in his last 10 games. He was hot down the stretch last year as well, and he carried that into the postseason.
Dark Horses: Sergei Fedorov still produces in spurts and occasionally the coach throws him on a line with Alexander Ovechkin. If you like the Caps to go deep, he’d be a decent pick in the final round; Fleischmann has just one point in 17 games during his horrible slump. To look at it in a more positive light – he had 31 points in 50 games before that, so the potential is there.