lecavalier

 

Here is the final chapter in the Eastern “Fantasy Indicators of Success” series. Last week covered Wingers and what was important to their success. This week’s focus is on Eastern Conference Centers (as listed by NHL.com).

 



Like the Wingers, Centers also need quality minutes in order to produce. One statistic that I find important in addition to the ice times is shots on goal (SOG). The problem is that most pivots tend to be assist heavy. Statistics include Tuesday night’s games.


Atlanta Thrashers

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Todd White

17:29

3:51

41

36

73

Bryan Little

16:13

3:24

40

32

89

Erik Christensen

15:14

2:42

27

11

61




Atlanta – Not many players hit career highs at 33 years of age, but that’s just what Todd White is probably going to do this year. He is on pace to score 38 power play points. Bryan Little has already doubled last season’s 16 points in eight fewer games and was on pace to quadruple his rookie points total. Hopefully his bruised ribs won’t keep him out for long. Erik Christensen has three points in his last five games.


Boston Bruins

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Marc Savard

19:26

3:47

40

49

105

Patrice Bergeron

18:02

3:12

31

18

69

David Krejci

16:46

2:28

40

41

66



Boston – Marc Savard should finish with his third 95 point season in four years. Patrice Bergeron is battling another concussion and while the prognosis looks good, I would avoid him like the plague in any keeper pool. David Krejci continues to progress by leaps and bounds. He is proving to be quite a force to be reckoned with. I challenge you to find anyone who thought before this season started, that Krejci would be a point per game player as early as this year.


Buffalo Sabres

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Derek Roy

21:45

4:08

40

38

109

Tim Connolly

17:53

4:04

6

7

16

Jochen Hecht

17:25

1:11

30

13

68

Paul Gaustad

15:55

1:37

26

10

52




Buffalo – Derek Roy has seven points in his last three games and looks like he is a legitimate point per game player. Hard to believe Tim Connolly, in his first four seasons played 81, 82, 82 and 80 games. In his last three seasons, he has played in 63, 2 and 48 games. This season he will play no more than 48 games. Jochen Hecht is having his worst season since 2001-02, but he should be better in the second half. He has been a fairly consistent player over the last several seasons. Paul Gaustad is more checker than scorer, but is decent in deeper pools that value penalty minutes.


Carolina Hurricanes

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Eric Staal

21:20

4:34

41

31

171

Rod Brind’Amour

20:29

3:33

41

26

70

Tuomo Ruutu

18:54

3:54

38

25

79

Matt Cullen

15:31

2:01

36

12

64




Carolina – Eric Staal has 16 points in his last 14 games. He’ll hit for at least 70 again this year, something that was questionable after starting the season with ten points in 19 games. Rod Brind’Amour is likely single-handedly killing some fantasy squads with his minus-25. Tuomo Ruutu could record career highs in both goals (23) and points (44). Matt Cullen has had 40 points or more five times, but is only on pace for 25 points this year. He is in a huge slump right now, with only two points in his last 15 games.


Florida Panthers

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Nathan Horton

18:57

4:02

31

19

62

Stephen Weiss

18:19

3:41

36

26

63

Michael Frolik

14:00

2:11

37

17

67

Greg Campbell

16:47

1:13

35

16

65




Florida – Following back-to-back 62 point seasons, Nathan Horton is on pace to regress back to below the 50 point mark. One positive sign is that he has four points in his last four games. I’ve been expecting Stephen Weiss to take it up a notch for the last two seasons. With nine points in his last seven games, he just might come close to the 60 point mark when all is said and done this year. Michael Frolik is having a decent rookie season. He’s scored 15 points in his last 17 games. I wonder if the NHL and Colin Campbell have a plan in case Greg Campbell does something that gets him called in for some supplementary discipline. I’m sure it would be a case of tough love!


Montreal Canadiens

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Saku Koivu

17:12

3:46

28

22

61

Tomas Plekanec

17:56

3:28

38

16

99

Robert Lang

17:14

3:17

38

27

80



Montreal – Saku Koivu is on pace to repeat last season’s numbers and is likely back in the line up this weekend. After last year’s 29 goal, 69 point effort, expectations were much higher than Tomas Plekanec’s current 15 goal, 34 point pace. Plekanec has a track record of being a second half performer and I have a feeling he’s going to start lighting it up soon. The last time Robert Lang scored less than 50 points was nine seasons ago. The 38-year-old Czech is currently on pace for almost 60 points, NOT including the hat trick he recorded last night!


New Jersey Devils

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Travis Zajac

19:16

3:11

39

28

94

Brian Rolston

15:29

3:02

21

8

55

John Madden

17:07

0:10

33

11

53




New Jersey – Travis Zajac is only four points off his entire points total from last season and on pace for almost 60 points. He’s taking advantage of an increase in ice time. Brian Rolston has four points in his last six games. He’s just finding his timing after missing 18 games with an ankle injury. It looks like John Madden got most of his scoring out of his system last season. After a career best 20 goals and 43 points, Madden is on pace for only nine goals and 25 points. Don’t look for any second half surges here, Zajac and Rolston eat up most of the offensive minutes up the middle, freeing up Madden for what he’s really good at.


New York Islanders

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Doug Weight

19:05

5:02

37

32

68

Mike Comrie

16:58

2:58

24

13

53

Josh Bailey

14:32

3:28

27

11

24




New York Islanders – Wily old veteran Doug Weight was having a nice season, but is currently out with a supposed minor injury. If he can avoid serious injury, Weight isn’t a bad option. With the addition of Weight, Mike Comrie has seen a reduction in both his overall and power play ice time. Josh Bailey should only be taken in keeper leagues. The 19-year-old rookie has been a pleasant surprise, making the big club in his first attempt.

New York Rangers

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Scott Gomez

22:15

4:06

36

27

126

Chris Drury

20:34

3:49

41

27

112

Brandon Dubinsky

16:27

2:47

41

22

96




New York Rangers – Not counting a poor November, where he had three points in nine games, Gomez has 24 points in 27 games this season and he gets as much ice time as he can handle. In Chris Drury’s last ten games, he has 12 points. After a hot start, Dubinsky cooled in a big way. He might be starting to heat up for the second half; he has four points in his last four games.


Ottawa Senators

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Jason Spezza

20:27

4:55

38

32

113

Mike Fisher

18:46

2:53

34

12

86

Antoine Vermette

18:06

2:03

38

10

89




Ottawa – It has been a rough season for Jason Spezza and the Senators. He has ten points in his last eight games, but the Sens only had two wins in that period. Fisher hasn’t scored a goal since Nov.27, a span of 17 games. After consecutive seasons of 47, 48 and 44 points, expectations were much higher for Fisher. Antoine Vermette had 24 goals last season. Unless he picks up the pace, he will be lucky to record 24 points this season. On a positive note, he’s still getting more quality minutes than his play likely warrants.  


Philadelphia Flyers

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Mike Richards

22:04

3:25

40

42

115

Jeff Carter

21:33

2:42

40

44

183

Daniel Briere

16:42

4:07

9

9

22




Philadephia –Mike Richards just keeps getting better. Not only is the Flyers Captain on pace for 85 points, he already has six short-handed points and 17 power play points. Jeff Carter was a man on fire in December, recording a scorching 21 points in 14 games. The big difference is that he is shooting the puck much more this season. Last year Carter had 260 shots on goal. This season he is on pace for 375 shots. He is on pace to blow away his previous career highs with 55 goals and 90 points, but is a candidate to slow down during the second half. Danny Briere has only played nine games this season, but he is supposedly close to returning and should continue to score at just under a point a game the rest of the way.


Pittsburgh Penguins

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Evgeni Malkin

22:34

5:47

41

63

142

Sidney Crosby

22:14

5:23

41

51

133

Jordan Staal

20:23

3:00

41

21

74

Tyler Kennedy

14:33

2:22

27

15

75




Pittsburgh – I’m not going to drone on about how much of a slump both Malkin and Crosby are in. If you can make a deal for either of these two fantasy studs in your keeper pool, do so now. Jordan Staal is still finding his way offensively. We won’t fully see his potential for a couple of seasons yet. Lucky for Tyler Kennedy, the math doesn’t add up. It’s a wonder he gets any ice time at all! In his last two games, Kennedy had almost 40 minutes of ice time, including over 11 minutes on the power play. That’s an anomaly and won’t last.


Tampa Bay Lightning

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Vincent Lecavalier

20:15

4:34

39

34

144

Steven Stamkos

13:12

2:20

39

14

82

Jeff Halpern

17:46

2:11

9

3

11

Paul Szczechura

13:35

0:19

15

4

26



Tampa Bay – Vincent Lecavalier has seven points in his last five games, but is a long ways from repeating either of his last two seasons of 92 and 108 points. Odds are very good that Steven Stamkos will turn into a great fantasy player; it just won’t be this season. While Jeff Halpern has two points in his last three games, he still is working his way back from a very serious knee injury. Halpern likely won’t be his reliable 40 point self before next season. I’ve got nothing for Paul Szczechura, I just wanted to practice spelling his name. Szczechura!


Toronto Maple Leafs

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Nik Antropov

17:11

3:15

40

31

104

Matt Stajan

16:37

3:00

34

30

58

Mikhail Grabovski

16:58

2:24

40

23

63

Dominic Moore

16:38

1:22

40

20

80




Toronto – Nik Antropov is quietly having the best season of his career. He is on pace for over 60 points and 200 shots on goal. The same can be said of Matt Stajan, who could end up with his first 20 goal season and a career high 65 points. Mikhail Grabovski owes a small debt of thanks to Bob Gainey for trading him to the Maple Leafs. Grabovski has earned rare praise from Head Coach Ron Wilson for his play. With 20 points, Dominic Moore has already set a new career high. Unless you value 35-40 point utility players, Moore is best left alone.


Washington Capitals

Avg TOI

Avg PPTOI

GP

Pts

SOG

Nicklas Backstrom

19:15

3:51

41

45

87

Sergei Fedorov

17:32

3:43

15

12

39

Viktor Kozlov

16:18

2:46

36

27

82

Brooks Laich

17:22

2:39

41

22

84

Michael Nylander

14:46

2:36

40

18

84




Washington – Nicklas Backstrom is truly beginning to assert himself. After a fine rookie campaign, Backstrom is obviously playing with added confidence and is on pace for 90 points. Sergei Fedorov was having the makings of a decent season before missing over 25 games to injury. He might be back this week. Viktor Kozlov could end up with 27 power play points. Brooks Laich looks like he will crack 40 points for the first time in his career. Michael Nylander would benefit from a change of scenery.

 

 


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