We’re basically a week into the season and already some players have seen their fantasy value fluctuate, either positively thanks to a great start to the season or on the down side because of early struggles. So let’s separate the Frogs from the Princes as we take a look at the hot and the not after a week of play.
Princes who’ll turn into Frogs
(players who look great now, but won’t at the end of the season)
Ruslan Fedotenko is currently in the top ten in scoring with five points in three games thanks to a great start by Mike Comrie. But this is a guy who has not scored more than 41 points in a season in 6 full NHL seasons despite playing with the likes Brad Richards at his side and sharing ice time with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St-Louis. So yeah, ride him while he’s hot, but don’t count on him to help you out all season.
Speaking of Comrie, much like Fedotenko, history tells us that Comrie is definitely not for real. His season high is 60 points and Comrie has displayed constant inconsistency throughout his career. Add to that the fact that he’s played only one injury-free season in his last four NHL campaigns and you’ve got a prime sell-high candidate.
Continuing with the Islanders’ theme, Bryan Berard will be all the rage on the waiver wires this week, particularly on Yahoo where he’s not available yet. So the question is; Do you spend your waiver rank on Berard? I say yes, he’s worth the gamble, but not if you have to drop a dependable player for him. Berard has the ability to give you over half-a-point per game, most of them on the power play, but just how long he can stay healthy is a huge question mark. There’s also the fact that the Isles might not suffer his defensive play all-season if he makes too many mistakes.
There’s no denying that Francois Beauchemin can put up the production when given the opportunity, and right now he is given a golden opportunity to produce with Scott Niedermayer still on (temporary) retirement and Mathieu Schneider nursing an injury. With Schneider expected back in a couple of weeks, Beauchemin’s will return to being a dependable 30-point defenseman.
Frogs who’ll become Princes
(players who are struggling, but who will turn it around)
Ryan Whitney has yet to score a point in two games, but don’t worry even if he goes pointless for a few more games, he’ll explode at one point and make up for it.
You’ve probably heard that Alexander Radulov showed up to camp in bad shape and he and his fantasy owners are paying for it right now. However, Rad is one hugely talented dude and he’ll get himself into shape and start producing at some point. Unfortunately, you might have to wait 10 to 20 games before that happens, so keep him and your bench for now.
Don’t even worry about the fact that neither Marian Gaborik nor Pavol Demitra has found the scoresheet in the first couple of games this season. As long as the two stay healthy, they’ll put up the points, in fact, I see a hat trick for Gaborik in the not too distant future.
Jonathan Cheechoo scored a mere 7 goals in the first 22 games of the season last year, but than scored 30 in his last 54 games. He also suffered a slow start the previous year when he ended with 56 goals so don’t worry about the fact that he hasn’t put a up a point in three games.
Frogs who’ll remain Frogs
(slow start indicative of season to come)
Alexander Frolov received the short end of the stick when the line combinations were set up in LA this season. With a top line of Anze Kopitar, Mike Cammalleri and Dustin Brown, it leaves Frolov with second tier linemates like Michael Handzus and Ladislav Nagy or worse Derek Armstrong and Kyle Calder. So unless, he finds his way back with Kopitar or Cammalerri, it could be a very long season for Frolov.
It was thought that Roman Hamrlik would help offset Sheldon Souray’s departure and the 26 goals scored by Souray last season. However, it’s Mark Streit and not Hamrlik who is getting the nod on the first power play unit. It will be very difficult for Hamrlik to maintain the half-point-per game average he has displayed during his career particularly since Streit has looked very good in the quarterback role early on.
Martin Havlat is out for at least a month, probably much longer and maybe for the season so if you can get any value whatsoever for him now, go ahead and deal him. Even if he does come back in a month, odds are that it’ll be only a matter of time before he goes down again.
Some players are the product of other players and Andy McDonald is a perfect example of that now that he doesn’t have Teemu Selanne at his side anymore. McDonald is coming off seasons of 34 and 27 goals, but has yet to find the back of the net in five games this season. He’ll be hard pressed to score 20 goals if Selanne doesn’t come back soon.
Princes who really are Princes
(these guys are for real)
Zach Parise is the new Lucifer in New Jersey, the top Devil not wearing a goalie pads. After scoring 32 points as a rookie and 62 points as a sophomore, he’s taking his game to a new level this season and should continue to produce at a point-per-game clip.
Jaroslav Spacek has seasons of 45 and 43 points on his resume so his two goals and three points in the first two games of the season should be no surprise. Spacek has had trouble staying healthy, but a full season from him will get you 40 points so don’t hesitate to pick him up if he’s still a free-agent in your league.
Dan Boyle’s mishap was Filip Kuba’s opportunity. Kuba has scored three points in two games and will be the Lightning’s quarterback as long as Boyle is on the shelf, which will be a month at minimum and probably more considering the seriousness of his injury. Kuba reached a career high 37 points in Tampa Bay last season after escaping the defensive confines of Minnesota and he has the talent to score 45 to 50 points as the top dog. In fact, Kuba will not only be a Prince as long as Boyle is out, he’ll be kingly to his fantasy owners.
Now that rookie Nicklas Backstrom has been moved to the wing, odds are much better that Viktor Kozlov will spend the entire season centering Alexander Ovechkin, particularly since the two have hit it off early on. Considering that Dainius Zubrus scored 52 points in 60 games in that role last season, it’s not far fetched to image Kozlov matching his career high of 70 points.
Bad news for all those who selected Scott Gomez thinking he’d center Jaromir Jagr, Chris Drury got that opportunity and he’s making the most of it. Drury scored between 65 and 69 points on four occasions during his 8-year career while scoring between 44 and 53 points in the other four seasons so you’d think the sixties were his ceiling. However, not once has he been paired with a player comparable to Jagr. I don’t anticipate them losing their chemistry and am very confident that we’ll see Drury not only reach 70 points for the first time, but also reach the 80-point mark.
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