Pierre-Marc Bouchard

 

I am not really a big fan of Jacques Lemaire and I am certainly not big on the way he brings along his blue chippers. But I have to admit - Pierre-Marc Bouchard is rounding into a complete player.
 


As far as the coach goes – I’m a fantasy junkie and what true fantasy junkie actually admires a good defensive coach? As for Bouchard, did you really enjoy his minimal ice time and frequent healthy scratches as an 18- and 19-year-old?

Bringing an offensive player along slowly, more often than not, ensures success. Most teams prefer to do that via the minor-league system, but Lemaire seems to enjoy keeping the kids up. It happened with Bouchard and you are seeing it happen with Brent Burns and James Sheppard as well.

After his first two years, Bouchard finally started seeing 14 and 15 minutes of ice time and posted 50-plus points. This season, the 23-year-old is seeing 16:39 per game and is on pace to post 69 points. He has also developed his defensive game – something he would not have done under any other coach. That may not mean much to poolies, but the bottom line is that it increases his value in the NHL by increasing his responsibility and ice time, which in the long run will boost his production and thus, his fantasy value.

He has 12 points in his last eight contests and has shown signs of the 85-point player that he is capable of being. He may never reach that mark in this defensive system, but he would be a star on another team. Expect 65 points this year, which constitutes a mild slowdown, and look for 75 or so going forward in Minnesota…

Meanwhile…


Toronto’s Nik Antropov has now gone pointless in his last six contests. He had another run of five points in 12 games back in November. Outside of those two runs, he has 30 points in 21 games. So now we finally see what Antropov is like when he’s healthy – very talented, but very streaky. In the end, he should flirt with a point per game, but don’t expect more than 70 games in a season. Ever…

Columbus rearguard Ron Hainsey has five points in five games since being a healthy scratch. The 26-year-old is a high-risk, high-reward defenseman capable of 50 points…but also capable of busting. His value is in one-year leagues; I wouldn’t trust him in keeper leagues…

Just thinking aloud here, but when the Lightning bring Marc Denis back up through re-entry waivers, I think that if the Penguins lose a couple of games they may bite. Denis was told by Jay Feaster to put up some big games for Norfolk, and if he does he will be plucked off of re-entry. My hunch is that the Penguins may have let Feaster know that if Ty Conklin starts to stumble (as Dany Sabourin already has), then they would give Denis a shot while starter Marc-Andre Fleury’s ankle heals. If that happens, Denis will be quite valuable as you know what the Pens are capable of. Even though I think Denis has lost his luster, I have said it before and I will say it again – you don’t have to be good to win games for Pittsburgh. You just need to be good enough. My strategy: if the Penguins lose two in a row and I see Denis do well for Norfolk, I’ll pluck him off the wire in my roto league and sit him on my bench. Just in case…

 

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