Milan Michalek and Joe Thornton

 

If there is one team that frustrates poolies more than the Buffalo Sabres, it’s San Jose. Unless you’re the proud owner of Joe Thornton or Evgeni Nabokov, you’re probably not holding your head up very high about the Sharks on your fantasy squad.

(originally published in the Hockey News on New Year's Eve - 2007) 


When Jonathan Cheechoo contributes nine points at a time where he should have well over 30 and Patrick Marleau provides just 18, it really does boggle the mind. How does Thornton have 31 assists? Do the rest of the Sharks even have 31 goals?

Thankfully, one of the many slumping Sharks has finally realized the season is underway. After kicking off the campaign with just eight points in 18 games and then missing three with an elbow injury, Milan Michalek decided to strap on the skates and actually contribute. The 23-year-old has six points in his last four games and is showing chemistry as Thornton’s winger.

With coach Ron Wilson’s tendency to juggle lines, you know every forward on the roster has had an audition in that spot, including Michalek about a dozen times. Well, the 13th time seems to be the charm.

These players are far too good to continue with the dismal production and Michalek is the first to break out of the slump. His value is still low in fantasy circles, so now would be the time to grab him before his owner notices. He is notorious for his streakiness and I think he will still take a healthy run at 70 points. He would need 49 points in 44 contests.

Michalek is awake. Now if only someone would set the alarm for Marleau and Cheechoo…

Since Bruce Boudreau took over as the coach of the Capitals, rookie Nicklas Backstrom has 19 points in 18 games.

At risk of hurting my shoulder patting my own back, I did immediately post an article advising you to start scooping Washington players, including Backstrom…

Don't look now, but Pittsburgh winger Colby Armstrong has eight points in his last five games and is suddenly in the running to finish fourth in team scoring behind Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar.

He started the season with one point in 15 games and was scratched six times. Since then: 16 points in his last 17 games. This is the Colby we expected to see ever since he finished his rookie season with 38 points in 39 contests playing alongside Crosby…

Farm Report: Calgary prospect Mikael Backlund is putting on a clinic for Team Sweden at the World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old has two goals and six points in the tournament. He is about four years away from being a productive fantasy player in the NHL and his upside is as high as 85 or 90 points…Sweden’s Robin Figren is also putting up solid numbers. However, the Islanders’ prospect projects to be an energy player who will contribute in the NHL on the third line.

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