This column, and all of Dobber's work, can also be read on The Hockey News, ESPN.com and MSN.ca.
It is no secret that the power play is the most important element of offense in the playoffs. This makes the participants of the power play the most fantasy worthy in terms of playoff pools. Defensemen who quarterback the PP actually see their production rise by as much as 40 per cent. This makes moving them up your draft list a no-brainer. Today, FPL will take a look at the Western Conference quarterbacks. Wednesday I will take a look at the East. Anaheim
The Ducks are one of just two teams in the West with three solid options – four if you count Ric Jackman. It’s hard to improve on nearly a point-per-game as a defenseman, so in the cases of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer I would leave them right where they are on your draft list…that is, high. Francois Beauchemin is another matter, however. He has been hot down the stretch and with his low season totals he is bound to slip through to the later rounds. Expect a point for every two games from him. Jackman will likely not be a factor unless one of the above three rearguards get hurt.
Dion Phaneuf, as a rookie, had a horrible playoff debut last season. Do not expect that to be repeated this year. If the Flames go two rounds, expect at least eight or nine points from the youngster. Roman Hamrlik makes an excellent dark horse. He has 31 points in his last 49 games, which translates to six or seven points in two rounds of playoff action. All this, of course, is going on the assumption that the Flames get into the playoffs and although Colorado may have something to say about that, it’s looking pretty good at this point.
The Stars have been a team all season long that has relied on their defense for offense. This will be magnified starting April 11. Sergei Zubov and Philippe Boucher have, on several occasions, led this team in scoring. Both players are capable of 15 points if Dallas goes three rounds.
There are no surprises here. The more games this team plays in the postseason, the more points Nik Lidstrom and Matt Schneider will get for you. These are two of the best, in terms of offensive blueliners. Both men are capable of tallying a point per game over a short 10- or 15-game span. Youngster Nik Kronwall was starting to have a decent season offensively before he was injured on Friday and will be out for what looks like the first three rounds.