Every fantasy junky worth their salt knew the talent was there. It’s just nice to see flashes of what’s to come.
(Originally in The Hockey News on Feb. 22)
Patrick O’Sullivan’s five-point night Feb. 21 reinforces the notion the 23-year-old is destined for stardom. His value in keeper leagues is already quite high (just try trading for him), but by next season it will probably be too late.
O’Sullivan is one of the rare players with the ability to reach offensive production well into the 90s. It will be a few years before we see anything like that, but he looks like a prime candidate to break out next season with 70-plus points.
His role with the team is increasing. In the past 42 contests, the Kings forward has seen at least 17:30 of ice time in 40 of them. Prior to that, he saw that much ice on just five of 21 occasions. He is part of the top penalty-killing unit (averaging 2:45 of ice time per game when down a man) and has lately been on the first unit of the power play.
The savvy sophomore’s minus-10 rating may be of some concern, but he was a minus-5 after the first eight games of the season.
O’Sullivan is currently centering the second line with streaky Alexander Frolov on the left side and sniper Mike Cammalleri on the right. The trio combined for 11 points Thursday and given Frolov’s tendency to get very hot for several games in a row, expect him to drag his linemates along for the next couple of weeks…
Phoenix winger Radim Vrbata has 40 points in his past 36 games. If he can stay healthy for 75 games next season he is a great dark horse to turn in his first 80-point season…
Buffalo winger Thomas Vanek has 14 points in his past eight games and 22 in his past 17. Hopefully you stuck it out with him. If a player is young and has a long-term, high-salary contract, he is almost guaranteed to come around eventually…
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: O’Sullivan’s teammate, No.1 goaltender Jason LaBarbera is on the shelf with a groin injury. So, if you are looking for a cheap depth goaltender, give Dan Cloutier a try. Did I just say that? Never thought I would see the day, but Cloutier has been solid since being recalled and has a 2-0-0 record with a 2.18 GAA and a .931 SP. I added him as a fourth goalie in one of my leagues and will try him for a couple of games to see how things turn out.