For all of the times that I pat myself on the back with good predictions… there are (nearly) as many bad ones. I thought Chicago made a huge mistake drafting the undersized Patrick Kane over Joe Sakic 2.0, Kyle Turris. Through 37 games, Kane has 13 goals and 39 points for the Blackhawks. Through 31 games, Turris has seven goals and 22 points. In the AHL. Swing and a miss!
It is only a matter of time until Bobby Ryan is among the NHL scoring leaders. His skill level is absurd, and he can absolutely dominate with his size. The way he uses it reminds me a bit of Rick Nash and Joe Thornton – essentially defensemen are forced to take a penalty if they want to get the puck back. Ryan is on pace for 36 goals and 65 points after a slow start – wouldn't be surprised at all to see him hit 40. Using the DobberHockey Frozen Pool line combinations tool (very, very useful), Ryan is skating 46% of the time with Getzlaf and Perry. Imagine if that number was closer to 60 or 70%…. (Perry skates with Getzlaf approximately 94% of the time). I kept Ryan in one of my keeper leagues in the summer over some pretty good players, and definitely don't regret it right now.
Is there a tougher NHL player than Stephane Robidas? Not necessarily in terms of fighting, but Robidas backs down from no one, blocks any shot he can get his body in front of, and plays in all situations and simply busts his rear all the time. Fantasy-wise he isn't too shabby either. He is currently on pace for 19 goals and 51 points.
I have mentioned this before, but the mistake of the year has to go to the Oilers management team, who passed on Dwayne Roloson for the younger Nikolai Khabibulin. The Oilers balked at giving Roloson a two-year deal, but gave Khabibulin four. Obviously the deal looks even worse now with Khabibulin out indefinitely, but Roloson is simply a superior goalie. He has firmly entrenched himself as the number one on Long Island, and he keeps that team in many games they have no business being in. It will be interesting to see how the situation is handled if/when Rick DiPietro eventually returns.
Is Henrik Sedin's breakout season a trend or an anomaly? Since the Sedins-Burrows unit was put together last season, the three have racked up the points with ease. Projected over an 82 game season, Henrik would have close to 100 points, Daniel close to 90, and Burrows 70. I have always thought that the Sedin twins had another gear offensively. They were dominant players many nights, but not every night. Consistency is what separates the stars from the superstars, and they may be inching closer to the latter if they can keep up their stellar 2009-10 campaigns down the stretch. I often avoid drafting Canuck players in fantasy pools because I tend to be a bit optimistic when evaluating them, and unfortunately I own neither Sedin in any of my pools.
Nicklas Backstrom keeps adding new dimensions to his game. He has exactly 202 points in 202 career games, and is quickly become a lethal goal scorer, and his strength with the puck is very reminiscent of Peter Forsberg. He has 11 goals in his past 12 games, and with the recent one-year extension to Semin; it appears that Washington (obviously) would rather commit long term to Backstrom. I see many 100-point seasons in his future…