15 Points to Consider

Jeff Angus


St. Louis

Elliotte Friedman's weekly 30 Thoughts column on the CBC website is currently the best read in hockey. Friedman is insightful, articulate, knowledgeable, fair, and most importantly, interesting. He has sources and contacts in the hockey world that most could only dream of. He has an ability which is rare in this day and age – providing a balanced and reasonable opinion on the league, the players, and all 30 of the clubs.


Each week I will post my own observations (I couldn't completely steal Friedman's idea so I'll pick a number other than 30) – with a heavy emphasis on the fantasy side of hockey, of course. Prospects, goalies, sleepers, busts, it will all be covered each week.


The idea for this column has rattled around in my brain for a while. I always have a number of ideas for columns, but not all of them get transferred to paper (er… I mean keyboard). Those that miss the cut as a full column will now at least get to see the light of day at DobberHockey.


1. The Avalanche should count their blessings that Patrick Roy turned them down for the coaching position two summers ago. Joe Sacco is a fantastic coach, proving to be much more than the typical second choice. For poolies, Sacco has the Avalanche playing exciting, offensive hockey. The club has a slew of good young forwards, and he has shown no hesitations at giving them heavy minutes if they prove to be ready. The biggest fantasy question mark – who takes over from John-Michael Liles on the power play? Jonas Holos has emerged out of obscurity, Kevin Shattenkirk has the pedigree, but Colorado also has another four or five contenders, led by Colby Cohen and Stefan Elliot.


2. Henrik Sedin is first in the NHL in assists. Daniel is third in goals. Both totals are impressive. More impressive, though, is that neither twin has played particularly well so far this season. Don't get me wrong, they are generating high quality chances in every game, but the same dominance that we have seen in the past isn't there… yet. With Alex Burrows rounding into form, look for the twins to improve their play over the next month. Can their production improve? I think so, which is a pretty exciting notion for any poolies who one (or those lucky few who own both).


3. Am I surprised Jeff Skinner is doing so well? A bit. I am a huge fan of his, but I didn't think he would be given top line minutes just yet. I liked him so much from a fantasy perspective for three reasons – his skating, his hockey sense, and Carolina's lack of talent on the wing. I figured he was at least a season from producing 60 or more points.


4. Atlanta is going to be a very tough team to beat on a ni