15 Points to Consider – World Juniors Edition

Jeff Angus




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.


1. With 10 goals through 36 games, Nick Lidstrom is on pace for a career year. He has already surpassed his goal output from last season (nine). He looks to be in line for his seventh Norris Trophy, and he has the Wings at the top of the Western Conference once again. It will be interesting to see how the team performs with Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary out for extended periods of time. Lidstrom's style of play is one reason for his stellar performance at the age of 40 – he simply doesn't put himself in areas where he has to absorb physical contact. Oh, and he's a fantasy hockey monster – on pace for 23 goals, 75 points, 40 power play points, and 185 shots on goal.


2. An underrated move in the summer was Florida's acquisition of Mike Santorelli. It is hard to make a name for yourself in the hockey world playing in cities like Nashville and Miami, but Santorelli has found his way onto my radar. He's on pace for 24 goals, a feat even more impressive considering who he lines up with most of the time (Steve Bernier and David Booth). His assist total is far from impressive, but Santorelli bears watching in most league formats.


3. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. The motto didn't work for Darryl Sutter and Olli Jokinen, but it appears to be working in Los Angeles. Various coaches have tried many a time to unite Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar on the top line, but their efforts have been met with a glaring lack of chemistry between the team's two best forwards. For whatever reason, Kopitar and Brown are clicking this season. Kopitar is one of the better playmakers in the league, and Brown has better hands than most (even himself, at times) realize. Brown set career highs in 2007-08 in goals (33) and points (60). Look for him to smash both of those marks in 2010-11.


4. Very astute acquisition by Montreal in James Wisniewski. He is tough and capable of logging important minutes at both ends of the ice. His presence hurts the short-term value of PK Subban a bit, as both defensemen shoot right and play the right side. Wisniewski is a great defenseman to own in all fantasy leagues, and his plus-minus should return to non-Islander numbers in no time (he currently sits at minus-18). This trade makes no sense for the Islanders, but I've given up trying to analyze what that team does from a decision-making perspective.


5. I mentioned Steve Kampfer a few weeks ago in the ramblings, but after scoring his first career NHL goal the other night, I figured it was time for another reminder. He was tear