What’s got into these guys?

Rick Roos

2013-04-09

AndrewLadd

 

At this point in the season, several players are still scoring at a pace that's well above their career high in points. Of course the question is whether their current jump in production will continue down the road, or just amount to a blip in the radar once we get to next season and beyond. This is a big issue, since in some cases it could turn a fantasy unworthy player into someone you’d want to draft or pick up, or it could help convince you to take steps to acquire a player (through the draft or by trade) that might already be on your fantasy radar. With these things in mind, we’ll look at four forwards who have seen a big increase in point production pace this season, and I'll issue a "Final Verdict" on what point production you should expect from that player in the coming years.

 

Note that all four of these forwards are under 30 (unlike those in my recent column about 30+ players with the potential to put up a career high in points next season – be sure to check that out if you haven't already) and are scoring at a pace that would improve upon their previous career best by at least 10 points.

 

Troy Brouwer – 26 points in 38 games (56 point pace) – previous career high was 40 points

It's been a lot of fun to watch Brouwer transform from his past role as a jack of all trades workhorse into a legitimate top six forward this season. He's fast becoming the next Mike Knuble (who, after turning 30, put up five seasons of 53+ points playing with Joe Thornton, Peter Forsberg, and, like Brouwer, Niclas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin), in that Brouwer can act as a defensive-minded presence on a line with offensively-talented players without dragging down the production of the line. It's a win-win situation in that the Capitals benefit from Brouwer's two-way mindset, and fantasy GMs see points dividends when Brouwer reaps the benefits of playing with proven scorers.

Just like Knuble, Brouwer also gets his share of prime power play time – 3:35 per game this season –