Passing the Torch

by Dobber Sports on December 2, 2007
Zach Parise


 Zach Parise and Patrick Elias seem to be going in opposite directions.

It’s absolutely certain that Parise is going nowhere but up as a fantasy player. Just 23 years of age and coming off a 62-point campaign, his owners had high hopes. Twenty-five games into the season Parise has 28 points, which is good for a 91-point pace. It was thought that the youngster could be the heir apparent to Elias as the star of the Devils in a couple of years.

I guess you can fast forward that proclamation.

With 12 points in his last six games, Parise is vaulting ahead of his teammates. No longer do poolies hope he gets placed on a good line – it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Now poolies are curious to see whom he plays with, if only so that they can pick up those players because they know Parise will boost their scoring.

It works with Travis Zajac when they’re together and lately it has been working with Brian Gionta, who has 10 points in his last six games playing with him.

Parise is a future 85- or 90-point player who is well on his way to flirting with 80 points this year, just his third in the NHL. He’s durable too, having missed just one game in his career – a healthy scratch early in his freshman year.

Elias, on the other hand, seems to be on the decline. I find that hard to believe, given that he is just 31. His poor production is not the result of his hepatitis C problems of two years ago – he came back from that and posted 45 points in 38 games. It’s more the result of a new coach. Elias will bounce back, but 70 points is out of the question. Look for something in the low 60’s for this season. Until Elias moves to a new team, that is probably all you can expect from him going forward, too. Coach Brent Sutter has tried Elias on Parise’s line many times, but tends to give up on him quickly, dropping him to the third line (read: doghouse) when the results aren’t immediate. He makes a solid ‘buy low’ candidate.

One thing is certain, though – the torch has been passed in New Jersey.

Roto-league owners should scoop up hulking Chicago defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, if only for the short term. The 22-year-old has six points in his last three games and has been seeing time on the forward lines. Meanwhile, he qualifies as a rearguard and thus will help your team in that position. It is likely just a hot streak, but it’s worth the flyer for sure. Byfuglien has some issues with his skating, but his offensive prowess as really improved at the AHL level over the past year…

Bill Guerin appears to be out of the offensive mix on Long Island. He had 10 points in eight games to start the year, but has just one point in his last 15. At 37, he does not have any more 60-point seasons left in him…

Los Angeles sophomore Patrick O’Sullivan has seen his ice time shoot up dramatically over the last couple of games and he three points in his last two. Besides the fact that he is streaky, it is quite possible that he has turned the corner and gained the trust of coach Crawford, in which case you will see him put points on the board with more regularity now. He has the talent to produce over 90 points in this league in a few years…


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