With 10 points in his past 10 games, St. Louis right winger Matt D’Agostini has caught the eye of many poolies. But will the run, or a reasonable facsimile of the run, last? That’s the million-dollar question.
The 24-year-old is enjoying a productive rebound campaign after suffering from the sophomore jinx in 2009-10. That season, which saw him struggle with a minus-15 rating, various healthy scratches and a trade to a new team, is one to forget. This year he looks good for 20 goals and 50 points. But much of his success is due to the fact T. J. Oshie, Andy McDonald and David Perron are injured and out of the lineup. That’s an entire second line on most teams. If you remove the second line on any team, there is bound to be a young third-liner who surprises.
D’Agostini reminds me of Toronto’s Clarke MacArthur: a strong producer at other levels, but a streaky producer in the NHL. I had MacArthur pegged as a career 45- to 50-point third-liner with the potential to have a couple of good 60-point campaigns in the right environment. Well, MacArthur has certainly found that environment with the Leafs. Has D’Agostini found his?
It will be interesting to see what his role is with the Blues once Oshie returns from his broken ankle (should be very soon). Will D’Agostini’s ice time take a hit? His power play time? If he’s still going strong after Oshie returns, he could very well breach the 55-point barrier. But those first three games after Oshie is back in the lineup will be key.
Huddling about Hudler
When Jiri Hudler returned to the Red Wings this season, he was expected to be a key part of the second line. After all, in his last season in the NHL he posted a career-high 57 points and then followed that up with a point-per-game effort in the Kontinental League a year ago.
But things haven’t worked out this season for Hudler and he has seen his ice time drop to the point where he was getting scratched on occasion. An injury to Daniel Cleary was supposed to open the door for Hudler. Another injury, this time to Pavel Datsyuk, was to open that door even wider. And it did. But Hudler has yet to walk through it. He had back-to-back two-point efforts in late December, but since then has just three points in seven games. If he doesn’t get rolling by the time Datsyuk and Cleary return, he could find himself Patrick O’Sullivan-ing (http://forecaster.thehockeynews.com/hockeynews/hockey/player-pn.cgi?2805#193869) his way out of the league. Hudler’s fantasy value is at an all-time low right now and no, this is not a “buy low” situation. This is a “steer clear” situation.
Jackman jacked up
How tough are things in Calgary? They’re leaning on their tough guy for offense. Tim Jackman has eight points in his past eight games and in that span he has kept the gloves on. He’s already passed his career high with 13 points. No, I don’t think he’ll keep it up – his ice time is still hovering around nine minutes per game. But if you need penalty minutes and he continues his hot offensive streak, you’ll benefit in a big way.
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