So do you look at the cup as half full, or half empty? Artem Anisimov is pointless in 2012, which is either terrible…or it’s just early. After all, we’re only a month into the year. Here are some of the biggest dogs in fantasy hockey since the New Year and my thoughts on their future.
Artem Anisimov, NY Rangers – 0 points, 13 games
His slump actually goes back 17 games, it’s just that 13 of them fell after the calendar flip. It’s a strange slump given the great chemistry he had on the GAS line (with Derek Stepan and Marian Gaborik) early on. Entering the season, I had him pegged as a 45-point player with potential for 65-70 under the right conditions. His nice start on that line had me bumping that opinion upwards. This slump is a market correction, meaning I should have held steady on my initial opinion.
Brad Boyes, Buffalo – 2 points, 13 games
Boyes had 98 points in his last 172 regular season and playoff games heading into this year, which is a far cry from the 140 in 168 he tallied prior to that. The signs of a decline were there for the perceptive poolie to see.
Mike Cammalleri, Calgary – 3 points, 10 games
Maybe a new environment will help? Perhaps if he had a decent linemate? No and no. The move to Calgary and having the likes of Jarome Iginla on his line has given ‘Cammy’ all of two points in six games. He’s far too young to be declining, but this will be four out of five seasons in which he falls short of 60 points. I think he can become an 80-point player again, but he needs to be healthy from games one through 82 to do it. It looks as though that only happens every few years…kind of like leap years.
John Carlson, Washington – 2 points, 13 games
To me, Carlson is one of the best defensemen to own in a keeper league. But with Mike Green and Dennis Wideman on the team, it would seem as though Carlson will be a 40-point guy for the first few years of his career. But in his mid-20s I truly believe he will get to 65.
Michael Del Zotto, NY Rangers – 3 points, 13 games
Del Zotto slows in the second half every year, although with each season of experience it becomes less extreme. In the 33 remaining games, I would peg him for 15 points. Long-term, I can see him becoming a 55-point rearguard.
Brandon Dubinsky, NY Rangers – 3 points, 10 games
More often than not, Dubinsky has the unenviable task of spearheading a third scoring line. That always means “big decline” in fantasy hockey.
Tomas Fleischmann, Florida – 3 points, 10 games
Meet the new Flash, same as the old Flash: lengthy hot streaks followed by lengthy cold streaks. I thought it was a thing of the past, what with his huge contract and being ordained as the go-to guy on a new team. Nope. But his two-point effort Wednesday night should drag him out of his doldrums.
Tomas Plekanec, Montreal – 4 points, 11 games
He had 57 points last season and is on pace for 53 this time around. The Habs are struggling to score in general and are starting to lean more on the likes of Erik Cole, Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. The signs are pointing to Plekanec becoming a 50-point second-liner, barring a massive shake-up in Montreal.
Vinny Prospal, Columbus – 4 points, 13 games
Prior to this skid, Prospal had 50 points in his past 67 games, which led us to believe the 36-year-old still had gas in the tank. And he probably still does, although he turns 37 in a couple of weeks. But in Columbus, where everything the Jackets have done this season has resulted in a minor train wreck, there is little hope for Prospal becoming an effective fantasy option.
Mike Richards, Los Angeles – 4 points, 12 games
Richards is not adapting to life in California very well. There’s no question he’s a star player, but he was doing better when there were two players on his team (Daniel Briere and Jeff Carter) who were more or less equivalent. With Anze Kopitar clearly the top dog, Richards is struggling to even be a 60-point player. If you think the reason is due to power play time, please note he is actually seeing 33 seconds of PP time per game more in L.A. than he was in Philadelphia.
Derek Roy, Buffalo – 2 points, 11 games
Roy is the subject of many trade rumors these days, but in my opinion that move would be a mistake. In fact, signing players last summer just for the sake of spending money (Ville Leino, Christian Ehrhoff) was a mistake. Instead, the Sabres should have continued to nurture the young players they had. Now, what coach Lindy Ruff is supposed to do is force a square peg (Leino) into a round hole (prime responsibilities) at the expense of players such as Roy. Same goes for Ehrhoff at the expense of Andrej Sekera. At any rate, as soon as a couple of forwards are moved, Roy will pick it up again.
Tuomo Ruutu, Carolina – 4 points, 12 games
I really like Ruutu as a “buy low” option here because he is almost certain to be traded. A fresh start on a new team will see him become a 60-plus point player.
Ryan Smyth, Edmonton – 4 points, 13 games
Smyth has eight points in his past 24 games, but I think he’ll turn things around – at least a little – when this team gets back to the way it was in the first 20 games. That is to say, when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle were all in the lineup at the same time. It just opens up a bit of room for Smyth as a secondary scorer.
Thomas Vanek, Buffalo – 2 points, 11 games
After an 84-point sophomore campaign, Vanek has only topped 65 points once in the four seasons since. But this year he looked to be back on track before sustaining an upper-body injury. Keep in mind he has 16 points in 25 road games, as opposed to 25 in 25 at home. Assuming he returns Feb. 8 as expected, he will play eight of nine at home. But if he’s back after that home stand (after Feb. 24), his struggles may well continue.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.