Only five teams have scored more goals than the Calgary Flames this season and four of those teams have played more games. But it’s a different Calgary squad this year versus the team that finished tied for seventh in offense a year ago. Secondary scoring has made all the difference.
Granted, the arrival of Jay Bouwmeester has given the Flames a new dimension and made them one of the best bluelines in the NHL. But Brent Sutter was also brought in and a new coach means a new coaching style, which often leads to new responsibilities that open up an opportunity for surprising production from unlikely players – and that’s where the ears of fantasy owners perk up.
In 2008-09 the team didn’t have a 50-point player after Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and Mike Cammalleri. Now they have Rene Bourque, Nigel Dawes and Daymond Langkow likely to get there, while Curtis Glencross, David Moss and Dustin Boyd all figure to top 40 points. Now instead of just Dion Phaneuf flirting with 50 (or more), they have Bouwmeester on the blueline, essentially doubling production from the back end.
The secondary scorers have been picking up the slack when the big guns get stuck. Iginla began with four points in eight games before getting 25 in his past 18 contests. Jokinen’s slump lasted longer, as he managed just nine in 17 games to start before rallying for 11 in his past nine. The emergence of Bourque and the rebound of Dawes have been keys. The latter has been steady all season, while the former has been a revelation until suffering an undisclosed injury. Who saw Bourque as a point-per-game player?
It doesn’t sound as though Bourque will be out for too much longer and then his annual injury will be behind him. The 27-year-old has been quite fragile, missing 82 games over the past three years. If he can get in 70 games, look for 65 points and 100 penalty minutes.
In fantasy leagues that have a post-season component, players on the San Jose Sharks are getting all the attention as far as the Western Conference goes, to the point where their value is inflated. Many owners still underestimate Calgary, so it may be worth your while to forget about overpaying for Sharks and start acquiring Flames for a fair price…
Gilbert Brule, Edmonton’s reclamation project, keeps rolling along. With the injuries that have hit the Oilers, he has seen more than 15 minutes of ice time in five of the past seven games. Prior to that, he saw 15 minutes or more in just five of the first 17 games. He has seven points in his past six games and 17 points on the season, which puts him on pace for 55. The Oilers have made him into a top-sixer again – he played last game with Sam Gagner and the equally surprising Dustin Penner. Coach Pat Quinn has his favorites and there is little doubt Brule is one of them. Not only is he a fair bet to reach the 55-point mark, but his penalty minutes should also increase over time…
Farm Report: It looks like Colorado not only scored big with Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly, but they also did well with their third-rounder from this past draft, Tyson Barrie. The son of Lightning co-owner Len Barrie is on a 15-game point streak in the Western League and has 24 points in that span for Kelowna. A knee and shoulder injury held him out of eight games, ranking him lower on the scoring race then he should be. Expect Barrie to grow for another three years in junior and the minor leagues before getting a long look as a top-two defenseman.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league – check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.
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