In early November, after Mikhail Grabovski’s average start (nine points in 15 games), poolies may have picked him up as a temporary depth replacement, perhaps to cover off an injury. Those who had him in the first place likely selected him as a late draft pick as someone who could come off the bench and sub in if he got hot.
None of those poolies have since dropped him.
Or if they did, they’re kicking themselves right now. The shifty Leafs pivot has 29 points in his past 30 games and is playing with a consistency Leafs fans have been hoping for. His shots are finding their mark (14.4 percent) and he’s cutting down on that extra wasted move with the puck that so often cost him possession.
He’s the glue that has been holding Toronto’s best and only consistent line together. Clarke MacArthur and Nikolai Kulemin are also on track for career highs.
Can Grabovski keep it up? Absolutely. He’ll still run hot and cold – that has been his M.O. since he turned pro – but the hot will last longer and the cold should never last longer than three or four games. I had him pegged several years ago as a potential mid-60s point producer, but more likely a mid-50s guy. Currently on pace for 66 points and looking fantastic in the process, I’ve since re-evaluated. I think 70 is within reach, although probably not this season.
No longer can Grabovski be brushed aside as a mere injury fill-in in fantasy circles. He’s a legitimate No. 3 or even No. 2 man on your roster, depending on the depth of your league. Treat him as something less and you’ll regret it.
Speaking of consistency, we’re now seeing why Colorado was so eager to trade Wojtek Wolski last spring. A stud at times, a dud at others, Wolski still hasn’t reached his Phoenix numbers from last season despite playing twice as many contests. The 24-year-old is on pace to manage just 32 points this campaign, which would be just less than half of the career-high 65 he tallied in 2009-10. Some coaches will allow their young stars to play through it, but Dave Tippett isn’t one of them. A couple healthy scratches haven’t awakened him, nor have line demotions and various benchings. With three points in his past 17 games, he’s been seeing just 11-13 minutes per game lately. What needed to happen was a change of scenery. Cue the New York Rangers. Look for an immediate impact offensively from Wolski, something that will probably last three or four weeks. After that, the hot/cold inner-Wolski will rear its ugly head again.
We’ve witnessed Eric Fehr’s hot streaks before. When they happen, he teases us into thinking he’s a 40-goal, 70-point power forward. Well, he’s on another one of those streaks, with seven points in his past six games. One of these days, the 25-year-old is going to show us he’s a top-sixer in the NHL. It says here that will happen in 2011-12, when the Capitals will (probably) lose Alexander Semin and/or Mike Knuble to free agency. Like many power forwards before him, his 26th birthday will mark the career turning point for Mr. Fehr.
Colorado prospect Ryan Stoa has nine points in his past eight American League games, but the 23-year-old will need a couple of things to happen before he can become a fantasy asset. First, the slow starts have to go. The first two years of his pro career have been marred by tortoise-like starts, which usually pick up again by mid-December. Second, he needs a new organization. The Avs have a good and deep young team, one that is so solid the likes of Chris Stewart and Peter Mueller can be injured and Stoa still doesn’t get called up.
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