For THN.com’s 500th Fantasy Pool Look column, we’ll follow a similar plotline as No. 499 and look at some scoring race surprises. This time, however, the surprises will not be a good thing. These are more from the “where the heck are you?” variety.
10. David Backes, St. Louis
Lowdown: After 54 points and 165 penalty minutes last season, there were two schools of thought on him. Some figured he reached his potential and is a solid 50-point, 150-PIM man going forward. Others, like myself, figured his points could go as high as 70. His current pace of 18 points and 54 penalty minutes have some roto-league players actually dropping him.
Prediction: A repeat of last season. I figured he would improve on the numbers, but given the slow start (which is actually similar to a year ago) it is looking like he’ll be too hard pressed to do that.
9. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit
Lowdown: Now 39 years old, it’s safe to assume Lidstrom has lost a step. His points-per-game average sits lower than it has at any point in his career.
Prediction: Lidstrom will top 50 points again. He may have slowed down a little, but not by the amount we are seeing right now.
8. Olli Jokinen, Calgary
Lowdown: After two seasons of declining numbers, it was thought this year would be different when it was clear he would have a full year on a line with Jarome Iginla. In actuality, the chemistry never formed between the two and coach Brent Sutter eventually gave up on the experiment. Jokinen still struggles for points on a different line.
Prediction: The 57 points that he notched last campaign was his lowest total in seven years. That is the range (55 to 60) where he will end up in 2009-10 as well.
7. Martin Erat, Nashville
Lowdown: The entire team is snake-bitten, but that would change if Erat contributes. Right now, there is no secondary scoring at all. Last season’s 50 points were a disappointment, so a further slip would make his fantasy value useless.
Prediction: Nashville scoring problems can’t last forever, but will Erat be a part of the turnaround? With the arrival of Patric Hornqvist and the chances being given to other youngsters, an about-face is not a certainty. Look for no more than 45 points, unless Erat gets traded elsewhere.
6. Steve Sullivan, Nashville
Lowdown: After tallying 27 points in his final 25 games last season, it was looking as though Sully was back to his old self. Now on an eight-game pointless run and with just two points on the year, he is a big reason why the Predators as a team are not scoring.
Prediction: The bigger issue with Sullivan is still his health. If you drafted him counting on more than 60 points in 65 games you were in trouble to start with. I still think that’s about where he’ll end up.
5. Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton
Lowdown: The former 73-point man is actually still getting a lot more ice time than the other pivots on the roster, but is not performing half as well. Besides just two points, he sits at a minus-6.
Prediction: Even though the team is relying on other players to score now, Horcoff should still get to 50 points. But with the changing of the guard in Edmonton, his days of getting 73 are over.
4. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia
Lowdown: The sophomore is coming off of a strong post-season and rookie campaign, but has managed just three points so far. The only change to the Flyers’ top nine is the addition of James van Riemsdyk.
Prediction: That one new addition is enough to take away a little bit more of that precious power play time. Unless the team loses a player due to injury or trade, Giroux could be stuck in that 35- to 45-point range this year.
3. Bobby Ryan, Anaheim
Lowdown: Last year’s Calder Trophy finalist could do no wrong. In 2009-10, however, he can do no right. He’s since been removed from the top line in favor of Joffrey Lupul.
Prediction: Ryan has already shown a tendency towards hot and cold streaks. This is just the latter. It won’t last and he should still match what he did a year ago (57 points), albeit in more games.
2. Alex Tanguay, Tampa Bay
Lowdown: Tanguay has topped 77 points four times in his career. Now 29, he is in his prime. He was thought to be a natural fit for Vincent Lecavalier, but that chemistry hasn’t come to fruition and Tanguay has managed just two points.
Prediction: The past two seasons seem to indicate he is more of a 60-point player than an 80-point player. There is no indication at all that he is a 20-point player, though, so expect business to pick up for Tanguay.
1. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Lowdown: After back-to-back 97-point seasons, Datsyuk has just four in seven games.
Prediction: In the past four campaigns, he has had between 87 and 97 points. This season will be no different.
Dishonorable mentions go to David Legwand, Nashville; Rob Blake, San Jose; Teemu Selanne, Anaheim; Jason Blake, Toronto; Peter Mueller, Phoenix.
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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