Jacob Trouba was expected to eventually become a strong NHL defender, but he’s already become a valuable fantasy asset in his rookie season. That kind of talent and production is rare, so handle him accordingly.
Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba is just 19 years old, yet he’s probably going to top 40 points this year. Poolies who didn’t think a season like this was possible from him so soon are starting to come around.
But how is he doing this? After all, 99.9 percent of defensemen take several years to really find their groove offensively. A teenager putting up 40 points from the blueline is as rare as an Eric Nystrom four-goal game. A teenager doing it in an organization that already boasts Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and decent puck-movers such as Grant Clitsome and Paul Postma on the blueline seems, well, downright impossible.
We knew Trouba was a stud prospect, especially after his dominant performance a year ago at the world juniors. But this kind of impact, this quickly, behind so many established NHLers on the depth chart? No way. And he’s doing it without any first-unit power play time, too. Just three of his 18 points have come on the power play.
The youngster has 16 points in his past 26 games. That’s good enough to push Byfuglien up to the wing, which overall has given the Jets a nice run of offense (20 goals in six games). Trouba has now planted himself firmly in the middle of all Calder Trophy conversations. He’s the real deal and in keeper leagues he should be approached in trade talks as a Top 20 defenseman. So if you can get him by offering up a defenseman you would rank around 25th or 30th, do it.
Same ol’, same ol’ for Ennis owners
Tyler Ennis has seven points in his past seven games, which is pretty good considering the Sabres don’t have a player on pace for more than 50 points. But we’ve seen this from Ennis before. He had 27 points in the last 26 games of 2011-12, and 30 in the last 39 of 2010-11. He’s a second-half player, folks. Get him while he’s hot!
Sekera back in business
Carolina defenseman Andrej Sekera had 15 points in 17 games prior to John-Michael Liles coming aboard. But then Mr. Liles gobbled up all the power play time and Sekera’s production disappeared. But as I noted here last Thursday, Liles wasn’t doing anything with that PP time and Sekera would get his job back. Well, it happened. Sekera has six points and is plus-8 over his past three games. He was even one of the league’s three stars last week.
Johnson settling in
As I mused in a column after Steven Stamkos went down, Tyler Johnson has been the best center for Martin St-Louis. Today, as news of Stamkos’ upcoming return circulates around the Internet, Johnson has been just as productive. He has 16 points in his past 16 games and eight in his past five. When Stamkos returns, Johnson is likely going to get pushed to the third line with significant reduction in power play time, but he’ll still get more than a point every two games and he’s proven enough to show us that he should be a star in this league soon enough.
Nyquist finds niche
Detroit winger Gustav Nyquist is still young at 24. And as with all young players, he’s going to be streaky. He’s currently in one of his hot streaks, with points in each of his past five games while enjoying time (including on the power play) with star center Henrik Zetterberg. Nyquist will top 40 points this season, but I say he flirts with 60 next year if healthy.
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.