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Fantasy Pool Look: 10 players who must wake up

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Some poolies are pretty desperate for these slumping players to get a move on. Here is what you can expect in the short and long term.

Zdeno Chara, Boston

The penalty minutes and shots are there, which still makes him a decent contributor in roto leagues. But the points are nowhere to be seen (zero in six games). Chara is money in the bank for 43 to 51 points year in and year out. He hasn’t missed that range since 2004 when he had 41 points, so don’t concern yourself over his slow start.

Logan Couture, San Jose

Last year’s rookie sensation not only compiled 32 goals and 56 points, but he was a mighty plus-18. Four games into this campaign he has just one point and is minus-2. Sophomore jinx? He doesn’t really fit the profile. Couture has been prone to hot and cold streaks and this is just a cold one. He’ll be safe for a plus-10 and 50 points, with an upside for 60-plus points this season.

Cam Fowler, Anaheim

You could also mention fellow Duck Lubomir Visnovsky in here. Nobody on the Ducks is really scoring right now, but don’t forget that a year ago Corey Perry had just one point in his first four games. And how did that end up? When the likes of Perry and Ryan Getzlaf find their stride, Fowler and Visnovsky will get going. I still think Visnovsky will get at least 57 points this season (health permitting) and Fowler at least 45. Both make excellent “buy low” acquisitions in most leagues.

Tyler Ennis, Buffalo

Ennis isn’t the type of player who gets held back for long. His ice time is the same as always, but it’s just that the likes of Thomas Vanek, Luke Adam and Jason Pominville are putting up the offense right now. Ennis should build on last year’s 49 points, but it’s no longer the certainty it once was. As a first round pick, though, his job and ice time are safe.

Ville Leino, Buffalo

For many of the reasons stated above with Ennis, Leino isn’t putting up the points right now. But because he wields a big contract, the ice time and PP time are safe. I find highly touted, homegrown draft picks and players with large contracts get very long leashes.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver

Luongo is notorious for starting slow, but this is bad even for him. He’s given up 12 percent of the goals he gave up last year…in seven percent of the games! Meanwhile, Cory Schneider is playing well. However, contracts once again play a role in this situation. Luongo has a large and long-term one, while Schneider is still on entry-level and only 25 years old. Poolies should already have anticipated a slightly reduced role for Luongo and an increased role for Schneider. Luongo will get on track, but may not get to 35 wins.

Steve Mason, Columbus

After a fantastic rookie season, Mason earned a mulligan for an off-second-year behind a weak team. Most poolies may have even allowed him a second mulligan last season. But a third? Three horrible seasons in a row constitutes a trend, not a blip. Suspensions and injuries aside, an 0-5-1 start is inexcusable. Mason doesn’t even have a capable backup to give him a break. In two weeks, Mark Dekanich should be back from an ankle injury and if Mason doesn’t turn things around by then, he could Pascal Leclaire his way out of the NHL by next year.

T.J. Oshie, St. Louis

Oshie is accustomed to strong starts that get broken up by an injury so this slow start is unexpected. However, none of the Blues are rolling right now and it could be a tough season statistically for many of them – from the goaltender out – without a philosophy change.

Antoine Vermette, Columbus

Flip a coin. Heads, Vermette will be great, tails he’ll be terrible. How do you explain the past four seasons of 53, 41, 65 and 47 points? How do you explain his zero-points-in-six-games start to this season? The only guarantee here is that he’ll top 40 points.

Marek Zidlicky, Minnesota

It was thought the low-scoring Wild would change their philosophy after acquiring Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, especially after both had a strong pre-season. But that has not been the case six games in. Unless something changes with the offense, Zidlicky is little more than a 43-point defenseman and an injury risk.


Brayden Schenn has been recalled by the Flyers after posting an incredible eight points in four American League games and a plus-3 rating. He made a statement that he doesn’t belong in the AHL. The problem is, will there be enough room for both Schenn and Sean Couturier this season? The onus is on Schenn to outplay the younger Couturier and establish himself as a productive NHLer, much like fellow rookie Matt Read has done. This could go either way, folks. Either Schenn gets 45 NHL points this season or he bounces up and down between leagues and posts 10 to 15 points at the NHL level. The next week or two will be quite telling.

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.

Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out or follow him on Twitter at @DobberHockey.


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