The New Jersey Devils were the lowest-scoring team in the NHL last season and averaged 2.08 goals per game. The second-lowest was Ottawa at 2.32. The highest-scoring team last season, Vancouver, averaged 3.15. In 2009-10, the worst offense was Boston at 2.39, which leads me to believe the Devils were an anomaly. As such, let’s use the Ottawa number as the bottom of the spectrum and keep the Vancouver number as the top. While scoring numbers change from year to year, those averages of 2.32 and 3.15 are a good benchmark for teams this season.
As of Thursday, there were 11 teams below the range and three above. These 14 teams – along with a few other notables - will watch their productions fluctuate over the next 74 games or so and you can leverage this information in fantasy trade discussions involving players on these teams.
TEAMS THAT WILL SLOW DOWN
Washington – 4.14 goals per game
“Sell high” candidates include Nicklas Backstrom, Dennis Wideman, Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson.
Chicago – 3.25 goals per game
“Sell high” candidates include Marian Hossa (he often gets hurt 20 or 30 games in), Nick Leddy (I just don’t see 40 points from him this season) and Dave Bolland (another injury-prone player).
Philadelphia – 3.11 goals per game
“Sell high” candidates include Jaromir Jagr and Sean Couturier. Also, Chris Pronger – who is hurt – is overachieving. Rookie Matt Read is on pace for 60 points, which is possible, but doubtful.
Colorado – 2.78 goals per game
“Sell high” candidates include Ryan O’Reilly, who, I’ll say it right now, will never get 70 points. Also Kyle Quincey and David Jones.
Toronto – 3.12 goals per game
“Sell high” candidates include, well, the guy on a 150-point pace (Phil Kessel). Also Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and John-Michael Liles.
Tampa Bay – 3.22 goals per game
Marc-Andre Bergeron, the subject of Monday’s column, has 10 points already and is the only “sell high” player on this team right now.
TEAMS ON THE RISE
N.Y. Islanders – 2.00 goals per game
“Buy low” candidates include Michael Grabner, for whom I predicted a sophomore slump, just not on this scale. Also Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey, Travis Hamonic, Frans Nielsen and Andrew MacDonald.
Nashville – 2.00 goals per game
“Buy low” candidates include Shea Weber, Jonathan Blum, Martin Erat (who is back from injury soon) and Patric Hornqvist (who will, eventually, shake off his injury woes).
N.Y. Rangers – 2.00 goals per game
“Buy low” players include Marian Gaborik, Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov.
Edmonton – 1.88 goals per game
“Buy low” on these guys: Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi and Ryan Whitney. Eventually, the magic surrounding Corey Potter will wear off and that will coincide with Whitney getting his rhythm and timing back (assuming he returns from his knee injury relatively soon).
Winnipeg – 2.12 goals per game
“Buy low” candidates include Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little.
Los Angeles – 2.12 goals per game
There aren’t a whole lot of “buy low” candidates here. The players who need to produce are posting at about the pace they should, although Dustin Brown is a point or two lower than his proper pace and Jarret Stoll could use a couple as well. Drew Doughty has been hurt and is worth inquiring about. Dustin Penner is the only slacker (one point in six games), but I wouldn’t recommend targeting him.
Calgary – 2.38 goals per game
I’ll bet any money that Jarome Iginla does not finish at his current pace of 41 points. Rene Bourque finally broke out for two goals on Wednesday, so the buy low window on him may have closed.
Joe Colborne has been ridiculous in the American League so far this year. In seven games, the Toronto prospect has seven goals and 15 points. The Leafs were right to keep him down there another season, but if he continues to post strong numbers he’ll roll into next training camp with a lot of confidence…
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.