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Fantasy Pool Look: Dark horses & flops

The title says it all. Without further ado:

Dark Horses of the 2005/06 NHL season

Andy McDonald, Anaheim

Wow. That's the best way to describe McDonald's performance this season. Any owner who drafted McDonald last summer was likely looking for a depth player to fill out the bottom end of their fantasy team and put up 35 to 45 points. The 85 points he ended up with? Wow.

Tomas Kaberle, Toronto

All the talk was about Bryan McCabe this year, but the bottom line is I had Kaberle pegged for the low 40s and McCabe pegged for the low 50s heading into the season. They finished a point apart (Kaberle 67 and McCabe 68). That's fantasy gold.

Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton

His points per season went as follows, beginning in 2000-01: 16, 22, 33, 40, 46Â…73? As a statistician, these are the trends that keep us humble.

Lubomir Visnovsky, Los Angeles

To go from a career high of 29 to 67 points happens from time to time to players in their early 20s. A breakout like this from a 30-year-old – who'd of thunk?

Eric Staal, Carolina

Many felt that a 100-point season was on the horizon for Staal. Keep in mind, though, his rookie year saw him garner just 31 and he began this season as a 20-year-old. A 69-point jump gives you automatic dark horse status.

Brian Gionta, New Jersey

The talent has always been there, but as with most smallish players, who knew if the 5-foo-7, 175-pounder would ever get the chance. He got the opportunity, and an 89-point season pretty much ensures his size won't hold him back ever again.

Jason Williams, Detroit

Williams tapered off in the second half, but for undrafted player who was having trouble keeping a regular spot in the lineup, putting up 58 points classifies him as ‘dark horse'.

Hockey Pool Flops of the 05/06 NHL season

Bill Guerin, Dallas

Guerin could never seem to get anything going. He finally put together a nice string of games at the end of January and early February and then the Olympics came along. When he finally got things going again after the break, he took a puck in the eye and missed 11 games. All Dallas cares about is if he can get it going again in the playoffs.

Richard Zednik, Montreal

Nobody expected Zednik to go out and grab 70 points this year, but after back-to-back 50-point seasons and a more wide-open NHL, I think a lot of poolies were hoping for 60. They got 30Â…and a bunch of healthy scratches.

Sergei Fedorov, Columbus/Anaheim

His point totals this season (43) were his lowest since he missed 61 games in the 1997-98 campaign. Fedorov had a decent finish to the year, but that is small consolation to fantasy owners.

Zigmund Palffy, Pittsburgh

A point-per-game player suddenly retired at the age of 33. Thousands of poolies watched their potential winnings slip away right there.

Martin St-Louis, Tampa Bay

The defending NHL scoring champion enters a new NHL where scoring is emphasized, power plays are on the climb, and holding is down. So St-Louis follows up his 94-point season withÂ…61?

Jarome Iginla, Calgary

Not enough attention has been given to the superstar because his team is a Stanley Cup contender, and he is a great leader. In hockey pool circles, however, Iginla's owners wanted to see the 96-point player of 2001-02 back. His 67 points is a letdown, but this is what you can expect as long as there is a Sutter behind the bench. Next year, 67 points will not be a ‘flop' for Iginla – it will be expected.

Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk will miss Game 1 of their series against Edmonton with his thigh injury. He should be back by Game 3, but keep an eye on thingsÂ…Don't expect Ottawa star goaltender Dominik Hasek back during Round 1, but Round 2 seems possibleÂ…Buffalo's Jochen Hecht is not quite ready to return to the lineup, but he is getting closer. He is still skating with pain, so I would expect him to miss the first three or four games of the post-season. The Rangers' Martin Rucinsky could be back as early as this weekend as his broken finger is healing nicely.

Darryl Dobbs' Fantasy Hockey 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 Wednesday and Friday afternoon. Also, get the top 250 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN's Fantasy section.

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