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Fantasy Pool Look: Early indications

I can remember a hockey pool I ran back in 1995 for the playoffs. It was a basic pool where you select any 12 forwards and six defensemen, and their total points at the end of the playoff would determine the winner.

It was not a draft-style pool, which meant that one person could conceivably choose the same team as another. As basic as you can get.

The deadline for submissions was actually the day after the playoffs were underway (I was in school, so I was pretty much late with everything), so eight teams played their first game. Dale Hunter scored four goals in a game against Pittsburgh en route to a Washington victory – again, this happened the day before teams were to be submitted. Wouldn't you know it – everyone in the entire pool had Hunter as one of their 12.

A player having a big game early in the playoffs is not always an indicator of whom you should be picking up in your rotisserie league. Hunter wound up with four assists in his next six games before the Caps were eliminated.

So what I'm saying is – don't rush out and grab John Madden and Jason Pominville next trade period just because they had early hat tricks. If the Devils were to go all the way to the Cup final, you can expect Madden to get 10 points in 20 games. Ditto for Pominville if the Sabres go to the final.

You have to look at a player's role with the team.

Pominville picked up his hat trick while playing under eight minutes in the game against Philadelphia. His ice time is not going to change, and the odds of him scoring a goal every three minutes in future contests is quite slim. Madden is a checking line center, albeit one of the best, but a checker nonetheless. He is a point-per-two-games player, whether it is the regular season or the playoffs.

The statistics almost always balance out. Rookie Wojtek Wolski had a three-point game in Game 1 for Colorado, but was pointless in Game 2. He hardly played at all in the third period. In a seven-game series, I would expect four or five points out of him, and a three-point game will not change that.

By the same token, just because regular season leading scorer Maxim Afinogenov doesn't have a point despite the fact Buffalo has 11 goals in their series with Philadelphia doesn't mean you should drop him. His time will come, and when it does he will take his linemates Derek Roy (also no points) and Tomas Vanek (againÂ…no points) with him.

The only early indicator I go by is the play of the goaltenders. Marty Turco of Dallas and Jose Theodore of Colorado have both been weak between the pipes. Regardless of which team goes to the next round, they will lose with goaltending like this.

Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers must still be having problems with his hip flexor injury, because he was horrible in Game 1. This tells me that the Rangers will be hard pressed to get back into this series, as Lundqvist is a big reason why they're in the playoffs. The other reason they're in the post-season – Jaromir Jagr – is also hurt, which doesn't help.

In the event the Carolina Hurricanes scrape by Montreal, and that is a task in itself since they're down 2-0, it will be Cam Ward that leads them in goal. Martin Gerber is not on his game and I would not trust the ‘Canes to go to Round 3 if Gerber is counted upon for Round 2.

Farm Report: Maple Leaf prospect Alexander Suglobov has six points in three playoff games for the American League's Marlies. Suglobov will likely be on the big club next season, and has the ability to have a 50-point rookie season. The skills are there, and he is ready. It will depend on the role Toronto's next coach will put him in.

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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