Gustav Nyquist is a 24-year-old sophomore who is tearing it up in Detroit. But just how high can this Red Wing fly? The talk of fantasy hockey right now is a player who started the campaign in the American League, toiling for Grand Rapids. This wasn’t due to lack of skill or readiness; in fact, Nyquist was at times the best player on the ice for Detroit in last year's playoffs. It was due to the head-scratching off-season decision by Wings management to sign too many veterans, such as Daniel Cleary. Though Nyquist played just 22 NHL games last season and 18 in 2011-12, it’s enough to deem ineligible for the Calder Trophy. The Halmstad, Sweden native is currently sporting a five-game goal-scoring streak and has 40 points in 46 games. But his numbers get even more impressive than that.
Since Jan. 20, only one player in the league boasts more points than Nyquist. Here are the top scorers since that date, courtesy of
The above includes a league-leading 18 goals. At the end of the season, he could lead Detroit in scoring, which is impressive considering he didn't even get to join the team until 23 games in. So is he for real? What can we expect from Nyquist next year and beyond? I think we can all agree that he's for real, but where opinions differ is on the expectation. Some camps feel he will be a solid 70-point player with upside for more. Others feel he'll be an 80-point player who will occasionally top 90. I'm in the latter camp: I think he can be safely counted on for 75 right away if he can stay healthy. In the Fantasy Prospects Report that I put out annually, under "upside" it was written: "Datsyuk or Zetterberg anyone?" This was in 2009. So far, he's living up to that billing.
TYPICAL IGGY Jarome Iginla has always been a second-half stud. Strangely, the only exception to that trend was when he was "stuck" on a line with Sidney Crosby last season. Otherwise, when he's not playing with slugs like Crosby (tongue firmly in cheek here), he's been absolute dynamite after the turning of the calendar. We thought that this was behind him, as he was coming off a poor 2012-13 and is now 36 years old. But nope, he’s still going. As you have probably already noticed in the chart above, Iginla is tied for second in NHL scoring over the past two months. It's looking as though he will take a run at 70 points, which would make it the eighth time in his career that he turns that trick. This off-season, Iginla is set to become an unrestricted free agent and there will be no shortage of suitors. With the rising cap and a nice bounce-back season, he could even be in line for a raise (he had a base salary of $1.8 million this season with another $4.2 million in potential bonuses). The Bruins don't have a lot of cap room, so resigning him is unlikely. Can he repeat this 70-point performance on another team? On some squads, he absolutely can. But as we saw with Pittsburgh, there are definitely some places where he won't fit in a fantasy-appealing role. As such, his production could slot in anywhere from 55 to 70 points, which is a pretty broad window. In terms of value, shop a younger player who you peg with an upside in the mid-60s but maybe the Iginla owner values a little higher. If you can acquire Iginla for that price, it should pay dividends for you next season.
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 dobberhockey.com or follow him on Twitter at @DobberHockey.