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Fantasy Pool Look: Sykora strikes Oil!

Petr Sykora signed with the Oilers as a free agent in the summer riding a streak of four straight seasons in which he failed to put up 60 points. In fantasy circles, he had been reduced to a depth or even a reserve forward, consistent in his inconsistency.

On his new team, coach Craig MacTavish immediately inserted Sykora with fellow Czech countryman Ales Hemsky in training camp and the two clicked. The chemistry has gone beyond the pre-season and Sykora is Edmonton's leading scorer with 13 points in eight games. The duo combined for seven points Monday against Phoenix and Sykora looks destined to climb back to his status as a solid 70-point player. The 32-year-old's career high of 81 points was set six years ago as a member of the Devils.

Hemsky should be right there with him, building on his own career high of 77 points set last season.

So far, MacTavish has been unable to find a permanent linemate for this twosome. Sparkplug Raffi Torres has had a long audition there, with weak results. Norwegian rookie Patrick Thoresen, a surprise out of training camp is the latest to try his hand in that role, and the results have been decent. Thoresen, who turns 23 next week, has five points in three games on that line and is an impressive plus-3. With continued success on a line like this, Thoresen could take a serious run at 55 points this yearÂ…

St. Louis forward Lee Stempniak has seven points in his last five games. He is currently playing on a line with Keith Tkachuk and Petr Cajanek. The 23-year-old had some offensive success during his college hockey days, so the potential is there. Be forewarned, though, Stempniak had a similar run last season when he first joined the Blues. I would cautiously put him down for 55 points and ride his current hot streak in any rotisserie leaguesÂ…

Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: In Tampa Bay, the injury to Ryan Craig (right knee) has opened the door for Nikita Alexeev to get some well-deserved ice time. The big Russian forward leads the team with seven points in eight games and had his first multi-point game of the season in the only game Craig has missed so far. Watch himÂ…

Farm Report: Philadelphia prospect Claude Giroux currently sits second in Quebec League scoring with 35 points in 16 games. The 18-year-old winger was drafted 22nd overall in 2006. Obviously, he has offensive potential. Expect him to display it in the NHL in about four years time.

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