Remember the media-made Taylor vs. Tyler fiasco 18 months ago? We all knew the Oilers would draft Taylor Hall, but hockey pundits wanted to make it clear the decision would be close, and rightly so. Hall went on to make a splash in Edmonton last season, finishing one point out of first in team scoring despite missing 17 games to injury.
Tyler Seguin, on the other hand, was buried on a deep Boston squad. Just making the team was a huge feat, because the Bruins didn’t have any room for him. His ice time of 12:12 per game exemplified that.
Things didn’t look like they’d change for Tyler this year, as the Bruins remained deep, though the departures of Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi opened up a spot. However, Seguin won’t be held back any longer. There are forwards on the Bruins with a lot of talent, a sizable contract and who’ve paid their dues. But Seguin is ready - right now - to become the next big star. He had 14 points in 12 games to kickoff 2011-12. The question isn’t: “Whom does he play with?” It’s more like: “Who gets to play with him?”
Meanwhile, Hall is playing second fiddle to this year’s top gun, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Hall’s nine points in 12 games is nothing to sneeze at, but he’s certainly no Seguin so far. At this point, it seems Hall’s production is being boosted from playing with RNH instead of it being the other way around. As a rule of thumb, I prefer the production “drivers” over the players who benefit from their linemates. And while I acknowledge the jury is still out on that when it comes to Hall, it’s certainly not cut and dried like it is in Boston.
So just like that, in the span of roughly seven months, a complete reversal. Give me Seguin in a keeper league.
CITY OF BROTHERLY GOALS
Thank you, Philadelphia. The Flyers are injecting new life into fantasy hockey with their torrid scoring and, er, goals against. They lead the NHL by a wide margin in goals-for, but their run-and-gun style has also proven costly in their own end. Bring back ‘80s hockey, baby!
Don’t worry about goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Although the goals-against will give him a beating, he’ll win more 9-8 games than he’ll lose, so the Ws will be there in spades. The Flyers are 24th in GAA, but who needs defense when you have emerging superstar Claude Giroux, “second-liner” Daniel Briere, “born again” Jaromir Jagr, Scott Hartnell...oh boy, I could go on down the roster. Here’s an obvious hint for bettors: pick the “over.”
Keep an eye on the Devils’ Adam Henrique. The 21-year-old has found himself on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise and the result was five points in three games and a steady rise in ice time (his last game was 18:46). Even when coach Pete DeBoer swapped David Clarkson for Ilya Kovalchuk last game it didn’t slow Henrique. As a prospect, Henrique is considered a “tweener,” which is to say he’s a fit on either the second scoring line or the third-line energy/checking trio. On his own he could thrive as a 55-point player. However, as we’ve seen with the likes of Jonathan Cheechoo and a host of other youngsters with modest potential the right chemistry on the right line can push a player into a new stratosphere. Henrique has until Travis Zajac returns from injury in another month to six weeks to show the Devils where he belongs.
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.