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Fantasy Pool Look: The skinny on Jeff Skinner

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

With every game he plays, 18-year-old Markham, Ont., native Jeff Skinner shows why he is quickly becoming the most coveted 2010 draftee in fantasy hockey. The Hurricanes organization fell in love with this kid immediately and we’re finding out why.

Not the biggest or strongest of players, Skinner was drafted into an organization that already had several potential top-sixers who were within two years of making the team. With Drayson Bowman, Zach Boychuk, Jiri Tlusty, Zac Dalpe and the underrated Jonathan Matsumoto all vying for a spot, what chance did an undersized teenager have?

But the 5-foot-10, 193-pound Skinner has outplayed all of them. He’s outplayed fellow 2010 draftees Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin and he’s outplayed (and out-produced) the entire Carolina roster, including Eric Staal.

A 50-goal scorer for the Kitchener Rangers last year, the 2010 seventh overall draft pick now finds himself on Mr. Staal’s line. In his first game there, he picked up two points. As long as he’s in that plum spot, the points will come rolling in.

Within a few seasons, you could be looking at a 50-goal, 100-point player. Now, whenever I say stuff like that keep in mind players rarely get there - he is just one of the few who “could” theoretically do so. The hands and hockey sense are there and he’s certainly on the right track. Count on 60 points this season and at least 25 goals - it seems pretty likely he will at the very least round into a point-per-game player or close to it…

One thing that has gone largely unnoticed is how well Viktor Stalberg has been playing for the Blackhawks. All it took was - go figure - a healthy scratch. Works almost every time on players who are in one of their first two or three NHL campaigns. After managing just a point in his first six games, Stalberg now has six in his past eight since getting back into the lineup. His last effort earned him three points against the Devils and nearly 18 minutes of ice time. He has been seeing time on the “all-underrated line” with Patrick Sharp and Tomas Kopecky…

Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective

The injury to Dion Phaneuf (leg) should really help two players (and already has, if the first game without him is any indication). Carl Gunnarsson got back into the lineup and picked up an assist, although he didn’t get onto the power play. Tomas Kaberle played on the opposite point on the power play and was much more effective. His points-per-game have taken a beating since Phaneuf’s arrival, so I think we’ll see him back to his usual 60-point self as long as Phaneuf is sidelined (approximately one month)…

Farm Report

Montreal prospect David Desharnais continues to dominate at the American League level. The undrafted center was signed by the Habs in 2008 and tallied 78 points in 60 AHL contests last year. He also had a point in six games with the big club. So far this season he has tallied at least a point in each of his first 10 contests for Hamilton, good for sixth in league scoring with 16 points. Desharnais would be an NHLer right now if he were six-foot. But he’s 5-foot-7 and will really have to work for it. Still, he’s worth keeping on your radar.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy 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 Tuesday and Saturday. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.

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