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Fantasy Pool Look: Too little, too late

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

It’s a real kick in the teeth when the player or players who disappointed you throughout most of the season start getting hot in late March. By that time, you’re either out of the running or you have already dropped them. Here are a few of the culprits who are performing now that you no longer care about, along with what it means for next season.

Sean Avery, N.Y. Rangers

A strong finish at the end of last season led poolies to believe that at the very least he would match his career high of 48 points this year and put up 200 penalty minutes. On March 10, he had 25 points and 135 penalty minutes, which had him pacing for about 30 and 160. After getting scratched from the March 12 game against Atlanta, Avery has come back in a big way notching six points and adding 25 PIM. Why couldn’t he have been scratched in November?

Next season:
Keep expectations modest and hope for 40 points and 180 penalty minutes.

Andrew Cogliano, Edmonton

What a dog this fantasy player turned out to be. The career trajectory is completely backwards for Cogliano: he followed up a 45-point rookie campaign two years ago with 38 last year; this year he will be lucky to reach 30. In fact, 20 was looking doubtful until he garnered eight points in his past seven games.

Next season: With a better cast around him, he should have a small rebound near 40 points or so, but the writing is on the wall that he is destined to become a third-liner instead of a top-sixer.

Valtteri Filppula, Detroit

You can’t get down on the 26-year-old too much for this one. He broke his wrist early in the season and took quite a few games to get his strength back. He had 26 points in 43 games as of March 19. He now has 34 in 46 after a huge three-game run.

Next season: If healthy, Filppula will be a lock for 60 points and should even flirt with 65. That was in the cards for this year (after his fantastic 2009 post-season), but the wrist injury derailed things.

Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton

Another Edmonton dog who killed poolies this year. Horcoff managed just 20 points in the first 55 games, despite his hefty $5.5 million cap hit. In fact, his “minus” number was higher than his point total (minus-31). Not only was he not helping poolies, he was hurting them. Badly. But if it makes you feel any better, he has 11 points and is a plus-3 in his past 13 games. Oh, it makes you feel worse? Sorry!

Next season:
Again, with a stronger cast around him (potentially Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle, Nikolai Khabibulin and Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin) his plus-minus will improve, as will his point total. Expect an even plus-minus and 50 points. His first-line center days are done, though.

Paul Kariya, St. Louis

We knew he’d lost a step at 35, but he had 15 points in just 11 games last year and four in four pre-season games back in September. A small sample size to be sure, but still promising. However, he had just 26 points in his first 53 games and reaching 40 looked to be tough. In the past 15, he has righted things a little with 14 points.

Next season: He’s an unrestricted free agent. I don’t see a Teemu Selanne-type bounce back, but his new team will sign him to play in their top six and if healthy he should be good to surpass 60 points again.

David Krejci, Boston

He returned early after having hip surgery and the result has been a mighty struggle to produce points. This struggle lasted 59 games, where he managed just 32 points in that span. He has 12 in his past 11 now.

Next season: What a great “buy low” candidate Krejci is. I think he’ll get back up to 70 points.

Peter Mueller, Colorado/Phoenix

After a 54-point rookie season in 2007-08, injuries slowed Mueller down the following campaign. Poolies had high hopes for him this year, but he managed just 17 points in 54 games with Phoenix and found himself in the press box on occasion. A trade to Colorado made all the difference as he has 15 points in his first 11 games there.

Next season:
I’ve always seen an 85- or 90-point potential in him, but I wouldn’t be so bold as to predict that for next year. However, I will still say he will flirt with 70, provided the Avs aren’t hit with a slew of sophomore slumps. Is it possible for five or six players on the same team to get hit with that affliction?

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 throughout the season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.

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