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Fantasy Pool Look: Under the Radar

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Poolies are always looking for an edge, so I’ve trawled the stats pages in an effort to pull up some buried gems. Here are some players who may be available in your league, but absolutely deserve to be owned…

Wayne Simmonds, Los Angeles – After making a splash last season by not only making the Kings, but becoming one of the better two-way players on the team, the 21-year-old Simmonds has taken another huge step forward. I had him pegged as a quality third-liner with an upside approaching 60 points. Because he is currently on pace for 50 and he’s still so young, I have to wonder if he can be a top-sixer in a couple of years. For now, his 35 points, plus-18 rating and 87 penalty minutes make him a multi-category stud. Keeper-leaguers can expect 55 points and realistically hope for 60 from him in 2010-11.

Cal O’Reilly, Nashville – The fantasy hockey world buzzed about his younger brother Ryan’s fantastic start, but everyone’s eye should have been on this guy. Cal has the greater fantasy upside, whereas Ryan takes care of his own end (we don’t care about that in fantasyland). Today, Cal would have to clear waivers to be sent down and next season his contract becomes one-way. I would be looking for 50 points next campaign and given that he is currently lining up with J-P Dumont, I would think another 15 points is doable down the stretch this year.

Tyler Bozak, Toronto – Bozak had shown flashes of chemistry with Phil Kessel before Matt Stajan was traded. Now that Stajan’s in Calgary, Bozak is with Kessel full-time and the two have been dynamite. Bozak has also been responsible in his own end, which means coach Ron Wilson will keep giving him ice time. While continuing his trend of a point per game with Kessel is a little far-fetched, he is still a dark horse to tally 18 points in the final 23 games. Next season, 60 is attainable.

Steve Downie, Tampa Bay – Take the prognosis for Simmonds and lower the points and plus-minus a tad. Then ramp up the PIMs and you have Downie, who has really flourished under coach Rick Tocchet. He has been on and off the Vinny Lecavalier line and has been hot of late. In roto leagues, there is no way this guy is available. But in points-only leagues, there is some value here as Downie has 25 points in his past 37 games. His prospects were fading, but he’s certainly exploded back onto the scene and could become a 65-point-plus player in a couple of years.

Jussi Jokinen, Carolina – Yes, a player with 44 points is owned in pretty much every league. So Jokinen is an exception to this list, but I had to mention him. He is still treated as though he is a 55-point player by many fantasy owners. However, he is on such a hot run that at this point he should be commanding a 70-point player return. With 25 points in his past 21 games, Jokinen is clearly taking full advantage of being on a line with an equally hot Eric Staal. At 26, Jokinen is just now entering his prime and is an underrated fantasy asset.

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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