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Fantasy Pool Look: Upping the Antti

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Many fantasy owners look at Antti Miettinen’s numbers from past campaigns and are confused as to how he could have 20 points in 24 games this season. After all, his career high is 34 points and it’s not often you see a player break out so dramatically at the age of 28.

However, some may recall a 10 game run in December of 2007 in which Miettinen tallied 14 points while with the Dallas Stars. Considering this constituted nearly half of his output for the entire season, it tells you a couple of things. First – Miettinen has the talent to put up decent numbers over a long period of time. Second, he is obviously quite streaky.

So when he joined the Minnesota Wild in the summer as an unrestricted free agent, it could have gone a number of ways. With talented linemates, he can produce in spurts. Last season’s run happened when he was playing with Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow. Because of his cold spells, he also needs a coach who will be patient and keep putting him out there.

So far, it looks as though Wild coach Jacques Lemaire has that patience. In 21 of his 24 contests, Miettinen has seen at least 17 minutes of ice time. This, despite his obvious tendency for streaky scoring – 10 points in eight games, followed by three in 11, and then his current run of seven points in five contests.

Miettinen is on pace is to finish with 68 points, which seems a little high. I would cap his limit at 65, though I think under the conditions he’s currently playing in you could see him approach a higher number this season.

Here is a name that probably wasn’t on any fantasy lists this past summer: Gregory Campbell. The 24-year-old Florida Panthers checking-line pivot is showing some offensive spark, tallying 11 points in his past 11 contests. While I serious doubt Campbell will be a fantasy asset because of his offense, he does show promise as a 40-point player who chips in 80 to 90 penalty minutes and strong plus/minus numbers. That is good enough to be a No. 4 center for a team in a lot of rotisserie leagues. In the meantime, his current offensive output makes Campbell a good short-term pickup.

Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: Given the NHL’s strange new policy of allowing teams to not disclose injury information (which is the exact opposite strategy the smarter people at the NFL have in place, but I digress), fantasy owners are pulling their hair out because of the missed opportunities. How many owners had Justin Williams active Thursday? How long did it take Paul Kariya owners to finally stick him on their injured reserve? I can’t speak on the Williams issue, but Kariya’s constant “any day now” status updates had me keeping him off the IR for four weeks before I finally caved. Wake up NHL – fantasy hockey is a growing part of the game and any sentence involving the word “hockey” and “growing” needs to be taken seriously.

Farm Report: Washington prospect Oskar Osala is making a huge impression as an American League rookie. He has 18 points in his past 18 games and his 16 goals are good for third-best in the league. Osala, who turns 21 the day after Christmas, is a big, skilled winger – but unfortunately plays on the left side. With Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin already locking up spots on the left wing with Washington, the team is already trying to train the likes of Tomas Fleischmann and even Semin on the other wing. Osala will get a long look next fall, but given his position he will probably not crack the lineup until 2010. He is one to watch, though.

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 1st of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.

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