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Fantasy Pool Look: Young blueliners putting up points

Jay Bouwmeester began the season as tentative as a pussycat, but he sure is ending the season as ferocious as a lionÂ…or Panther.

The Florida defenseman has 11 points in his last 10 games, and 29 in his last 33. The 22-year-old started the year with just three points in 17 games. Now he is solidifying himself as one of the elite fantasy defenseman pickups. Bouwmeester is young, his career has been virtually injury-free, and he has yet to take a step back in his progress.

The third overall pick in 2002 currently sits tied for 18th amongst defensemen in scoring, but had he put up numbers in his first 20 games like he has of late, he would easily sit in the top 10. That is where he should be drafted this summer for one-year pools and keeper leagues that are just starting up. He has found a home as a top-10 fantasy defenseman now.

Another young defenseman to keep an eye on is San Jose's Matt Carle. He was recently awarded the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top U.S. collegiate player, and has picked up four points in eight games after signing with the Sharks in mid-March. A 2003 second round pick (47th overall), Carle has watched his stock in the San Jose system rise exponentially, making huge strides in his development this season. Next year may not be the breakout season for the 21-year-old, but it may not be far awayÂ…

Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: I reported in this column last week that Ottawa's Martin Havlat was to have made his return to the lineup April 10. That did not happen as his return date was pushed back to April 15. I still would expect Tyler Arnason's 10-game pointless streak to end at that timeÂ…Nashville rearguard Marek Zidlicky's shoulder injury looks like it will keep him out until the playoffs. The Preds are sure going to need him at that point, given their star goaltender, Tomas Vokoun, is out until the fall with a blood clotÂ…

Farm Report: Brandon Dubinsky, a 2004 second round pick (60th overall), leads all Western League playoff scorers with 14 points in nine games. Dubinsky, who turns 20 in a couple of weeks, did not crack the New York Rangers top 10 list of prospects in this year's Future Watch, but leading the Portland Winter Hawks to a Memorial Cup berth sure would change that. How he performs next year in the American League will be the true test.

Darryl Dobbs' Fantasy Hockey 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 Wednesday and Friday afternoon. Also, get the top 250 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN's Fantasy section.

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