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Fantasy Pool Look: Youth movement

The Philadelphia Flyers have had their share of injuries - more so than any team in the NHL.

It is no secret they have been forced to go their American League farm club, the Philadelphia Phantoms, for help.

They had already started the year with rookies Jeff Carter and Mike Richards on the squad. And it did not take long for R.J. Umberger to get the call, nor for him to prove he belonged.

Other youngsters have been pressed into service as a result of injuries. Players like Freddy Meyer, Ben Eager, Randy Jones, and more recently, Stefan Ruzicka, have all received the call and stepped up admirably.

With Keith Primeau likely out for the season and significant injuries to the likes of Peter Forsberg, Eric Desjardins, Joni Pitkanen (who was also on the Phantoms last season), Kim Johnsson and Petr Nedved, these rookies have had games where they were, quite literally, the most important players on the Flyers.

In Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Islanders, Richards scored three times with Carter and Umberger chipping in the other two goals, not to mention assisting on each other's tally. In fact, veterans garnered only five of the fifteen points earned that night by the Flyers.

These youngsters are going to take on more of a role as their careers progress and they are looking like sure things based on what we've seen so far.

Carter is fourth on the team in scoring despite just under 12 minutes of ice per game. In a couple of years, he'll be getting 20 minutes a game and the sky is the limit for his offense.

Richards is already proving that he is a capable two-way player, as well as a leader. This is exemplified by the fact coach Ken Hitchcock has been trusting him with almost 16 minutes of ice time a game.

Umberger's on his way to a 35-point year - and he wasn't even in the lineup and the start of the season.

The list of quality youngsters goes on and on for Philly, but the bottom line is these are some solid pickups for your keeper league teamÂ…

Speaking of Philadelphia, former Flyer Jon Sim has found a home in Florida. While checking units are focusing on Olli Jokinen and his line, Sim has been taking care of business with his own troika. He has six points in three games, while linemate Chris Gratton has eight in the same span. Juraj Kolnik is the final member of the group and he picked up two points in his last game. The unit, despite the success, is still only garnering about 14 minutes of ice time per gameÂ…

Brad Stuart was clearly the key for Boston in the Joe Thornton trade. He has absolutely exploded in a Bruins uniform to become one of the most dangerous offensive defensemen in the league. Those owners who had been sitting on him in keeper leagues must be doing cartwheels right now. The 26-year-old has 16 points in his last 21 games and is proving that he is a 60-plus point power play QBÂ…

Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Buffalo's Daniel Briere (abdominal surgery) has decided to sit out the last couple of games prior to the Olympic break. It's the more intelligent move, for sureÂ…

Farm Report: Since returning to Hamilton of the AHL, Montreal prospect Andrei Kostsitsyn has five points in his last four games. The 20-year-old 2003 first round pick (10th overall) had 21 points in 34 games prior to his cup of coffee with the big club.

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. Also find the top 250 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN's Fantasy section.

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