Most teams have played between five and seven games now and poolies are starting to push the panic button. Cries of "Ovechkin's lost it" or "I gotta drop Bobby Ryan" can be heard in lunch rooms across North America, as the pressures of a shortened season start to weigh on fantasy owners. But sitting quietly, off to the side, the wise poolies are rubbing their hands with glee. They are tapping their fingers against each other, smiling and saying in a Monty Burns voice - "Excellent."
It's time to reach out to some of these owners. In other words - it's time for some bargain hunting. Some of these players may never turn things around, but more will than won't. Fantasy hockey is about risk and these guys are worth rolling the dice on.
Dustin Brown, Los Angeles, (5-0-1-1, minus-5)
Let's chalk up the first game to Anze Kopitar being out of the lineup and the second game to Kopitar getting his timing back, since he and Brown are linemates. So essentially Brown has a point in three games, which is really just a result of a team-wide slump. Brown had a massive post-season and also finished last regular season strong. At worst, he'll get 30 points and at best he'll get 40.
John Carlson, Washington, (6-0-1-1, minus-1)
The entire team has 13 goals in six games. At worst, the Capitals will have 144 goals in a 48-game season, so you have to figure they will have another 131 goals in 42 games, a 3.12 per game average. That's a 50 percent increase over the current production. Washington players on the whole will see a spike and Carlson, who sees more than 23 minutes per game and has 17 shots on goal, will turn it around.
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles, (5-0-0-0, minus-3)
You'll notice there will be several players from the same team on this list. That is because some teams are off to poor starts and this will lead to some pretty bad individual numbers. But 48-game season or 82-game season, teams will have hot streaks as well as cold ones. So when the Kings catch fire, so will Doughty.
Cam Fowler, Anaheim, (4-0-1-1, even)
Fowler is coming off a sophomore slump that saw him follow up a 40-point campaign with 29 points. Granted, a repeat of that production is possible, but his trade value right now is rock bottom so it will cost you very little to roll the dice and sit on him for six or seven more games.
Phil Kessel, Toronto, (6-0-3-3, minus-2)
The No. 6 scorer in the league last season is still in his training camp. He didn’t play in another league during the lockout and is behind the eight ball. By around Game 10, you'll see a significant turnaround. He'll get at least 40 points this year and probably closer to 45.
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles, (4-2-1-3, even)
The window to pick up Kopitar, who missed the first game recovering from a knee injury and took the second game to get his timing back, may have already closed. He has three points in his past two games and is virtually assured of a point-per-game when it's all said and done.
Alex Ovechkin, Washington, (6-1-1-2, minus-2)
Here is the best bargain in fantasy hockey. I acquired him myself Wednesday in one of my keeper leagues. Regardless of Ovechkin's numbers declining dramatically in both of the past two years, he hasn't lost his touch. Look no further than his 40 points in 31 Kontinental League games during the lockout. His past two seasons were the result of a defensive coaching system. His slow start this year is the result of the new coach, Adam Oates, stubbornly putting him on a line with, uh, Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb. This is a phase. Oates will wake up at some point. And when he does, you will want Ovechkin on your team. The downside to acquiring Ovechkin? He’ll only tally 35 points this year. The downside isn't so bad. The upside, however, is 55 points or more. Hey, it's Ovechkin we're talking about, come on.
Bobby Ryan, Anaheim, (5-1-1-2, plus-1)
This is just Bobby Ryan being Bobby Ryan. A slow start for him is typical - last year he finished with 18 points in 18 games, which is a nice way of saying that he produced just 39 points in the first 64 games.
Paul Stastny, Colorado, (6-0-1-1, minus-4)
Stastny has been producing in that 55-point range the past two seasons, after topping the 70-point mark on three occasions. The 55-point range, assuming a couple of games are missed due to injury, works out to about 33 points in a 48-game season. So expect 32 in the next 43 contests - and his history of 70-plus points indicates an upside for more.
Shea Weber, Nashville, (6-0-0-0, minus-1)
This is another case of a cold team dragging the individual player numbers down. The Preds have just 10 goals, total, in their six games. Weber has been like clockwork, posting between 43 and 53 points over his past four seasons. He'll get to 30 points, which means a hot streak is ahead.
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Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.