Heading into Friday night, no NHL team had more goals per game than Philadelphia. However, much like last season, they are also a streaky team. After starting this campaign with six straight losses, the Flyers reeled off four wins in a row before losing two more. Through it all, they’ve scored 44 goals.
Besides captain Mike Richards picking up where he left off last season (proving myself and many other so-called fantasy experts wrong in the process), the return of Simon Gagne to the lineup has done wonders. Jeff Carter has also taken the next step in his development, showing signs he will one day become a 90-point player. Add that to a group of forwards who have the ability to put up big numbers alongside talented linemates and you have yourself one of the top offensive teams in the league.
Richards, Carter, Daniel Briere (more on him below) and Gagne are high-end talents. Their presence in the lineup turns 60-point teammates into 70-point teammates and 50-point guys into 60-point guys; they have an enormous impact on your lineup. The main beneficiaries of this ripple effect are Scott Hartnell, Mike Knuble and Joffrey Lupul.
Fantasy owners with a lot of Flyers on their team have to be happy with their early-season production. Unless, of course, one of those players is named Martin and stops the puck instead of shoots it.
To put it nicely, Martin Biron’s numbers have been weak. However, last season started the same way for the 31-year-old goaltender and I have little doubt he will pull it together for the final two or three months of this season. He makes for a great “buy low” candidate in fantasy leagues, but you may want to wait one more month before buying. When he starts rolling, though, this team will be difficult to beat...
Montreal and Phoenix are the only teams to have played less than 12 games. So, if you are down on your Canadiens or your Coyotes, you may want to remember they haven’t played as much before you panic. On the other hand, Anaheim and the Rangers are the only teams to have played 16 contests, so don’t get too comfortable because of the high points your players from those teams have. In fact, trading your Duck for a Hab right now would be a sneaky way to gain yourself a few points…
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: It looks as though Philly’s Briere (abdominal surgery) will be back within the next game or two; a full week ahead of schedule.
Farm Report: Anaheim prospect Eric Tangradi has 23 points in 17 games for the Belleville Bulls this season, good for seventh in the Ontario League. The 19-year-old left winger was selected in the second round (42nd overall) in 2007. After this junior season, he’ll spend a year in the American League before getting a legitimate shot at cracking the NHL roster. When he gets there he should be a top-six forward.
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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