Center Peter Mueller looks on from the faceoff circle against the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
The 2008-09 season has its share of disappointments, perhaps even more than other campaigns. Here are some of the biggest disappointments from a hockey poolie’s perspective, along with their outlook going forward.
Antoine Vermette, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, Ottawa – Spezza is on pace for 64 points, while Heatley is on pace for 82. You don’t want to know how horrible Vermette is doing. Poolies drafted these guys expecting 100 each from Spezza and Heatley and a career season from Vermette. While Spezza will probably get back to a point per game by April, I don’t see any of these guys getting on their proper pace unless Ottawa makes a coaching change.
Mike Ribeiro and Brad Richards, Dallas – Richards is on pace for 60, while Ribeiro is on pace for 64. These two have seemed lost since Brenden Morrow was knocked out of the lineup. Ribeiro has four points in his past 12 games and Richards is pointless in six. Since Morrow is gone for the rest of the campaign, I have trouble seeing either of these two getting 70 points. Although Richards does not play with Morrow, the decrease in offensive depth on forward is really affecting him.
Kristian Huselius, Columbus – Pundits were split on how he would do in Columbus. Many figured he would slip to 55 points under Ken Hitchcock, while others figured he would jump to 80 points once he got out from under Mike Keenan. Huselius on pace for 54 points, so those who predicted a dip look to be right. He’ll increase that pace when he gets into a groove – because when he gets into that zone he produces like few others. It’s bound to happen sometime. Look for him to get into the high 60s.
Peter Mueller, Phoenix – He is on pace for 49 points when poolies were expecting 70. Sophomore jinx? Perhaps, but I think he is a slow starter because he also began last season like this. He is already turning it around with points in five of his past six contests. He will beat last year’s 54 points for sure.
Eric Staal, Carolina – He is on pace for 54 points, but things were much worse a week ago. He has five points in his past three games. Poolies are wondering if he will get back to the 100-point mark. It won’t be this season, but look for him to bounce back to 70 or 75.
Joe Corvo, Carolina – Perhaps the biggest disappointment amongst rearguards, Corvo is on pace for 27 points. When he joined the Hurricanes last season, he had 21 points in 23 games. He doesn’t even have half that at this point and he’s played in 30 contests! With Justin Williams back in the lineup, all of the Hurricanes should perform better, which in turn will help Corvo’s numbers and make him one of the better defensemen of the second half. He has played at least 25 minutes in each of the past five games.
Tomas Plekanec, Alex Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn, Montreal – This line was dynamite last campaign with 69, 84 and 53 points. This season they are on pace for 36, 62 and 38 and the line has been broken up. Other than Kovalev, who has six points in his past six games, I don’t see a big turnaround coming. They’ll improve a little, but they won’t get back on track until next year. Expect 50, 70 and 50 from these three.
Chris Drury, Rangers – After seasons of 67 and 69 points in Buffalo, Drury had 58 in his first year in New York. Rather than build on that, he has slipped even further and is on pace for 42. If the team signs Mats Sundin, Drury will become a full-time winger and that stability should help. I don’t see him finishing below the 50-point mark.
Erik Cole, Edmonton – After he had 59 points in just 60 games in 2005-06, expectations were high for Cole. He never really got back on track in Carolina, but poolies figured Edmonton would be just the thing he needed. That hasn’t been the case and he is on pace for just 23 points. That seems impossibly low for him, but if you expect Cole to bounce back and finish with 40 or more you are dreaming.
Farm Report: Nashville prospect Mike Santorelli had such a strong training camp he nearly made the team over favorites Ryan Jones and Patric Hornqvist. Santorelli, who turned 23 Sunday, has really turned it on in the American League as well, where he is on a 12-game point streak and has 23 points in that span. He is very much in Nashville’s plans and should have an NHL roster spot next season. His upside is that of a 70-point second-liner.
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.