Patric Hornqvist scored seven points in 28 games last year for Nashville. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
It’s the perfect example of the extreme ups and downs of a player in fantasy hockey over the course of one year. Patric Hornqvist arrived in Nashville’s camp back in 2008 with quite the pedigree. Now, after a season in which he fell off the fantasy hockey map, the 230th overall pick in 2005 has crept back onto our radar.
In 2006-07, Hornqvist broke the Swedish Elitserien record for most goals by a rookie – previously set by Peter Forsberg. After arriving in North America in 2008, he promptly made the Predators. That’s right about where the graph of his fantasy value reached a peak. He struggled as a finisher and managed just two goals in 28 games as a rookie and he continued to struggle at the American League level.
However, his AHL fortunes turned around in the second half and he exploded onto the scene in the 2009 edition of Nashville’s camp. The 22-year-old led all Preds in pre-season scoring, thanks in large part to an injury to Steve Sullivan. Hornqvist slid seamlessly onto the top line with Jason Arnott and J-P Dumont. When Sullivan returned to start the season, Hornqvist was removed from the line. However, he was right back on there again, earning an assist, after Dumont left Saturday’s contest with an injury.
At this point it is pretty clear Hornqvist makes a solid dark horse if someone on the top line sustains a long-term injury. Otherwise, it’s probably a lot to expect him to get to 40 points this campaign. But it’s promising to see that he has his confidence back. Had he not made the team I would have expected to see him return to Sweden. Now back on track, perhaps he’ll reach his 65- to 70-point upside by 2012…
Poolies who drafted multi-category stud David Backes are disappointed with what they have seen so far. They can take solace in the fact Backes ranks second on the Blues among forwards in average ice time per game. He has seen three minutes per contest more than Paul Kariya (who has four points already). Coach Andy Murray essentially wants Backes out there more any other forward, so the points will come…
Sergei Shirokov of the Vancouver Canucks is finding the NHL regular season is quite different from the NHL’s pre-season. The rookie is pointless in his first three games and is also minus-4. If Vancouver keeps losing, it will be the least experienced/least productive on the team who will be sent to the press box first. Shirokov will need to pull out of this tailspin quickly if he hopes to give his fantasy owners any kind of decent numbers this campaign…
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: With San Jose center Joe Pavelski out for a couple of weeks due to a lower-body injury, look for rookie Benn Ferriero to see time on the second line. Patrick Marleau will move back to center and the young winger should see some action with him. Ferriero offers moderate upside and potentially 90-100 penalty minutes; he is coming off a very strong camp…
Farm Report: Boston prospect Joe Colborne scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in the first game of the season for the University of Denver. With a strong season, which I fully expect, Colborne will be wooed by the Bruins to sign a contract. With Marc Savard likely leaving as a free agent next summer, there will be room on the B’s for a newer version of ‘Big Joe.’
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 first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.