Mike Fisher is second in Senators scoring this season. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Sometimes fantasy hockey makes you want to bang your head on your desk. Well, not so much “sometimes” as “often.” But here’s a real head-bang-inducing player. He goes by the name of Mike Fisher.
The 1998 second round (44th overall) draft pick has taken a long path to come into his own, but it has been a steady one, which makes evaluation of him relatively simple. As long as you completely erase what happened last campaign. The Ottawa pivot made the NHL for good at the age of 19, which is pretty promising. He also posted seasons of steadily increasing points totals: 9, 19, 24, 38, 10 (injured), 44, 48 and then a slight step back at 47. However, during that season (2007-08) he was on fire through the first 58 games (42 points) before hitting a wall.
That led me to acquire Fisher in two of my leagues (I usually go in five every year, three of which are keeper leagues) in the summer of 2008. We all know how that went, not just for Fisher, but for the entire Ottawa organization. Fisher had 32 points and was dropped by November in one league and by early January in the other. That 65-point breakout I had him pegged for just didn’t materialize.
Actually it did, although it must have tried to drive through Toronto traffic because it’s a year late. His 19 points in 19 games place him second in team scoring by a wide margin. In fact, one would think he swapped stats with Jason Spezza who, at a goal and 11 points, is more in line for what I expected from Fisher at this point.
He’s always been pretty streaky and, as I outlined above, he is capable of going into 25-game slumps. But there are no signs of that happening anytime soon. In fact, he’s actually heating up with 15 of his points (and plus-5) coming in the past 13 games. Heading into Friday’s action he was tied for 14th in the league among centermen, making him a strong No. 2 in pretty much all rotisserie formats and a weaker No. 1 in some.
At the age of 29 he’s is in the heart of his prime years, making him a strong keeper option as well. Now, I don’t believe for a second he can be an 80-point player, but certainly scoring in the high 60s is within his grasp. And if he gets there I think he’ll make it a habit.
The one thing that has been his Achilles’ heel is his fragility. Although healthy for the past two campaigns, he failed to reach the 70-game mark in six of seven seasons prior to that. An injury would ruin this momentum he has been building and he may not be able to get it back. But if he can stay healthy for a third year in a row, he’ll finally reach his potential…
Farm Report: Rookie sensation Michael Del Zotto has slowed a little as of late, managing just three points in nine games to go with a dismal minus-6 in that span. I believe the Rangers’ rearguard will pull out of it and still finish with around 49 points. However, if his play spirals downward any further, there is a chance the Blueshirts will give him a stint in the minors to regain his confidence. I say this because they have another option – Bobby Sanguinetti. The other future star defenseman in the system is dominating the American League with six goals and 20 points in 19 games. That puts the 21-year-old in a tie for fourth in AHL scoring. If Del Zotto turns it back around and Sanguinetti remains with the Wolf Pack, look for him to make the jump next year.
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.