Andrei Kostitsyn was having a miserable 2009. First, the headlines in all the Montreal papers back in February referred his alleged off-ice dealings. In the aftermath, he fell into the worst slump of his career.
Kostitsyn had seven points in four games prior to the sensational reports of his supposed involvement with the Russian mafia. After Feb. 20, he had four points in the last 23 games of the regular season and playoffs combined.
A summer off didn’t help matters, either, as he potted just five points in 20 games to start this campaign. Add it all up and Kostitsyn was in a tailspin that saw him manage just nine points in 43 games.
Owners in rotisserie leagues were bailing on him before October ended. Owners in keeper leagues wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot pole. After all, not only was he no longer producing, but with the Kontinental League a very real threat, he wasn’t worth the risk. Why take a player who may or may not bounce back, only to see him join the likes of Nikolai Zherdev and Alexander Radulov overseas?
But then something happened. The Habs found themselves in a lot of trouble when Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez suffered injuries. Montreal desperately needed offense from someone other than Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec. So, on Nov. 17, for just the fourth time all season and the first since mid-October, AK-46 was given more than 17 minutes of ice time. He scored, effectively ending his slump.
In the 12 games since, Kostitsyn has seen 17 minutes or more in nine of them. He has 14 points in that span, which if you’re paying attention, is significantly more than what he posted in the 43 games prior.
Still only 24, the Belarussian is a potential point-per-game player. And although it’s early, I think he can be that player over the final 46 games and wind up with 60 to 65 points…
Here’s another one of those players who I occasionally cite as reacting positively to being a healthy scratch: Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist had a monster camp and a decent first dozen games, but really struggled when the Preds had all of their big guns in the lineup.
When J-P Dumont, Steve Sullivan and Jason Arnott were all playing, Hornqvist couldn’t find the net with a compass and a flashlight. When one of them was hurt, he would sub in nicely on the top line.
After going 11 games without a point, coach Barry Trotz scratched Hornqvist. Upon returning, he scored a goal and a couple of games later he was thrown on a line with Dumont, while Martin Erat slid up to the top line. Hornqvist now has six points in his past three games. He should get to 40 this year and be a 60-point player going forward. With a strong set-up guy as a linemate (such as Dumont), Hornqvist could even do better than that.
Farm Report: Buffalo prospect Luke Adam, 19, parlayed a strong start to his Quebec League season with a spot on Team Canada’s world junior roster. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder has 52 points in 33 QMJHL games, including 12 in his past five. Normally I would say he is four years away from being a productive NHL regular, given that he is a power forward. But it’s Buffalo we’re talking about – a team in desperate need of skilled big men. As such, we could see him as early as in two years. The team would prefer to bring him along as a future top-sixer as opposed to another Paul Gaustad-type.
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.