Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings has slowed down since leading the league in scoring earlier this season. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)
We’re still doing double takes on some players when perusing NHL statistics, but as with most stats when it comes to professional hockey, they are falling back in line over the course of time.
First of all, Anze Kopitar is not supposed to lead the league in scoring. He’s a great player and at 22 his best years are still to come, but 100 points would be quite a reach. Kopitar is more of an 80- to 90-point player who will finish in the Top 20 in scoring most years, but rarely – if ever – in the Top 5.
Another anomaly is Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec, who is Vinny Prospaling his way into a good year/bad year/good year career pattern. After last season’s atrocious 39 points, he topped it this campaign by the midpoint. He was on pace for 89 points before managing just two in his past seven contests. He is now on pace for 79 points, which is probably his ceiling.
Edmonton’s Dustin Penner is in his fourth full NHL season, so a breakout is unsurprising. But a 90-point breakout? That would shock. He has four points in his past 12 contests and is now on pace to finish with 74. That’s still a tad high, but much easier for stats geeks (i.e. me) to swallow.
Next up is Wojtek Wolski. The Avalanche left winger was on pace for 85-plus points, which isn’t exactly far-fetched. However, the fact he’d be doing it after three seasons of declining numbers and doubling his total from a year ago is what made it so hard to believe. With three points in his past 10 games, Wolski is now on a 68-point pace. That’s a much more realistic step for him, even in a fourth-year breakout.
Washington’s Brooks Laich is on the upswing; there is no question about that. But he’s not an 80-point guy and never will be. So when he was on that pace about 25 games in, I wasn’t the only one raising an eyebrow. He has five points in his past 15 games and his pace has dipped to 57. Seeing as his career high is 53, that small step forward makes sense.
There are still some nutty stats out there that have yet to fall back into line. First on that list is Marian Gaborik. No, I’m fine with his 100-point pace, it’s his games played I’m not comfortable with – as in, he’s played almost all of them. He is extremely attractive in all fantasy leagues, but you won’t see me making a single inquiry about him. Sure, he could be in the beginning stages of a new iron-man record, but I’ll let someone else worry about it.
Ditto for Buffalo pivot Tim Connolly. Since the lockout, 63 games is his highest single-season total. He may be a safe bet to top that this year, but I wouldn’t be putting too much money on even 70 games.
And finally, there is Henrik Crosby – I mean Henrik Sedin. Steady as she goes, the Canucks center has given poolies about 80 points year-in and year-out since the lockout. Today – 46 games in – he’s on pace for 112. He only needs 20 points in his final 36 games to set a career high and 37 in 36 to get to 100. I never saw the Sedin twins as potential 100-point players and I still don’t, so I anticipate this one to fall short. Hedging my bets, I’ll pencil him in for 99, which is a point per game going 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 first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.