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Fantasy Pool Look: Finishing strong

Jason Spezza has 22 goals and 54 points in 57 games this season. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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Jason Spezza has 22 goals and 54 points in 57 games this season. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

As late as February I was getting a lot of push-back from readers – be it via email, Twitter (@DobberHockey), comments on my website, or on THN.com – whenever I dared state that Jason Spezza was as solid a producer as Dany Heatley. The consensus was that Spezza’s numbers were the result of Heatley and with the latter gone to San Jose, the former couldn’t possibly produce at the pace he was.

With 30 games to go in the campaign, Spezza had but 19 points (thanks in large part to a knee injury) while Heatley had 55. Now, with just three games remaining, Spezza has closed the gap to 54 and 80. Both now hover around a point-per-game overall.

Pay attention, keeper leaguers: This summer you could easily get Spezza and another solid player for Heatley in a deal. If your league doesn’t distinguish forward positions, this would be an excellent way to take advantage of the situation. The only reason Heatley will beat Spezza next season – and only by a few points – is because he is more durable. Otherwise, their upside is the same. Food for thought…

Terrible luck for Peter Mueller, who was on a tear in his second life in the NHL, tallying 20 points in 15 games for the Avalanche. Mueller sustained a concussion Sunday, wiping out what remains of his regular season. It’s Mueller’s second concussion, but as long as he doesn’t return for the post-season he will have all summer to recuperate. In the meantime, poolies who just look at the final stats will see a player who failed to reach 40 points. That will help him sink lower in the draft, thereby giving you a nice dark horse. He’ll get at least 60 points and probably quite a bit more in 2010-11…

Meanwhile, Brandon Yip will slide into Mueller’s spot nicely. Yip had missed most of March with a shoulder injury and returned to find there was no more room in the top-six. Now there is. He had 18 points in 26 games before getting hurt…

Don’t think of Erik Karlsson as a defenseman on a regular learning curve just because he’ll end the campaign with around 25 points and a minus-7. No, he’s on the fast track, mark my words. The 19-year-old has 16 points in his past 20 games and is a plus-1 in that span. I’ll boldly pencil him in for at least 48 points next campaign…

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Speaking of defensemen on late-season surges, how about Edmonton’s Tom Gilbert? The 27-year-old has followed up a 45-point season with what looked to be 15 points as recent as a month ago. Now he has 13 points in his past 13 games. This begs the question, which Tom Gilbert will we see next year? The one who showed the next step would be 50 points, or the one who couldn’t earn an assist or score a goal to save his life? I took him last summer in one league and stubbornly hung onto him all year. I won’t be doing that again. Someone else can deal with the “will he, or won’t he” questions…

Islanders winger Blake Comeau has 19 points in his past 17 games. He had 15 in 43 before that and was a frequent healthy scratch. If the Islanders don’t make a lot of off-season changes, then I like Comeau for 55 points next year. If they bring in a top-six forward, then I don’t…

It’s bad luck that Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist played 28 games last year. That’s three more than the limit allowing him to be eligible for Calder consideration this season. His 51 points would put him second in rookie scoring to Colorado’s Matt Duchene and his 30 goals would lead all freshmen by a wide margin. The Preds are starting to build their offense around Hornqvist, as opposed to more established vets such as Steve Sullivan and J-P Dumont. Next year Hornqvist will top 60 points.

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.

Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.

Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out dobberhockey.com

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