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Fantasy Pool Look: What wins playoff pools

With 11 points in six first round games, Mikael Samuelsson is second in league scoring. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

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With 11 points in six first round games, Mikael Samuelsson is second in league scoring. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Vancouver was a fairly popular team to build playoff office pool rosters around this year. After all, with San Jose’s playoff track record (and subsequently their track record for breaking poolie hearts), Chicago’s constant goaltending questions and Detroit’s uneven first two-thirds of the season, the Canucks seemed the safe play.

But among Canucks drafted, right winger Mikael Samuelsson was selected fifth or sixth in the majority of pools, which would put him somewhere in the fourth round. And yet, with 30 or 35 players selected before him, he’s second in playoff scoring as the first round draws to a close. If Vancouver gets to the final, Samuelsson will become the perfect example of what wins playoff pools. Even if he slips to his normal pace of one point every two games, he’s still looking at topping 20 in the end.

If only we knew this beforehand.

But, of course, if we did, he would have been snagged in the first round and we would be looking at some other later-round pickup (Joe Pavelski, anyone?) as the hero in office pools. At the end of the regular season, Samuelsson was out of the top six. Pavol Demitra, who was finding his rhythm, pushed Samuelsson to the third line, which makes Samuelsson’s 11 points in six playoff contests that much more unexpected. He was thrown back onto the top line with fellow Swedes Daniel and Henrik Sedin and this time the trio found the magic.

A coach will make adjustments and swap his lines, which sometimes results in a surge like Samuelsson’s and sometimes leads to a slump like Mason Raymond’s (one point in six games). But isn’t that what makes playoff pools – and fantasy leagues in general – fun?...

Brandon Yip is Colorado’s Kris Versteeg. His hustling, edgy style and his point production are similar. If Yip played the entire season in Colorado (and remained healthy), his rookie season would have been similar to Versteeg’s from a year ago (53 points in 2008-09).

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Furthermore, Yip stepped up his game in the playoffs, finishing with four points in six games, good for second on the team. Unfortunately, Yip is buried on a deep Avalanche team. A healthy lineup next season will see Yip on the third line and his numbers will probably be in that 45-point range. Just like Versteeg…

Farm Report:
Atlanta Thrashers prospect Jeremy Morin learned a valuable lesson about the rigors of playoff hockey. His Kitchener Rangers team (Ontario League) surged to a 3-0 series lead over Windsor before the Spitfires roared back with four straight victories. Excluding Game 3 of that series, in which Morin had three points and was a plus-4, he struggled somewhat. He was a minus-8 in the other six games and managed just five points, despite putting up 83 points in 58 games in the regular season. The highly skilled Morin will need to take his game to the next level in the clutch before making the jump, but the future is bright for this future first-line scorer.

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. 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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