Justin Williams has 141 goals and 363 points in 565 career NHL games. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
It’s hard to believe Justin Williams is only 29 years old. It seems as though he has been a point of fantasy league interest for years and years. Since joining the NHL as a 19-year-old in 2000, Williams has seen his stock rise well into the Top 50 for a couple of years in most leagues and then fall completely off the fantasy radar. He’s certainly back on the radar now.
The Los Angeles Kings right winger has had injury troubles the past three seasons, missing an average of 39 games in each. When he has played, his production has not been what we’re used to seeing. Williams has been through this before, having missed 41 games back in 2002-03 with a knee injury. He recovered from that enough to post seasons of 76 and 67 points in 2005-06 and 2006-07 - that was enough to make him a coveted winger to own in most fantasy formats. But over the following three seasons, Williams sustained a torn ACL, a severed Achilles tendon, a broken hand and a broken leg, sending his stock plummeting to near zero. Only the most astute poolies drafted him this past September – and even they put him directly onto the bench.
Now he’s kicked this season off with 14 points in 13 games, good enough to lead the team. So is the worst behind him? On one hand, he is unquestionably prone to injury. On the other, the injuries have all been to different parts of his body – with the exception of his left knee, on which he’s had surgery twice.
Williams is in his prime and clicking on a line with Ryan Smyth and Jarret Stoll, so there’s little reason to doubt he can produce at a 65- to 70-point pace. Now it’s just a matter of his health holding up and I have a hunch he’ll finally get lucky this year – and so will his fantasy owner...
Florida Panthers center Michael Frolik has five points in the four games since he was made a healthy scratch. As I noted in my column Saturday with Viktor Stalberg, a healthy scratch often kick-starts a youngster who’s in his first few seasons of pro hockey. Frolik is a potential first-liner who’s talented enough to post a point per game. He’s shown it at times, but the consistency hasn’t been there. Perhaps this is just what the doctor ordered...
Scott Gomez is pointless in his past seven contests and has just three points on the campaign. The Montreal Canadiens center is on pace for about 18 points this season, despite getting nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game. His last two seasons indicate he has regressed to the status of a 55- to 60-point player, but that’s a big jump from what we’re currently seeing. Throw in the fact the offense is being carried by Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec - and that youngster Benoit Pouliot is champing at the bit for more ice time - and Gomez owners could be in trouble. I still find it difficult to believe he’ll end with fewer than 50 points this season, so if you need a center who’ll get you 47 points in the next 65 games, I’m sure you can pick Gomez up for a song...
Edmonton prospect Linus Omark lit up the American League Sunday, scoring five goals in a game against Toronto - and then adding another in the shootout for good measure. Anyone who can notch five goals in a game at the pro level always grabs my attention, because the list of players who can do that is short. What an excellent sign for his future in Edmonton. Look for him to make the team next fall - or even sooner, if he keeps this up. His upside, in the right circumstance, is a point per game on the first line. But we won’t see anything like that for several years, if at all.
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. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.