Jamie Benn has been one to watch in with the Dallas Stars this season. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
In a points-only keeper league, would you trade Zach Parise for Jamie Benn straight up? What about Eric Staal? Brad Richards? Ilya Kovalchuk? The correct answer is – yes. Benn was a favorite of mine to take the next step and become a star. He’s done that and then some.
Granted it’s early, but I’m still confident we can place his name among the common big fantasy hockey names (such as the ones above) and pay the price in trade talks, accordingly. No more is he a “good 60-point player with potential for 80.” Now he’s a great 80-point player with potential for 90. And this isn’t a judgment call based on 14 games in which he has 18 points, either.
I noted in my Fantasy Guide over at DobberHockey that “he had six points in seven games without Richards, and then continued posting points with another 17 in 16 games to finish off the campaign.” I then proceeded to assign him a 25 percent confidence rating that he would reach 80 points this season. During the past summer I drafted eighth in one of my leagues in which we keep 12 players. I couldn’t believe someone left Benn unprotected and in my books there was nobody available who was even close to him in value. I tried desperately to move Kovalchuk and my eighth pick to get into the top 4, but couldn’t put the right package together.
It turns out I didn’t need to. Benn fell to me eighth. But the point is, I was willing to move Kovalchuk for him and use Kovalchuk’s star power to land other assets in the deal as well. Today, Kovalchuk shouldn’t be able to get Benn in a points-only league, let alone get other assets on top of it.
Much like Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux, or Boston’s Tyler Seguin (subject of my column Monday), Benn has arrived and you should have zero inhibitions about paying a heavy price for him.
Ever since Johan Franzen exploded onto the fantasy hockey scene with a stunning 18-point playoff performance in 2008, poolies have been waiting for it to translate into regular season success. His season numbers have been good, but not great. And he has since teased us further with 44 points over 43 playoff games. But he still hasn’t hit 60 during the regular campaign. Year after year the reason has been injuries. Whether he plays through them or they cause him to sit out, Franzen has been dogged by ankle issues, groin issues, major knee surgery, hip issues, etc. It’s now a given that he misses time. But in the off chance he manages to stay healthy…well let’s just say there is a reason why the Wings are paying him more than $5 million per season.
Cody Eakin is a great own in keeper leagues, even if the Washington Capitals are a deep team with little to no room for a future top-sixer. The problem with looking at things via the depth chart is, when a prospect is truly great, he’ll force his way into the mix. Look no further than Matt Read (Philadelphia) and Craig Smith (Nashville). For now, Eakin is showing he is where he belongs. Even with averaging less than 11 minutes of ice time per game, he has managed three points in three contests. He’s worth a short-term pickup in one-year leagues and if he can string together a dozen productive games he’ll probably be in the NHL to stay. Unfortunately for Mathieu Perreault owners, this could very well happen.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. 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.