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Anomalies in a short season

Drew Doughty has 18 points in 40 games after having only four through 12. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Drew Doughty has 18 points in 40 games after having only four through 12. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

We've entered the final three weeks of the season and things are starting to balance out. The only problem is the shortened season. While in an 82-game campaign a market correction that begins at Game 40 leaves plenty of time for a player to get his numbers back to normal, that's not the case this year. Eight games, give or take, is not enough time to fix some of the statistical oddities. Let's take a look at a few.

Nicklas Backstrom would be the hottest player in the league right now, were it not for Alex Ovechkin. There's not enough time left for the converted right winger to win the scoring title is there? In a regular year, there would be plenty of time. Ovechkin has 20 points in his past 11 games. Linemate Backstrom has been along for the ride, tallying 18 points in that span...

With Washington getting its No. 1 line back, so to speak, there is a number that is way out of whack only being corrected now - but it won't be completely corrected: Mike Ribeiro's points-per-game average. Ribeiro had 34 points in 31 games, but has managed just four in his past nine. At season's end, his production will still look fantastic, but he'll be limping across the finish line and if there were another 34 games to play his stats would have time to get back to normal and come down further…

New York pivot Derek Stepan is finally getting the first line treatment he deserves. This didn't happen until around the 20-game mark, leaving little time for his numbers to get to where they'll be next year during a full season. That makes him an off-season steal in fantasy circles. He had nine points in his first 18 games and 25 in his next 22. I think he’ll flirt with more than 70 in 2013-14…

Older players, such as Saku Koivu, will get to Game 48 with an impressive point total. That wouldn't be the case after 82 games. Koivu is producing well of late, with the arrival of Radek Dvorak(!) on his line. But generally speaking, he has 27 points that have come primarily from his hot start. He had 20 points in 20 games to kick off the campaign…

Patrik Elias is another example. He has an impressive 31 points this season, but just two in his past eight games. The pending unrestricted free agent turns 37 on Saturday and his more moderate numbers after 82 games would make him tough to trade. But after 48 games trade talks become much easier for his keeper league owner…

Give Claude Giroux 82 games and he'll give you 90 points. But with only 35 games to recover from a weak 13-game start (seven points), his final numbers won't reflect what he’s capable of. That makes him a pretty good summer target for your keeper league team…

If Buffalo pivot Cody Hodgson managed to hang on to his hot play just a little longer, he would be an excellent “sell high” candidate in the off-season. But alas, his market correction started eight games ago (two points) and his numbers have fallen into the expected range - about a 60-point pace in a normal schedule…

Patrick Marleau's name carries a lot of weight in fantasy hockey, even after this poor year. But don't forget, he had nine goals in his first five games. That means he's scored just seven in his past 34. His numbers have declined for three straight seasons now and if you erase those first five games 2013 has been absolutely brutal…

Los Angeles star defenseman Drew Doughty will be lucky to finish at a 40-point pace. But given time, his numbers would have topped the 50-point mark. He has eight points in his past 13 games, but with just eight games left he'll still end the year with production that looks rather weak…

It's unfortunate that we don't get to see more of Florida rearguard T.J. Brennan. He has five points in 10 games since coming over from Buffalo and holds a lot of upside. But in the end, 18 games with his new team is not enough of a sample size to form a reasonable guess as to how he will do next year…

Some defensemen I would love to see another 40 games from so I could get a better read - Jake Muzzin (Los Angeles), Jared Spurgeon (Minnesota), Patrick Wiercioch (Ottawa) and Matt Irwin (San Jose). I suspect at least one of them will tally 30 points next season, but any of them could reach the mark and we would get a better feel of who is capable of it had there been 34 more games to play. At this point I would pick Wiercioch, then Muzzin…

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.

Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out dobberhockey.com or follow him on Twitter at @DobberHockey.

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