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Fantasy Pool Look: 10 underrated players of the past month

Darryl Dobbs
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Author: The Hockey News

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Fantasy Pool Look: 10 underrated players of the past month

Darryl Dobbs
By:

By taking a closer look at the numbers and trends, fantasy expert Darryl Dobbs finds a few diamonds in the rough who you may be able to pick up for a cheap price.

At this point in the season, fantasy owners in rotisserie and head-to-head leagues have a real handle on which players are the cream of the crop. Or do they? Not seen in the season totals across multiple statistics are some of the recent trends. Looking at the statistics from the past month, you can pull out some real gems. I used Frozen Pool for this data. In this case, the report rates the players by the six key statistics, but weights them based on their ranking within the player's position.
RK.
TEAM
POS
TEAM
G
A
+/-
PPP
PIM
Shots
Pos Score
NHL Score
1
Patrick Kane
R
CHI
5
10.86
8.42
8.52
1.31
5.74
18.28
37.23
2
Patrick Sharp
L
CHI
9.8
2.56
2.78
9.91
2.43
6.52
16
34.01
3
Sidney Crosby
C
PIT
6.93
8.44
6.02
6.08
0.19
3.44
14.88
30.72
4
Claude Giroux
C
PHI
5
7.63
3.02
7.3
0.75
3.9
12.55
26.11
5
Chris Kunitz
L
PIT
5
4.07
4.96
6.21
3.03
1.53
11.66
24.79
6
Nicklas Backstrom
C
WSH
2.11
10.05
1.77
12.17
0.19
2.06
11.7
24.44
7
James Neal
L
PIT
4.04
4.07
1.15
7.44
3.93
2.78
11.05
23.41
8
Alex Ovechkin
R
WSH
7.89
-0.43
3.57
7.3
1.5
8.34
9.32
21.02
9
Duncan Keith
D
CHI
0.19
8.44
1.82
8.52
1.31
2.06
9.6
19.72
10
Taylor Hall
L
EDM
5.96
4.07
0.06
3.74
0.58
6.21
9.03
19.47
Please note that the chart does not include Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s games. As you can see, there are no big surprises. These are the studs of fantasy hockey this year and their impact over the past month is well known by all. But scanning further down the report, some interesting names stick out. These players are each in the Top 60, but are not treated as such by most fantasy owners. You can and should target them in trade talks (or, if for some reason they are on you waiver wire, then go nuts). Here are the 10 names you should know if you are in a roto or H2H league. Sean Bergenheim, Florida Panthers There are times in fantasy hockey when a good left winger is hard to find. This is one of them. After the obvious (and likely untouchable) Sharp, Kunitz, Neal and Hall in the chart above, Bergenheim has actually been the 10th best LW option. This, despite just seven points in 14 games over the past month. However, this is on the strength of his shots (42) and goals (six). So given what he's been doing in those two categories, he's a great addition. Jason Garrison, Vancouver Canucks Garrison has been under the radar in fantasy hockey, but for good reason. He has been streaky unlike anything I've ever seen. He has just one point in his past seven games, but here is how his scoring has broken down this season so far: Start of season: nine points/10 games Late Oct/Early Nov: 0 points/14 games Late Nov/Early Dec: 13 points/10 games Current run: one point/seven games Fantasy owners are having trouble figuring him out and ownership is up to 82 percent in Yahoo leagues. Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames Just 49 percent owned, Giordano has had a fantastic season. Since returning from injury, he has eight points in 13 games, to go with a plus-3 rating and 16 PIM. Not to mention he has 32 shots on goal in that span and five power play points. He should be owned and even coveted in most leagues, yet he's not even in half of them? Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers It's been a terrible 2013 altogether for Hartnell, as he has managed just 29 points in 67 games on the heels of a breakout 2011-12. Fickle fantasy owners bailed on him after a terrible October and November and so they may not have noticed that he's been slowly turning things around. He has 10 points in 14 games and 40 shots on goal in that span. His 10 PIM is not very Hartnell-like, but since he's a left winger his numbers are Top 10 in his position over the past month. Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils If I told you before the season I bet a buddy of mine a case of beer that at the end of December Jagr would not be on pace for 50 points due to nagging groin injuries, then that would be your cue to pick him up and expect this kind of fantastic production. I never seem to win the friendly wagers. I'll stick to fantasy hockey, as Jagr is on pace for 70 points and has yet to miss a game (!). Valeri Nichushkin, Dallas Stars Eleven of his 19 points have come in the 15 games that he's played in the past month. But the most impressive stat for this young rookie has been plus/minus. He's a plus-11 in that span. Matt Niskanen, Pittsburgh Penguins With five points in his past six games, Niskanen has quietly been taking advantage of Kris Letang's injury-plagued season. Fantasy owners are catching on, as his ownership is up to 65 percent now. Antoine Roussel, Dallas Stars How Roussel could still be under the radar after his multi-category “gold” season for 2012-13, I have no idea. He's a penalty minute leader and he's good for nearly a point every two games. Currently fourth in the league in PIM, he is the only player in the Top 13 in that category with more than nine points (he has 15). Reilly Smith, Boston Bruins Tyler who? Poolies are still not buying what Reilly Smith is selling, as he is owned in just 42 percent of leagues despite 30 points. That's good for 42nd in the league (tied, as of Tuesday). He's not slowing down, folks - he's speeding up. He has 13 points in his past 11 games, taking full advantage of the added ice time he is getting due to Loui Eriksson being sidelined. Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers I'll let the numbers speak for themselves. Before being a healthy scratch on October 20: 7-0-0-0, minus-3, 7 SOG After being a healthy scratch on October 20: 32-9-19-28, plus-1, 78 SOG Happy New Year! Best of luck in your fantasy leagues in 2014.
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Fantasy Pool Look: 10 underrated players of the past month