Patrick O'Sullivan had 16 goals and 43 points in 81 games last season. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Their situations are different, yet oh so similar. Mike Comrie is a 29-year-old who boasted huge fantasy value back in 2002, but has since fallen from grace. Patrick O’Sullivan was once a promising NHL prospect, but took a step back in 2008-09. Both players have a lot to prove.
With 60 points in 82 games as a 21-year-old in 2001-02, Comrie was a treasured commodity in fantasy circles. He was the heir apparent to Doug Weight in Edmonton and it seemed as if 90 points was only a few seasons of experience away.
However, it’s probably no coincidence his decline as a fantasy asset began during a nasty contract dispute with the Oilers. In December of 2003 he was shipped to Philadelphia, where he struggled to find his form, which tends to happen when one holds out to start the year. Later, he was dealt to Phoenix, where things did improve, but he never got back to the level of “future stud.” Stints on Long Island and in Ottawa changed nothing - just flashes of offense here and there.
O’Sullivan was also part of a contract dispute early in his career, although things got nowhere near as nasty for him in Los Angeles. However, he also missed training camp and never did find his rhythm, even after landing in Edmonton. Still only 24, poolies have far from given up on him. It would be folly to abandon a player who is entering his magical fourth season. However, he is out to prove last campaign was the exception, not the rule. Anything less than a 60-point output from him would be deemed a disappointment – fantasy owners are a fickle group who turn their noses up rather quickly.
It’s certainly fitting the two have been linemates so far in pre-season action, with impressive results. Comrie is tied for the NHL pre-season scoring lead with seven points (all assists) in three games. You don’t have to look very far down that list, either, to find O’Sullivan and his five points.
Teaming up with former Pens prospect Ryan Stone, the troika has shown excellent chemistry, meaning it might be hard to break them up at this point. While this would go against the hope of O’Sullivan owners that he lines up with Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff, it won’t be bad if Comrie continues to ignite the spark we all thought he lost six years ago.
It’s too early in pre-season to call this line a success and slap a 65-point sticker on each of them, but the situation is promising and bears watching…
Rookie Sergei Shirokov continues to tear up camp in Vancouver (two goals, four points in two games), even seeing some action with the Sedin twins. He’s nursing a minor injury (knee) that will keep him out for a few days. That only helps to keep him under the radar for you on draft day. It says right here he will make this team and have an impact to the tune of 40 points or more…
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: Fredrik Modin is on the shelf again, this time with an MCL sprain. He is gone until late October, which pretty much seals Nikita Filatov’s spot on the team. Great news for Filatov owners…
Farm Report: Some big names are getting cut as training camp continues: Ryan Stoa was sent down by the Avalanche. We’ll see him again this year for some cups of coffee and he should be a full-timer in 2010-11… Brendan Bell and Steve Wagner were demoted by St. Louis. Both defensemen had potential offensively, but are probably past the point of ever sticking full time. Alex Pietrangelo’s chances of making the team just went up… The Oilers have placed Ryan Potulny on waivers and the Thrashers have placed Anthony Stewart and Brett Sterling on waivers. All three once held promise in fantasy circles, but have used up what was probably their last chance…Among the recent cuts in Ottawa was Ilya Zubov. These days, whenever a talented Russian player who has been in North America for a couple of years is cut, I get worried about losing them to the Kontinental League. Zubov has potential and should give the NHL one more year.
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 throughout the off-season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.