Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars is on pace for 39 goals and 66 points this season. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
When Loui Eriksson was drafted in the second round in 2003 (33rd overall), the Stars believed they had a potential top-six forward who would one day score 30 goals. His NHL progress had been steady for a few years, but now he has taken a big step forward.
After a slow start to the year, the 23-year-old Swede had 17 points in his past 17 contests heading into Friday’s action. His 10 goals led the Stars and his plus-6 was the highest rating among the team’s forwards.
All this and he’s expected to get even better.
He is currently clicking on a line with setup man Brad Richards and skilled youngster James Neal. The trio has nine points in their past two contests and coach Dave Tippett is leaning on them more than ever thanks to an injury to team captain Brenden Morrow (torn ACL). With Morrow out of the mix, Mike Ribeiro is having trouble finding his old magic. That forces Tippett to play the hand that’s working for him, which is the Eriksson line.
In the three games without Morrow, Eriksson has averaged more than 20 minutes of ice time. Prior to that, he had seen 20 minutes just six times in 18 games.
Let’s see – increased ice time and chemistry with linemates. Sounds like a winning combination! Look for a 30-goal and 60-point breakout campaign for Eriksson. He will eventually settle into that 70- to 75-point range…
Still with the Stars, you can count on Sean Avery’s production to rise now. With Morrow and Steve Ott (broken hand) out of the lineup, the Stars are suddenly short on agitators.
In his first game without Morrow and Ott, Avery saw more than 19 minutes of ice time – a season high. The penalty-minute monster is already producing high numbers in that category, but now with the added ice time he will improve on his goals and assists as well…
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: With Roberto Luongo out for an extended period of time, it may be wise to scoop Cory Schneider off the waiver wire. Curtis Sanford is a solid backup, but the Canucks want to see what this kid can do at the NHL level. Sanford will be on a short leash and Schneider has put up eye-popping American League numbers (.945 SP and 1.37 GAA). In keeper leagues, Schneider is a must-own, as he won’t be kept out of the NHL for long…
Farm Report: While Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury is on the shelf with an undisclosed injury, we are getting a preview of what John Curry can do. The undrafted goaltender was a college walk-on and eventually stole the top job at Boston University. Curry was then signed by the Pens and put into the ECHL, but quickly worked his way up to the AHL and won the top job in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season. He had his first taste of NHL action and earned his first win Wednesday when he replaced Dany Sabourin midway through the second period. Players who continually go above and beyond expectations like Curry has done are destined for success. Keeper league owners should be stowing this guy away on their farm as soon as possible.
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 throughout the season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the 1st of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.