Patrik Berglund of the St. Louis Blues is on pace for 12 goals and 24 points this season. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
There have been more than a few young players who were poised for to take major steps forward this season and have fallen short of expectations. But that doesn’t mean they should be written off, it just means they’re just testing poolies’ patience.
These youngsters could be had on the cheap in your keeper league and very likely will pay off nicely as soon as next season.
Michael Frolik, Florida – The sophomore is slumping. Don’t they have a term for players going through that? Frolik has elite potential – the most on the Panthers, including Nathan Horton. Next season is as good as any to see that next big step. Think 65 points as a starting point.
Patrick O’Sullivan, Edmonton – After notching 72 points in his first 126 games, O’Sullivan managed just 73 in his next 141. That’s not the step forward poolies were expecting. As the cast around him in Edmonton grows stronger, so will his numbers. At 25, it’s far too early to write him off; he still has point-per-game potential.
Peter Mueller, Phoenix – Unlike teammates Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker, the Coyotes were unable to send Mueller to the American League, as they would have lost him on waivers. He is a victim of being rushed, but is now being used properly. He has shown glimpses of his future, highlighted by a three-point game to end January. He’ll need to walk before he can run, so expect a modest step forward (45 points) next season before growing into an NHL first-liner.
Patrik Berglund, St. Louis – Another sophomore in a slump, Berglund is seeing little ice time and even the occasional game in the press box. Poolies tend to be passionate – and impatient – but if you don’t give this guy at least two more years to get rolling, you will probably regret it.
Derick Brassard, Columbus – He felt the pressure of playing a Ken Hitchcock system and it really got to him. Brassard became error prone, which resulted in less ice time. It was a vicious cycle that he has now escaped with Hitchcock out of the mix. The 22-year-old could very well be a 70-point player next season if he can stay healthy (but that, my friends, is another article altogether).
Rostislav Olesz, Florida – He’s too fragile to progress into the 80-point player he had the potential to be. However, his age (24) and cap hit ($3.125 million) should see to it that he has the opportunity to at least become a 65-point second liner. I wouldn’t bet the house on it (or even a beer, for that matter), but it wouldn’t completely shock me if he reached the 60-point mark next campaign.
Bryan Little, Atlanta – I once wrote he had 80-point potential that could be upped to 90 points as Ilya Kovalchuk’s center. That dream is dead now, but he could still be an 80-point guy. A step forward to the 65-point mark in 2010-11 would be a start.
Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh – He’ll set a career high this campaign, perhaps reaching 55 points, but poolies are still waiting for that 70-point breakout. Any year now you could see it. It’s hard to believe he is still only 21 – just keep that in mind.
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 first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.