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Fantasy Pool Look: Oh Carolina

Darryl Dobbs
By:
The Hockey News
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Fantasy Pool Look: Oh Carolina

Darryl Dobbs
By:

The Carolina Hurricanes aren't far removed from being the bane of fantasy owners.

Even when they were winning (remember that one season so very long ago?), they weren't scoringÂ…and when a team doesn't score, why would a poolie want anything to do with them?

Today, however, is a different story - a story that goes beyond sophomore sensation Eric Staal. Currently, six Hurricanes are enjoying a point-a-game pace, or close to it.

Those owners in keeper leagues that stuck it out with Rod Brind'Amour are finally seeing a return on their investment. It's been four years since he's been even a fringe fantasy player and he hasn't truly been a solid pickup since his 74 points in 1998-99. He is currently on a 72-point pace and there is no reason to believe he won't hit it.

Those who took a flyer on Cory Stillman in the summer likely picked him up for cheap. Either that, or they already had him and couldn't unload him, as some poolies I know can attest to. Those owners are smiling now, as he is on target for a career season with 48 points in 44 games and 23 in his last 14.

After a slow start of just three points in nine games, Justin Williams has come on strong with 37 points in 35 games and will likely reach the 70-point plateau for the first time in his career.

Erik Cole, 27, is just three points shy of his career high of 42, set just prior to the lockout.

Last, but not least, Ray Whitney has overcome some injury troubles to put up his expected point per game. He has six in his last six.

On the back end, it was expected that Oleg Tverdovsky's return to the NHL after a two-year hiatus would make him the man in Raleigh. Not so. Enter defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, a free agent signing from Atlanta who is poised to nearly double his career high of 29 points.

So what do you get when six of your players are posting career highs, and a seventh is putting numbers he hasn't seen in six years? You have a top three team in the Eastern Conference, and a Stanley Cup contender.

All this, and I haven't even touched on the goaltending. Martin Gerber has shown he can be top-level starter in the NHL and rookie Cam Ward will be right there with him in no time (if he's not already).

Carolina, along with Buffalo, is the NHL's biggest surprise. It's no coincidence they employ some of the best fantasy surprises as wellÂ…

Mike Comrie of the Coyotes is pointless in seven games. The last time he put up such dismal numbers, coach Wayne Gretzky benched him and he came back strongÂ…

It's fairly well known that the line of Rick Nash-Nik Zherdev-Sergei Fedorov has been hot for nearly two weeks now, but what may be under the radar is the production of rearguard Bryan Berard. The bottom line is Columbus is finally scoring goals, so some of Berard's nifty passes are finally ending up in the back of the net. Berard has six points in five games and won't slow down until the big line doesÂ…

Alexander Ovechkin has five goals in two games. The rookie sensation is going to take a healthy run at 70 this yearÂ…

Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: All signs seem to indicate that Los Angeles defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will be back in the lineup on Thursday night. He missed Tuesday's game with a cervical strainÂ…Visnovsky's teammate Eric Belanger has been out with a groin injury and, just as he was set to return, he re-injured it in practice. Push him back another 10 daysÂ…Speaking of groins, Atlanta's Peter Bondra has been out with an injured one for over a month now. He should be back within the next weekÂ…Still on the topic of groins, Bryan McCabe's groin injury will lead to Toronto teammate Carlo Colaiacovo picking up the offensive slackÂ…

Farm Report: Nashville prospect Scottie Upshall has 11 points in his last five American League games for Milwaukee. The 22-year-old should be a regular next year with the big club and will eventually settle in on the second or possibly third line.

Fantasy Hockey 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 Wednesday and Friday afternoon. Also find the top 250 roto-player rankings at the first of every month (email me for the rankings).

Comments/complaints/compliments - rotohockey@rogers.com

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Fantasy Pool Look: Oh Carolina