The Ottawa Senators are last in the Northeast Division at 6-9-3. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
A patient fantasy owner would not panic if they owned players on a good team that struggled out of the gate. Throughout the history of the NHL, a lot of good teams passed the 10-game mark with little in the way of consistency or promise and by the end of the season were at or near the top.
But what happens when the 15th game goes by, then the 20th and still there is no sign the tide is turning?
The Ottawa Senators are 18 games into the season and they sit tied for 23rd in goals for. Their should-be 100-point players are on an 80-point pace and their 55-point players are on a 25-point pace.
Should you abandon ship?
Things are getting bad when poolies are even considering abandoning the Big Three. Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley are each on pace for about 80 points, while Jason Spezza is looking at 68 points if he doesn’t get moving.
Despite missing an average of 12 games per season, Spezza hasn’t scored less than 87 points since the lockout. Heatley’s last two 82-game campaigns saw him garner 103 and 105 points. Alfredsson has had a minimum of 87 points in each of his past three seasons.
It’s dangerous to give up on those three and the offers you will be getting for them would be of the “low-ball” variety. Hold tight.
As for the secondary scoring, it is indeed time to abandon ship. While the streaky Mike Fisher has proven capable of posting 20 points in a 20-game run, he is certainly far from doing that right now. His six points are still good for fifth on the team, though.
Rookie Jesse Winchester is producing a little less than what was expected of him. Playing 10-12 minutes per contest, he has just four points. If coach Craig Hartsburg keeps faith in him, Winchester should turn things around for 30 points. He should not be owned in any fantasy leagues until he starts showing signs of life.
The biggest disappointment of all is Antoine Vermette. His career had been trending upwards – consistent increases in points-per-game each season he has been in the NHL. It doesn’t make sense he would take such a step back; he is on pace to finish the year with 18 points. He should be owned, but benched in most fantasy formats. In keeper leagues, he makes a great buy-low candidate, as I am sure you could snag him for a draft pick. A left winger who should be getting 60 points is quite valuable, he just needs to get back to that level.
The lone fantasy bright spot on the Senators is, unfortunately, an aberration. Defenseman Filip Kuba’s career high is 37 points and although he will top that, he will certainly not keep up his pace of 68 points. He is already slowing down with just a single point in his past five contests…
Injuries, from a fantasy league perspective: You have already seen Patrik Berglund step up his production in St. Louis since fellow rookie T.J. Oshie went down with an ankle sprain. You will see his numbers increase even more now that Andy McDonald is out with a leg fracture…
Farm Report: The long-term injury to Francois Beauchemin allows the Ducks to have the salary cap breathing room they need to recall Bobby Ryan. At the time of his recall, Ryan sat fourth in American League scoring with 19 points in 14 games. Those of you who need a winger could do worse than picking this guy up – at least for three games to see how he does.
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.