Hockey News: Getting a Leg Up
I know more than a few poolies who expected this kind of production from Nashville's David Legwand. The problem is, it was supposed to happen six years ago.
At the age of 26, Legwand has yet to reach the 50-point plateau in his career, but is on pace to do so this year by early February. Now in his seventh NHL season, this is just his third healthy campaign. Perhaps that was all that was needed to get him going, but, on the other hand, he played 82 games in the season prior to the lockout and only garnered 47 points.
In all likelihood, what has Legwand going is the arrival of center Jason Arnott (via unrestricted free agency in the summer). The second overall pick in 1998, Legwand needed someone to take the heat off of him as the No. 1 center. Arnott has come in and done just that, forming some excellent chemistry with Steve Sullivan and J.P. Dumont and giving the Predators one of the more potent second lines in the league. Legwand has Martin Erat and Paul Kariya on his wings. Which line can the opposition's defense focus on? Choose one and the other will burn you.
Health permitting -- and that is always an issue with Legwand -- he will tally more points than his current 66-point pace because he's only getting hotter. He has 15 points in his last 13 games. ...
By now, most astute poolies would have noticed Chris Kelly's nutty production. Ottawa lost their two best centers and plugging Kelly into the No. 1 spot with Dany Heatley on one wing and Daniel Alfredsson on the other was supposed to be temporary. The Senators even picked up Mike Comrie from the Coyotes to take over for him while they awaited the return of Jason Spezza and/or Mike Fisher from knee injuries. Eight games and 14 points later, Kelly does not seem to want to go anywhere. In fact, coach Bryan Murray is considering keeping him on the big line even when Spezza returns and trying to use Spezza and Comrie to form a potent second line.
Kelly had decent numbers playing junior hockey (for London of the Ontario League), but his American League and NHL numbers never really impressed. He is playing over his head, but sometimes players can keep that going long enough to carve a pretty nice career for themselves -- and put up some pretty nice numbers for risk-taking poolies.
Farm Report: Calgary prospect Daniel Ryder, younger brother of Montreal's Michael Ryder, is enjoying the best season of his career so far. The 2005 third-round pick (74th overall) signed a three-year entry-level deal just a couple of months ago and he currently sits second in Ontario League scoring. He had 59 points in 29 games for the Peterborough Petes before being traded to Plymouth. On his new team he has three goals and six points in three games. He is rocketing up the Flames' depth chart and, besides Dustin Boyd, is pretty much their best prospect in terms of putting the puck in the net. You should keep an eye on him in camp in the fall, but he's still likely a couple of years away yet.
Darryl Dobbs' Fantasy Pool Look appears every Monday and Wednesday only on The Hockey News.com. Want to speak with Darryl about fantasy hockey? E-mail him at email@example.com.
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