Hockey News: Dion Phaneuf
At every position, there are players who immediately come to mind as a poolie's dream. Left wing: Alexander Ovechkin. Center: Sidney Crosby. Right Wing: Jaromir Jagr. Goaltender: Martin Brodeur. Defenseman: Chris Pronger.
The dream players sometimes change from year to year, but often they remain intact for extended periods. In the NHL, Sid and Alex will be there for a while, but the other three could see a change sooner than later.
Before you know it, perhaps as early as next year, there will be a new name to replace Pronger's. That name is Dion Phaneuf.
Like Pronger, this kid has a full fantasy toolbox. He'll get you goals, assists, power play goals, penalty minutes, shots, plus-minus ... pretty much every possible fantasy category out there. Unlike Anaheim's Pronger, the 21-year-old (wow -- 21 years old!) is producing immediately. It took the veteran Ducks rearguard seven NHL seasons to start putting up the numbers.
Phaneuf put up some very impressive numbers as a rookie last year in all the fantasy categories and he will blow each and every one of those numbers away this go-around. The ninth-overall draft pick in 2003, Phaneuf already is a top 10 rearguard both in real and fantasy hockey. By 2008, there is no reason to believe he will not be No. 1. The Calgary blueliner is destined to be a 65-point, 120-penalty-minute, plus-20 defenseman year in and year out. ...
Vancouver winger Taylor Pyatt, a pre-season fantasy dark horse who has the potential for good things on a line with the Sedin twins, is starting to show some spark. He had three points in two games prior to breaking his thumb. After missing just one game (and now playing with a brace), he returned to tally three more points in his two games back. His ice time has not increased any, as he has still hovered around the 13-minute mark during those four games.
As well, Pyatt has not been clicking with any particular line, since he is seeing pretty much equal time on a line with Daniel and Henrik and on a line with Markus Naslund and Ryan Kesler. Just chalk up the hot streak for what it is -- a hot streak. Expect 45 points this season from the big winger. ...
The all-star break could not have come soon enough for the Los Angeles Kings, who are winless in their last seven games. The team has also scored more than two goals just once in that span. Leading scorer Alexander Frolov has just two points in his last eight games. The offense, what little there has been, has come from Mike Cammalleri, who has 11 points in his last nine games.
Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Looks as though Florida's Todd Bertuzzi will be back in the lineup in mid-February after an extended stay on the IR following back surgery. Expect him to displace Nathan Horton from the top line. Horton will, in turn, displace Rostislav Olesz from the second line.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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