After waiting and waiting for Kevin Bieksa to stumble, it is time for me to face reality -- his production is no fluke.
A general rule of thumb for judging a player's fantasy potential is 16 games. If a player is hot for 16 games it moves them above 'flash-in-the-pan' status and you can consider him a fantasy asset. He may not continue his torrid pace through an entire season, but if he was that hot for more than 15 games you can safely assume he will not fall completely off the map even when he does slow down.
I have seen players go on tears for 13, 14, or even 15 games and then hit a wall. Those are flashes in the pan. They showed you that brief glimpse of potential, but it may not necessarily pan out in the long run. Once we're talking 16 games or more of hot play, it is time to take things seriously with this guy.
In the case of Bieksa, the timeframe has been 20 games. He has 19 points in that span, so it is time to admit the 25-year-old is the real deal. That is not to say that he will be a 76-point player (what you have when you pro-rate 19 points in 20 games over an 80 game stretch), but at this point it is obvious that he is Vancouver's new power-play quarterback. He has the ability to compile 55 or even 60 points in a season.
This year he will likely cross the 50-point line. This is impressive, given that he had 10 points in 29 games to start.
What the future holds for Bieksa looks pretty good as well. The Canucks do have budding quarterbacks in Lukas Krajicek and Luc Bourdon on the horizon, but neither will be ready to take the mantle next year. By the following season, Bieksa will have nothing left to prove and will be established on the top power play unit.
A Bowling Green grad, he never put up impressive offensive numbers, but if you were to take a closer look at it you will notice he was in the top three in points on his team in each of his last two seasons. Perhaps he did not have the right team with which to perform. Now he does.
Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Bryan Berard, out all season after undergoing back surgery in October, has been practicing with the Blue Jackets and accompanied the team when they embarked on their three-game road trip on Sunday. He hopes to get into either Wednesday's game in Edmonton or Friday's game in Calgary. It says right here he will have an immediate and rather large impact on the Columbus offense as they finally get themselves an elite power play quarterback.
Farm Report: Some notes from the Swedish Elite League -- Vancouver's Jason King is bombing in his Elitserian debut with just 17 points in 44 games and a minus-3 ... Blues farmhand Carl Soderberg has 30 points in 31 games for Malmo. Good for first on the squad, however he sustained a severe eye injury recently and will miss the remainder of the SEL season ... Columbus's Jaroslav Balastik, who gave up on the NHL a month ago, has nine points in 14 games for HV71 ... Sean Bergenheim, he of the Islander contract demands, is playing well for Farjestads BK. He has 22 points in 25 games ... Washington's top prospect Nicklas Backstrom has 38 points in 38 games, but missing those six games to play in the World Junior Championship will likely cost him the scoring title in the SEL. That will not matter next season when he becomes a Calder Trophy contender in the NHL.
Darryl Dobbs' Fantasy Pool Look appears every Monday and Wednesday only on The Hockey News.com. Want to speak with Darryl about fantasy hockey?
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