Hockey News: Oiler Changes


When Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe traded away Ryan Smyth to the Islanders at the Feb. 27 trade deadline, he did more than just send the heart and soul of the team packing. I think he accidentally packed Edmonton's goal scoring into that suitcase.

While Smyth continues his solid season in a new environment, his former teammates have hit a wall. Did Smyth take the map with him? You know -- the one that gives directions to the opposition net? Consider:

Shawn Horcoff is pointless in the seven games of the post-Smyth era. This is not surprising. With Ales Hemsky injured for the past four games, Horcoff's production was bound to stop. His bread and butter had been to pick up points off of Hemsky and Smyth plays.

Petr Sykora is also pointless in the post-Smyth era.

• Hemsky is on the shelf with a shoulder injury, but during the three games he played since Smyth left town, he was pointless and was a minus-2.

Raffi Torres has one point in those seven games, Joffrey Lupul has two.

So to summarize  Smyth is off the team, Hemsky and Jarret Stoll are injured and Horcoff, Sykora, Torres and Lupul have combined for three points. There go the top seven Edmonton scorers! Small wonder the entire team has just five goals in the past seven contests.

The wind is completely out of the Edmonton sails and if picking up a player from this team during the stretch drive enters your mind for even a second  you will lose the pool...

Brad Boyes is loving life in St. Louis and his fantasy owners love him there, too. The 24-year-old right winger has eight points in his past five games and will bounce back strong next year with his new team...

Alexei Zhitnik, as the only quarterback option for the Atlanta power play now, has eight points in the seven games he has played for them. This impressive pace will not last, but he will produce more than you are used to seeing from him while he is in this environment...

Time to bail on Minnesota goaltender Manny Fernandez. Coach Jacques Lemaire has announced Niklas Backstrom will be their No. 1 guy going forward. Rookie Josh Harding has also played so well Fernandez could find himself as the No. 3.

Farm Report: Wild prospect James Sheppard is on a tear in the Quebec League. The ninth-overall pick in the 2006 draft is enjoying a 14-game point streak in which he has 11 goals and 31 points. That is good enough to move him into the top 15 in league scoring. The 18-year-old Sheppard will likely join the Minnesota roster in about three seasons.

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 dobber@dobberhockey.com.

Material from The Hockey News.
To subscribe, visit The Hockey News' Web site at: http://www.thehockeynews.com