The Hockey News Playoff Fantasy Guide 2007
On the verge of another
post-season, The Hockey News presents our annual playoff guide. Pick up Part
1 of our Playoff Preview for tips you’ll need to win your
fantasy playoff pool.
To kick things off, let’s
take a look at under-the-radar sleepers.
A “sleeper”, in fantasy
pool terms, is a player who comes alive and scores much more than expected.
That doesn’t necessarily
include players sleepwalking through the regular season, but it could. We also
want to look for players who have missed time with injuries; players in new
situations; and, those performing well late in the season.
The best sleepers, though, are
those who replace a key injured teammate. If a top player goes down, somebody
has to pick up the slack – which could mean better linemates and more power
play time. That happened with Alyn McCauley of the Maple Leafs when he replaced
an injured Mats Sundin in 2002. McCauley scored 15 points in those playoffs; in
his other 32 playoff games, he has four points.
Is the next Chris Kontos on
the list below? Well, no. Players like that come from (way) off the charts. But
here are 10 players who should be available in the later rounds – and might
make all the difference.
This could be the final
curtain call for the 40-year-old Penguin. And, with the determination he has
shown in past playoffs, he’s a player the coach will want on the ice as much as
possible. Late in the regular season, he was earning points on the top power
Getzlaf plays on Anaheim’s strong, young,
energetic second line of future big scorers with Corey Perry and Dustin Penner.
The top defensive checkers on opposing teams will be focused on the
Kunitz-McDonald-Selanne line, leaving Getzlaf & Co. to do some damage of
The Dallas captain is mentioned not because he’ll
be undervalued, but because he missed so much time (42 games) with injuries.
Bertuzzi, at 32 and coming
off a seven-game season, has to prove himself all over again. Playing on the
Red Wings with some talented linemates isn’t going to hurt.
It’s been a shockingly
surprising offensive season for the Canucks D-man – and there’s no reason he
shouldn’t keep surprising us.
It all comes down to which
player is lined up beside the Sedins. Pyatt has been the man at even strength
recently. The danger is he’s not always with them on the power play and he can
be replaced at any time.
First, the Rangers have to
make the playoffs; second, Hossa has to recover from a knee injury. He was
starting to score regularly before the setback.
The Preds defenseman is
only in his first full NHL season so he’s not that well-known – but he might be
after the playoffs. The all-round defenseman makes the big hits and is also a
big hit on offense. Not many of those guys around.
Although he battled
injuries at the end of the regular season, Moss made a surprising impact on Calgary’s second line. He
played only 37 games, contributing nine goals and 17 points since being called
up from the minors. He’s definitely under the radar.
The Canadiens have to make
the playoffs first, too. But if they do, look out. The 2003 first-rounder has
been playing well since his recent call-up from Hamilton (AHL) and was second
behind Tomas Plekanec in March scoring.
To read the rest of this story and other great features from the world of
hockey, you can buy this issue
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