November 04, 2008

Checking Up On My Breakout Candidates

Right before the season started I foolishly boldly suggested 10 players I thought would have big seasons and would be good hockey pool pick ups. Let's take a look at how my boys are doing.

10. Martin Havlat - 12 games played, 4-7-11. He's healthy, at least at the time I'm publishing this. One of these years he'll put in a full year. So far, so good. He has also benefited from the coaching change in Chicago, receiving more PP time under Joel Quenneville.

9. Ryan Clowe - 12 games played, 5-3-8. Clowe does lead the Sharks with 4 power play goals. His big body makes him a nice asset on the PP. The Sharks have a lot of weapons at even strength, so he does not always get the 5-on-5 offensive ice time that others get, perhaps preventing a big breakout.

8. Rostislav Olesz - 11 games played, 2-2-4. Olesz has played well. But it really looks like he's going to be one of those good players with numbers that do not adequately reward his effort.

7. Steve Bernier - 12 games played, 4-3-7. Bernier has not clicked well with the Sedin twins at all. He continues to play on that line, but has lost his PP spot. I've watched most of Vancouver's games. He has had chances but has shown little finish. Worst, he's not adding much else to the equation either.

6. Eric Fehr - 3 games played, 0-2-2. Remember, I named Fehr with the huge disclaimer that he was the biggest risk. And, well, the bet has not paid off. He's been a healthy scratch much of the season. He appears to be healthy, now he needs a change of scenery.

5. Andrew Ladd - 12 games played, 3-2-5. While Havlat has benefited from the coaching change in Chicago, Ladd has not. Many were hoping Ladd would land the 2nd line LW job, but that has gone to newcomer Troy Brouwer. Ladd has ended up on a largely ineffective ineffective third line with Dustin Byfuglin and David Bolland. The verdict is still out on Ladd though. He was named first star last night after scoring 2 goals and 3 points against Colorado.

4. Wojtek Wolski - 11 games played, 1-7-8. One goal in 11 games does not impress. Neither does his -4. He's been moved onto a line with Joe Sakic lately. Wolski really needs to realize it is not only okay to be greedy, but encouraged.

3. Corey Perry - 13 games played, 3-12-15. You could certainly debate whether Perry should really be on this list. But you certainly could not debate how well he's playing this year. He's a top scorer in the league.

2. Mikko Koivu - 10 games played, 2-10-12. My favorite pick, and it's turned out well. You can ask my buddy Manny, who is winning his hockey pool because of my insistence he draft Koivu.

1. Ales Hemsky - 11 games played, 2-9-11. He finally scored his first 2 goals the other night. Otherwise Hemsky has not yet taken his game to the breakout level. Edmonton has a ridiculously tough schedule, loaded with road games. Watch for Hemsky to have a strong second half.

So how did I do? Fehr was a miss. The verdict is still out obviously, with Perry and Koivu looking good. I'll have to check in from time to time during the season.

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