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Halloween Fantasy Special: Trick or treat?

Saturday, 10.30.2010 / 7:20 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

By Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Staff Writer

From the crazy fans dressed in their costumes, to the unique goalie mask designs, or the exotic NHL-themed pumpkin carvings, Halloween always seems to blend its way into hockey in some shape or form.

So, in an attempt to stay in the holiday spirit, instead of our usual Saturday Fantasy Roundup, we're going to give you a Halloween edition of fantasy content. Basically, we're going to take a look at every NHL team and provide you with a glance at a player that's been a pleasant surprise this season, and one that's disappointed so far (excludes players that have been injured this year) -- a trick and a treat.

With that, let's give this a shot. Oh, and one more thing, happy Halloween hockey fans...

Anaheim Ducks
Trick: Jason Blake -- The veteran winger was expected to be a top-six forward with all those superstars up front in Anaheim, but after being a healthy scratch on Tuesday, Blake's 3 points in 10 games don't say much.
Treat: Teemu Selanne -- Forty years old or not, Selanne has proved he still has what it takes to compete. With 5 goals and 5 assists in 11 contests, Selanne still has some gas in the tank.

Atlanta Thrashers
Trick: Nik Antropov -- After recording 20-plus goals in three straight years, Antropov has 1 goal and 1 assist in nine games and is averaging just 14:17 of ice time per game.
Treat: Andrew Ladd -- Ladd has never scored more than 49 points in any season, but so far he's averaging a point per game in Atlanta's first 10 games this year.

Boston Bruins
Trick: Tyler Seguin -- With just 4 points on the season, it would appear we might have to wait another year or two for the talented youngster to break out.
Treat: Tim Thomas -- Five starts, five wins, two shutouts with a 0.60 goals-against average heading into Saturday night's action. Enough said.

Buffalo Sabres
Trick: Ryan Miller -- After an MVP-like season last year, Miller has just three wins in 10 starts this with a subpar 2.71 GAA.
Treat: Derek Roy -- Despite Buffalo's 3-6-2 start to the season, Roy has still been superb: 6 goals, 7 assists, plus-3 rating, 8 PIMs, 5 PPP and 26 SOG.

Calgary Flames

Trick: Olli Jokinen -- What happened to the usual 30-plus goal seasons we saw out of Olli when he was with Florida? Regardless, the Finish-forward has just 1 goal in 10 games with the Flames.
Treat: Rene Bourque -- Despite an early-season concussion injury, Bourque has erupted for 6 goals and 3 assists in eight games this year.

Carolina Hurricanes
Trick: Patrick O'Sullivan -- After a successful preseason, many thought O'Sullivan might rediscover his talent in Carolina, but the forward has dressed in just six games and has recorded just a single goal.
Treat: Jeff Skinner -- The League's youngest player had a big game on Friday against the Rangers, giving him 3 goals and 4 helpers in nine games on the year.

Chicago Blackhawks
Trick: Dave Bolland -- It seems like every year people think Bolland will have a big season. So far in 2010, the Hawks forward has just 1 goal and 2 assists in 12 games.
Treat: Tomas Kopecky -- Kopecky has never averaged more than 10:25 of ice time per game; this year he's receiving 18:27 per game while skating on Chicago's top line -- he has 8 points in 11 games.

Colorado Avalanche
Trick: Craig Anderson -- Yes, the reasoning excludes his recent injury. Prior to going down with a knee injury, Anderson had just 3 wins in seven starts, while posting a disappointing 3.15 GAA.
Treat: John-Michael Liles -- Liles has 11 assists in 10 games this season, as well as an outstanding plus-7 rating, 9 PIMs and 4 PPP.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Trick: Rick Nash -- The Columbus superstar has just 3 goals and 1 assist to go along with a minus-5 rating in nine games -- eventually he's got to snap out of this funk. Right?
Treat: RJ Umberger -- Playing in nearly 19 minutes per game, Umberger leads the team with 4 goals, which doesn't bode well for Columbus, yet they still have a solid 6-3-0 record.

Dallas Stars
Trick: Steve Ott -- Many of us were hoping Ott would build off his 22-goal season from last year --to no avail though. Ott has just 1 goal and 1 assist in nine games, and that's not the biggest disappointment -- Ott has just 6 shots on goal!
Treat: James Neal -- Neal has produced in just about every fantasy category so far this year: 4 goals, 5 assists, plus-6, 8 PIMs, 1 PPP and 23 SOG.

Detroit Red Wings
Trick: Jiri Hudler -- No goals in eight games is just not what we expected in his first season back from the KHL.
Treat: Nicklas Lidstrom -- Not exactly a surprise, but Lidstrom's 9 points in eight games is just tremendous.

Edmonton Oilers
Trick: Nikolai Khabibulin -- After notching a 37-save shutout in the season's opener and a win in the second game, some people believed the "Bulin Wall" was back. However, since then, Khabibulin has just one win in six games and has surrendered an absurd 25 goals.
Treat: Jordan Eberle -- The human highlight reel has been everything his fantasy owners were hoping for through nine games. With 4 goals and 4 helpers, hopefully Eberle will continue to build as a player.

Florida Panthers
Trick: Michael Frolik -- Not a great start for the big Florida forward: no goals and just 2 assists in seven games.
Treat: David Booth -- As long as he avoids the concussions, Booth is a beast: 3 goals, 4 assists and 24 SOG in eight games.

Los Angeles Kings
Trick: Jonathan Bernier -- It's not that Bernier has been bad, but it's more that Jonathan Quick has been so good that Bernier isn't seeing as much action in goal as we all hoped.
Treat: Justin Williams -- Williams sees top-six forward minutes and has produced 4 goals and 5 assists, as well as a plus-3 rating, 7 PIMs, 3 PPP and 28 SOG in 10 games.

Minnesota Wild
Trick: Martin Havlat -- Sure, Havlat has 6 assists in nine games, but the fact he hasn't scored a goal has everyone worried.
Treat: Matt Cullen -- Cullen has 10 points in nine games -- nine of them coming with the man advantage!

 
Montreal Canadiens
Trick: Scott Gomez -- 12 shots in 10 games is simply not good. Neither is his 3 points.
Treat: Andrei Kostitsyn -- It was a tough decision between Kostitsyn and Carey Price, but Andrei has just been so good so far: 6 goals, 4 assists, plus-6, 6 PIMs and 32 SOG in 10 games.

Nashville Predators
Trick: Martin Erat -- The veteran forward has battled an injury this season, but still, no goals in six contests doesn't look too hot.
Treat: Cody Franson -- The talented defenseman has 2 goals, 2 assists, a plus-4 rating, 4 PIMs, 1 PPP and 18 SOG in nine games this season.

New Jersey Devils
Trick: Martin Brodeur -- A 3-6-1 record with a 2.75 GAA isn't very Marty-like. Then again, the entire Devils squad has underachieved this year.
Treat: Matt Taormina -- The 24-year-old defenseman has 4 points in 11 games with just a minus-1 rating -- he's also got 24 shots while averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per game.

New York Islanders
Trick: Rick DiPietro -- DiPietro has two wins and a brutal 3.32 GAA in five starts this season. On the plus side, the Isles goalie has stayed healthy so far.
Treat: James Wisniewski -- With 11 points in eight games this year, Wisniewski has arguably been the most pleasant surprise from any defenseman this year.

New York Rangers
Trick: Alexander Frolov -- In his first season on Broadway, Frolov has been mostly invisible on the ice despite his 5 points in nine games.
Treat: Ryan Callahan -- Callahan (3 goals and 7 helpers in nine games) only slightly edges his linemate Brandon Dubinsky because of the amount of shots on goal he gets -- 35 on the season.

Ottawa Senators
Trick: Sergei Gonchar -- Gonchar has yet to score a goal in his first season with the Sens -- he's also a minus-5 and only has 13 shots in 10 games.
Treat: Mike Fisher -- Fisher has been productive in every category this season with 3 goals, 3 assists, an even rating, 11 PIMs, 3 PPP and 30 SOG.

Philadelphia Flyers
Trick: Kimmo Timonen -- His popular name has always drawn fantasy interest, but with just 1 point in 10 games, Timonen is clearly a disappointment this year.
Treat: Claude Giroux -- Everyone knows how talented he is, but most people probably don't realize he's leading his team with 6 goals and 9 points.

Phoenix Coyotes
Trick: Wojtek Wolski -- After erupting late in the season last year, Wolski has gotten off to a terrible start in 2010: just 4 assists, a minus-2 rating and only 11 SOG in eight games.
Treat: Kyle Turris -- While Turris only has 3 goals and 1 assist in 7 games, it's still nice to see his talent finally showing up on the score sheet.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Trick: Marc-Andre Fleury -- Fleury has made just one more start in goal than teammate Brent Johnson. He also sports a brutal 3.35 GAA and has just one win.
Treat: Kris Letang -- While many of us expected Alex Goligoski to fill the empty void left by Sergei Gonchar, Letang has been an absolute fantasy beast: 3 goals, 8 assists, plus-8, 17 PIMs, 2 PPP and 27 SOG.

San Jose Sharks
Trick: Antti Niemi -- Niemi has clearly lost the No. 1 job in San Jose. The former Blackhawks has one win and a 4.50 GAA in four starts.
Treat: Antero Niittymaki -- Niitty has been the complete opposite of Niemi: three wins and a 1.85 GAA in four starts.

St. Louis Blues
Trick: Erik Johnson -- People drafted Johnson as a No. 1 defenseman for their fantasy squad, but so far the talented youngster has just 1 goal and 2 assists in eight games.
Treat: Jaroslav Halak -- Sure he's expected to be a solid netminder, but he has just been too good to be true: five wins, two shutouts, a .939 save percentage and a 1.55 GAA in seven starts.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Trick: Simon Gagne -- Like Craig Anderson, the recent injury is excluded. Prior to getting hurt, Gagne was held pointless in six games with a minus-8 rating.
Treat: Steven Stamkos -- He is clearly a top-10 player, but what he's done in his first nine games is ridiculous: 8 goals, 10 assists, plus-8, 10 PIMs, 7 PPP and 35 SOG.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Trick: Kris Versteeg -- The move from Chicago to Toronto hasn't worked out through the first eight games for Versteeg. The Leafs winger has just 1 goal and 1 assist with a minus-4 rating.
Treat: Jean-Sebastien Giguere -- In six starts this season, Giguere has 4 wins, a .908 save percentage and a 2.30 GAA.

Vancouver Canucks
Trick: Roberto Luongo -- Considered by many to be fantasy's No. 1 goalie this year, Luongo has just two wins and a ghastly 2.93 GAA in seven starts.
Treat: Mason Raymond -- Not too many surprises in Vancouver so far, but Raymond has 3 goals and 2 assists, as well as 32 SOG in nine games this year.

Washington Capitals
Trick: Mike Green -- The League's clear-cut No. 1 d-man heading into this season, Green has yet to score a goal and has only 2 assists in his first seven games.
Treat: Michal Neuvirth -- Sorry Varly, Neuvirth is the go-to-guy in Washington. In nine starts, Neuvirth has six wins, a 2.17 GAA and a .926 save percentage.

TOP 100 FANTASY FORWARDS

RANK TEAM PLAYER
1. Sidney crosby
2. Steven Stamkos
3. Corey Perry
4. Alex Ovechkin
5. Evgeni Malkin

CUBETA'S COMPLETE TOP 100 FORWARD RANKS