Given the complex, never-steady landscape of fantasy hockey, each week, NHL.com Fantasy Insider Sergei Feldman will give you The Real Spiel on some of the quirks and trends that permeated your week of fantasy hockey by way of in-depth analysis.
DATSYUK WHO’S TALKING: The Real Spiel on Pavel Datsyuk
Center - DET
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 43 | PTS: 59
SOG: 145 | +/-: 18
While the Detroit Red Wings
refuse to lose a game at Joe Louis Arena—and most other venues, for that matter—star forward Pavel Datsyuk
refuses to slip between the cracks of the League’s dynamic players. Arguably the most talented player in the NHL, Datsyuk is having a strong 2011-12 season. Through 59 games, the Russian has 59 points (good for 8th best in the NHL) on 16 goals and 43 assists (good for 3rd best in the NHL). Consistency has rarely been an issue with the uber-gifted playmaker, but until recently, Datsyuk did find himself in the middle of a mini-slump. He went five of six games without a point and was a minus-5 in that span, which began Jan. 21 and ended Feb. 4. Since then, the 33-year-old has collected points in five of seven games and averaged two shots per game. With the Red Wings riding high nowadays, Datsyuk’s recent play could propel him to even greater heights down the stretch. He hasn’t finished a season with less than 23 goals since 2003-04. Currently, Datsyuk sits at 16 and is on pace for 22. That pace could very well accelerate if recent performances are any indication.
CAN-DO (CHENE) ATTITUDE: The Real Spiel on Matt Duchene
Center - COL
GOALS: 12 | ASST: 12 | PTS: 24
SOG: 92 | +/-: -8
Remember that young, up-and-coming star of the Colorado Avalanche
? Matt Duchene
? Ring a bell? Well, he’s set to return to the lineup for the Avs after dealing with a knee injury that sidelined the 21-year-old for 20 games. Prior to the injury, the winger produced modest numbers. In 39 games, Duchene collected 12 goals and 12 assists, in addition to 92 shots and 5 power play goals. His return to the lineup will certainly increase the chances of the Avs grabbing a playoff spot in a tough West, but it could also give fantasy owners an injection of productivity. The 2009 first-round pick improved from his rookie season to his sophomore outing in goals, assists and points. He may not reach those totals (55 and 67, respectively) this year, but you have to figure he’ll be motivated to return to game action and produce.
LUON-GO GETTER: The Real Spiel on Roberto Luongo
Goalie - VAN
GAA: 2.30 | SVP: 0.922
’ man between the pipes did not jump out to a great start. Fortunately, he’s en route to a great finish. Roberto Luongo
has done nothing but stop rubber for the Canucks of late and has been one of the main reasons for their dominance in the Western Conference. The goalie with the biggest microscope on him hasn’t lost a game since Jan. 15. (10 games). In that span, he has 7 wins and gave up more than two goals just three times. For fantasy owners, those numbers are hard to come by and are few and far between. On the whole, including a rocky start at different points in the season, through 41 games, Luongo has 25 wins (7th most in NHL), a 2.30 GAA and 1,173 saves. The battle for Western Conference supremacy figures to intensify soon, if it hasn’t already, and Luongo will be relied on to hold the fort in net. Excelling under the pressure hasn’t always been the goalie’s modus operandi, but perhaps this year’s final stand will suggest otherwise.
Author: Sergei J. Feldman | NHL.com Staff Writer