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Some hockey poolies salivating early in NHL season

NHL.com @NHL

It's not turkey and all the fixings that have some hockey poolies salivating early in the NHL season.

It's the mouth-watering scoring potential of those high-flying Los Angeles Kings that is drawing ravenous attention, and has their fantasy owners now giving thanks.

Michael Cammalleri is proving that last year's 80-point campaign was no fluke. He has four goals and five points in three games, and will surely establish himself as one the NHL's elite players this year.

Even beyond the Kings young gunners like Cammalleri, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, there are plenty of other big shooters to go around. New centre Michal Handzus lends a veteran presence, while Alexander Frolov is a proven goal scorer. Even the enigmatic Ladislav Nagy would be desirable if he's a free agent in your pool.

Another King worth securing is goaltender Jonathan Bernier. With Dan Cloutier in the minors and Jason Labarbera average at best, Bernier is the heir to the throne between the pipes in L.A. His goals against average won't impress anyone, but he'll pile up some wins behind that Kings offence.

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Waiver Watch

Like Kopitar, Paul Stastny of the Avalanche is proving there may be no such thing as a sophomore jinx.

The second-year centre had a goal and four assists Sunday and going into this week leads the NHL with eight points after three games.

Stastny is playing for now with Ryan Smyth and Milan Hedjuk. Up on the first line with Joe Sakic and worth watching is 30-year-old rookie Jaroslav Hlinka.

Breakout players usually manage to find themselves on a scoring line early in the year. Eric Belanger of the Wild could be a good case in point, meaning poolies might want to move quickly on this sixth-year centre.

The coaching staff in Minnesota is predicting big things for Belanger, and has him playing with Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brian Rolston to start the season.

Did anyone predict a monster year for Mike Comrie of the Islanders? Well, it's much too early to make such a fiendish forecast now, but someone has to be the go-to guy on Long Island, right?

Comrie has had a scary start to the season, centring Ruslan Fedotenko and Bill Guerin on the top line and picking up four goals and two assists in three games. Don't be afraid to start him every week.

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Injury Update

One week into the season and already there's a long line of fantasy players on the injury list.

Poolies who chose Martin Havlat in the draft crossed their fingers, hoping this might be the year he would stay healthy. Sadly, that's not to be as the oft-injured Blackhawk is already among the league's walking wounded.

A less surprising loss results from the knee injury that will put Johan Franzen's promising season on hold for a month. Good things were also expected for young Predators defenceman Shea Weber this season. But a dislocated knee cap and four-to-six weeks on the sidelines will certainly stall those expectations.

Meanwhile, a highly-touted newcomer who was injured in the pre-season will make his debut this week. Rookie Jonathan Toews (finger) will garner some attention should he produce right away, something the Blackhawks will need if Havlat's gone for long.

A bigger payoff for poolies could come with the return of Richard Zednick (shoulder) to the Panthers' lineup. The word is he'll step back on the ice and straight onto a line with Olli Jokinen and Ville Peltonen.

Should there be any doubt, that makes him a worthwhile waiver pick immediately.

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