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Oilers Fantasy Hockey Forecast - 10/12/2010

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers
Going into week two of Oilers Fantasy Hockey, we’re left with a number of questions regarding the team on the ice, and the fantasy picks you’ve been stressing over.

Although the team skated away with two wins, it really was a tale of two teams. Statistical powerhouses from night one had significant drop-offs and some unlikely heroes stepped up on Sunday night against the Panthers.

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First of all, don’t worry. I’m here to help. In my years of experience of finishing poorly in hockey pools, I have the utmost experience in shuffling lineups and seeing other successful teams take the prize. It’s this sideline position that has provided me with the necessary qualifications to advise, rather than to participate.


Nikolai Khabibulin's brilliant first two games of the season make him the most valuable fantasy player on the roster.
Going into night one, there were many that were concerned about Nikolai Khabibulin. His pre-season performances left a little to be desired and many weren’t sure how his game would translate back to his regular season form of a year ago.

Khabibulin stepped up. Big time. A shutout performance on opening night made him the most valuable player on the ice and he followed it up with another impressive performance on Sunday against Florida.

While Khabibulin’s cap hit means he’s a greater investment for your lineup, his early season success indicates he’s ready to perform on a nightly basis. The first two games saw plenty of inconsistency from the team and certain players, but the one constant was Khabibulin’s brilliant play. There’s no reason to stray from him at this point, so definitely get him into your lineup for Wednesday’s Northwest Division battle against the Wild.


Undeniably, the chemistry between Hall, Horcoff, and Eberle has been fantastic since day one of training camp. So far through the regular season, that line has been carrying the offensive load and providing some solid fantasy numbers in the process.

Of course, everyone will remember Eberle’s unbelievable performance on opening night. His two-point third period led the Oilers to victory and provided some extra satisfaction for those that included him in their fantasy lineups. Eberle had a weaker outing on Sunday, but was still strong. Horcoff and Hall put up good numbers through two games as well, though nothing spectacular…yet.

It’s a good bet to think this trio will continue and improve on their strong play, meaning any or all could prove to be valuable selections.


Magnus Paajarvi could be a dangerous darkhorse this week.
Magnus Paajarvi has been quiet through two games so far. His hat-trick performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the pre-season seems like so long ago, but everyone in Oil Country knows his breakout game will come soon enough.

Playing on the third line, Paajarvi doesn’t quite play the same minutes as the aforementioned Eberle and Hall, but he does receive some gravy time on the powerplay and this is where some damage could be done in the immediate future.

Unfortunately for Paajarvi and his fantasy believers, the Oilers only had two powerplay opportunities on Sunday against the Panthers, meaning his minutes and offensive chances were more limited in a sloppily played contest.

While I won’t try to convince you that Paajarvi will only be a force with the man advantage, I do believe it’s important to recognize the significance of powerplay opportunities for a young player looking to get on his first NHL scoresheet. With the upcoming two games against Northwest Division rivals, the intensity could be furious with tempers flaring, perhaps leading to more chances on the powerplay.

What about the blueline? There are a number of solid choices, but I would put in a serious recommendation for young defenceman Theo Peckham. His third star performance and team-leading 37 fantasy points on Sunday have put him as a front runner for a spot in fantasy lineups across Oil Country. While other defencemen on the roster have put in good performances as well, Peckham’s $1 million cap-hit could be the week’s best bargain.


The season is young. We’re only two games into the 82-game schedule, but here are the leaders through the opening week:


Oilers fans are a gracious and extremely passionate bunch. As a special offer, we awarded a team-signed jersey to the winner of Thursday’s season-opener. Thursday’s winner, with an incredible 223 points, was slim2001 – so let’s offer our best Oil Country congratulations for the excellent performance!

Despite his dominating four-point victory, I can assure all of you that he didn’t get any special treatment or access to my expert analysis of potential picks prior to the game (which makes his victory all that more impressive).

slim2001 had another strong game on Sunday, as he continues to sit atop the season standings with a total of 399 points - a 39 point lead over second place Mazimuz.
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