Every Thursday, the Genius will list three players to monitor for fantasy relevance. As a rule, the players will be owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues.
Player: C Patrice Bergeron, Bruins
Ownership: 20 percent Yahoo!, 9.4 percent ESPN.
Optimism: Bergeron, 24, has two goals and two assists in his last four games. In last night’s 3-2 victory vs. Nashville, Bergeron scored the game-tying goal and logged 18:35 of ice time — his second highest total of the season. He is in line for more ice time — and power play chances — with C Marc Savard (foot) on the shelf for four-to-six weeks. It is easy to forget that in 2005-06, Bergeron amassed 73 points in 81 games (31 goals, 42 assists), including 29 power play points (12 goals, 17 assists). He also fired 310 shots on goal.
Skepticism: Bergeron has not been a fantasy factor in his last three seasons. Blame injuries, blame dirty hits, the bottom line is he hasn’t racked up numbers worthy of a fantasy roster spot. His teammate, C David Krejci, is a better player and a more viable candidate to inherit Savard’s ice time and numbers.
Player: D Jason Demers, Sharks
Ownership: 12 percent Yahoo!, 5.6 percent ESPN.
Optimism: The object of ESPN.com’s Victoria Matiash’s fantasy affection, Demers has posted two assists in each of has least two games, three of which came on the power play as the Sharks devoured the New York metro area. (A 4-1 win at the Islanders last Saturday, followed by a 7-3 demolition of the Rangers on Monday.) All told, Demers has seven assists in seven games — tying him with Flyers D Matt Carle for the lead among blueliners.
Skepticism: Demers averages fewer than 18:00 per game in ice time. He has only launched six shots on goal this season. That’s right: just six. Finally, let’s not forget: He is a 21-year-old rookie. There’s no fantasy track record here. As hot as Demers is, you cannot rule out a severe slump in the second half. Whether he is even NHL-ready is still an open question.
Player: LW Matt Moulson, Islanders
Ownership: 33 percent Yahoo!, 35.1 percent ESPN.
Optimism: With goals in four straight, including one in last night’s 4-3 shootout win vs. Carolina, Moulson is flying out of free agent pools. He now has eight points in seven games (five goals, three assists), not to mention six PIMs and 29 shots. Did we mention he skates with C John Tavares?
Skepticism: The Islanders are 1-3-3. So Moulson’s impressive +2 may not last. Also, the kid turns 26 on November 1 — certainly not too old to burst onto the NHL scene, but perhaps old enough for us to pose the question of whether he has the germ of point-per-game greatness in him. A ninth-round pick back in 2003, Moulson has never played a full NHL season.
photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons