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: D Roman Hamrlik, Canadiens.
Ownership: 24 percent Yahoo!, 22.3 percent ESPN.
Optimism: Currently the 18th-ranked D in the Yahoo! game, it is incomprehensible how The Hammer is owned by fewer than 1/4 Yahoo! fantasy players. He averages more than 24:00 minutes per game. He has notched at least two PIMs or two shots on goal in each of his last 11 games. In his last three games, he is +5 with six PIMs and nine shots on goal. And tonight he faces a Bruins team in an offensive slump.
Skepticism: The Hammer is 35 years old. He looks good so far this season, but can it last? And if it does last, can we be confident that he will post a viable fantasy season for the first time since 2006-07?
Player: C R.J. Umberger, Blue Jackets
Ownership: 19 percent Yahoo!, 9.5 percent ESPN.
Tonight: Columbus visits Atlanta at 7:oo pm EST.
Optimism: The 16th overall pick in 2001, Umberger has scored in six of his last seven games, totaling two goals and five assists. Six of those seven points came on the power play. Umberger fired 234 shots last season, putting him on the radar in rotisserie-style formats.
Skepticism: Umberger is a +/- headache. He is -4 this season. Even during his current seven-game hot streak, he is -2. Of course, this is the statistical downside to scoring on the PP. The other downside to Umberger is his position; centers are easy to find in fantasy hockey, and that is why Umberger is so available.
Player: C Jarret Stoll, Kings
Ownership: 19 percent Yahoo!, 8 percent ESPN.
Optimism: In 13 of 15 games this season, Stoll, 27, has had a fantasy impact: In all but two contests, he has either scored, taken three shots on goal, or registered two penalty minutes. His totals — 11 points (three goals, eight assists), 33 shots, eight PIMs, four PPPs, +3 — render him the No. 24 ranked center in the Yahoo! game. That means he has performed like a No. 2 center in 12-team leagues. We saw flashes of this from Stoll in 2005-06. With the Oilers back then, he scored 68 points (22 goals, 46 assists) and drilled 243 shots on goal. He also amassed 74 PIMs and 31 PPPs (11 goals, 20 assists).
Skepticism: In the three seasons since then Stoll has not surpassed 41 points. The Kings are hardly thin on front-line talent, so it is not as if Stoll will dominate the PP opportunities. Finally, as is the case with Umberger, Stoll is a center — so it’s not as if positional scarcity is on his side.
photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons