James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Give thanks to these players

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NashvilleRyan Suter: Sure, Craig Smith and David Legwand deserve some credit, but Suter is the most likely to remain a strong performer. So far he has virtually identical numbers to his partner Shea Weber and he likely went 5-10 rounds later. (If he was drafted at all, that is.)

New JerseyPatrik Elias: The long-time Devils forward went well after Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk in every draft one can think of, but he’s leading New Jersey with 20 points in 20 games.

Islanders—N/A: *shrugs*

RangersMarian Gaborik: He’s exceeding expectations in the most important category of all (for him, at least): 18 out of 18 games played.

OttawaMilan Michalek: Boy, that Dany Heatley trade isn’t looking so bad anymore with Michalek on fire and Heater in Minnesota, eh? As long as he’s riding shotgun with Jason Spezza, Michalek's results should continue – to at least some extent.

PhiladelphiaClaude Giroux: I think most hardcore fans knew Giroux was talented, but few expected him to leap this far in 2011-12. Jaromir Jagr’s been great as a running mate, but his groin injury is something that could derail a fantastic steal.

PhoenixMike Smith: If I remember correctly, Smith is the first guy I pleaded with Daily Dose readers to pick up. Hopefully you heeded my desperate wails.

PittsburghJames Neal and Kris Letang: Anyone who looked past Neal’s tough second half of 2010-11 and acknowledged his talent (and linemates) is smiling wide. The same goes for Letang, who could be a top-10 or even top 5 fantasy blueliner with a healthy Sidney Crosby in the mix.

San JoseJoe Thornton: Every fantasy owner who drafted him somewhere around the fourth round had to cackle with glee, right? Joe Pavelski has been sensational, too, but Jumbo Joe is more likely to sustain his great play.

St. LouisBrian Elliott: In a just world, he’d be the full-on starter for the Blues. Paycheck politics kind of ruin fantasy finds sometimes, though.

Tampa BayMarc-Andre Bergeron: Sure he’s lacking in his own end, but at 17 points, fantasy owners don’t care. Like, at all. (Especially since he has a respectable +3 rating; that’s not half-bad on the leaky Lightning.)

TorontoPhil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul: I’ve played this tune on the Daily Dose a lot of times, but the oft-criticized snipers are killing it for Toronto. Dion Phaneuf has justified the low-risk, high-reward propositions that fantasy owners made, too.

VancouverAlexander Edler: The Edler Scrolls is making everyone forget about Christian Ehrhoff, with an outstanding 16 points and a useful 57 shots.

WashingtonNicklas Backstrom: Going into the 2011-12 season, I thought Alex Ovechkin was an obvious choice for the top overall pick in fantasy drafts. It turns out he wasn’t even the best choice on his team.

WinnipegKyle Wellwood: The robust forward has a hefty 17 points. Go ahead, have that extra turkey leg Kyle … you’ve earned it. (Sorry, the Order of the Snark forces me to make fat jokes about him. I have no power to avoid this.)



It looks like Jagr re-injured his lower-body injury. Bummer … Brenden Morrow is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Stars have games on Friday, Saturday and Monday so if he needs rest, he might miss a big chunk of those. Keep an eye out for updates on his status; hopefully a little rest will help him regain his stride from last season … Carlo Colaiacovo is out with being Carlo ColaiacovoSteve Downie has a day-to-day injury of his own. (Click here for the full injury list.)


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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