Jimmy Hascup

KHL/European League Update

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Laich Making a Statement

Thursday, November 15, 2012


As a dark cloud hovers over the NHL, we had a pleasant reminder of what's great about hockey when the careers of four of the game's best--Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates--were celebrated Monday in their Hall of Fame inductions. In the meantime, there's still some great hockey being played overseas, so let's take a look at how a smattering of players are faring ...  

  Alexander Radulov: At this point, what Radulov is doing in the KHL is a total tease to the NHL because he signed a four-year contract with CSKA Moskow early this off-season. Leading the league with 31 points (11 goals) and a whopping 23:22 ice time per game, the winger has been a force abroad, which is not surprising at all when looking at his past success there. Add in 62 penalty minutes and a plus-seven rating and Radulov has filled up the stat sheet from top to bottom. Even in his 17 games with the Predators, Radulov displayed easy scoring ability, but that came with the caveat that he wasn't always dedicated. It's a shame the KHL suits him so well because he'd be a very exciting fantasy player.  

  Rick Nash: The newly-acquired Rangers forward received some dirty looks from fans when he was so quick to jump to Switzerland; they were worried about the risk of injury. Then fans and the organization held their collective breath when he sustained a shoulder injury that just ended up being a bone bruise that cost him a few games. Regardless, with Davos, Nash has been all you'd expect a world-class player to be, with nine goals and five assists in 13 games.  Plus, Nash has also got in some practice alongside a top center in Joe Thornton, so he should be able to hit the ground running once the season starts with Brad Richards his pivot.  

  Brooks Laich: The Capitals center is another player who bolted for the Swiss-A league early on in the lockout because he wanted nothing more than to stay fresh for the NHL season. He's a more valuable real-life player than a fantasy one, but he does have the ability to post 50 points during a full campaign. With Kluten, Laich has six goals and eight assists to go along with 26 penalty minutes. Against lesser competition, I wouldn't get too excited over this production. However, this makes Laich a good gamble over other players in his fantasy league tier because he's already in game shape.  

  Kyle Turris: Turris never panned out  with the Coyotes, and his relationship with them culminated when he requested a trade and was sent packing to the Senators in December of 2011. He finally tapped into his potential by recording 32 points in 56 games (including playoffs) with the Sens last year and has followed that up with seven more in 10 contests in Finland with Karpat Oulu during the lockout. The former third-overall pick has never had trouble producing away from the NHL, so at this point he needs to start putting it together there on a more consistent basis to be taken more seriously. Still just 23, he has time, but for now—with 75 points in 186 NHL games--he's considered nothing more than a lower-tier upside player.  

  Sergei Bobrovsky: The Blue Jackets' goaltending situation is one of their many question marks entering the season, so Bobrovksy has a good chance to claim the number one job. While Steve Mason tries his best to prepare for the season on his own, Bobrovsky is getting much-needed playing time in the KHL with St. Petersburg SKA. Splitting time between the pipes, he has been very impressive with a 2.32 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and a 7-1-1 record. A disappointment with the Flyers for two seasons, the end game for Bobrovsky is unknown because he's still rough around the edges. The way he's performed in Russia has to have pleased the Columbus brass. Remember he's still entering a less-than-ideal situation on a very bad team, making him nothing more than a flier in fantasy leagues.     Don't forget to get Rotoworld's NHL Draft Guide!



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