James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Sharks succeed swimmingly

Monday, January 28, 2013

Just about every year, a player - or in this case, a line - comes along and dominates enough that everyone knew they shoulda picked those guys. Through the first week of the 2013 NHL season, there’s no doubt that trio is the San Jose Sharks’ No. 1 line of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

(With all due respect to honorable mentions, such as the Minnesota Wild top guns Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley.)

[By the way, it’s not too late to sign up for a league with Yahoo. If you opt to do that, make sure to check out the Rotoworld Draft Guide.]

In case you ignored this weekend’s proceedings, the Sharks continued to roll over opponents thanks almost entirely to those three. Marleau’s goal-scoring exploits grabbed the headlines since they were of the record-breaking variety; he’s the first guy to score at least two goals in the first four games of the season in 95 years and almost kept it going with another goal in Game 5 on Sunday. That’s fair even in fantasy terms because goals are the more sought-after stat than assists.

Still, though, Joe Thornton should not be shortchanged for his hot start either; especially since, historically speaking, he’s probably more likely to finish this abbreviated campaign among the NHL’s top scorers.

Actually, that might be the most important question of this column: how valuable will these guys be going forward? This isn’t the most scientific process, but let’s say the three follow last season’s trajectory pace-wise in the last 43 games of the season after these hot starts.

Marleau: nine goals, four assists for 13 points
Thornton: three goals, 10 assists for 13 points
Pavelski: two goals, eight assists for 10 points

Marleau: 47 points (added: 16 goals, 18 assists, 34 points)
Thornton: 54 points (added: 10 goals, 31 assists, 41 points)
Pavelski: 42 points (added: 16 goals, 16 assists, 32 points)

Naturally, there’s no guarantee they won’t finish the last 43 games at a higher or slower pace. Injuries could really curtail their production, too.

Still, those numbers are displayed to start people thinking: if you want to be bold and trade (or trade for) one of those big three, how much can you reasonably expect? As you can see, all three would still be valuable overall, even just looking at pure points. Pavelski and Marleau have dual-position eligibility in many leagues, too.

The advice is the same with any high-end draft pick, then. Keep an eye on what kind of stats you expect that player to produce going forward. Don’t outsmart yourself and just trade for a guy who entered the season with a higher ranking. Don’t turn down a trade that’s a no-brainer. But ultimately, keep in mind that you’ve been handed a low-level Lottery ticket. Even if you keep them around, they out-performed their expectations for one spectacular week and should produce nicely the rest of the way.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with waving that shining object and seeing what you can get for it, either.

* - Numbers rounded up if appropriate.


After the jump: more from a jam-packed weekend.

continue story »
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.
Email :James O'Brien

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