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Ice Chips: Five Fantasy Hockey Players for Whom I am Thankful

November 20, 2010 | By Steven Ovadia | comment on this post
Chris Stewart is making things happen for the Colorado Avalanche.
Chris Stewart is piling up the points for Colorado this season.

American Thanksgiving is coming up and it seems as good as time as any to publicly thank the five players for whom I am most thankful this season.

Just as a note, I reserve the right to get angry at any or all of these players should their production dip. I’m thankful but, I’m not a saint.

1. Brandon Dubinsky, LW, New York Rangers: I live in New York City, so I watch a fair amount of Ranger games. I thought Dubinsky was done this season. But coach John Tortorella moved him from centre to wing and suddenly he’s found his game, with 18 points including 11 goals in 19 contests. He’s putting up solid numbers and no one is really talking about it. Most Fantasy owners have grabbed Dubinsky up, so I hope you got in on the ground floor of a huge bargain player.

2. Chris Stewart, RW, Colorado Avalanche: Stewart isn’t a sexy player with huge numbers, but he’s a solid guy. He racked up 64 points and 28 goals last season and already has 22 points in his first 18 games this season. Stewart is even a +2. For whatever reason, players like this are often available after drafts, so I’m thankful I grabbed him early, since he seems to have been snapped up in most leagues.

3. Dustin Byfuglien, D, Atlanta Thrashers: Byfuglien went from being a key forward on the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks to being a defenseman for the less winning Thrashers. It’s been an insanely smooth adjustment as he’s been nothing short of brilliant. Byfuglien has put up 16 points in his first 19 games, with lots of opportunities to score. I grabbed him because he seems like a nice guy and I wanted to support him, in a Fantasy kind of way. It was a pretty smart move, unlike grabbing Ilya Kovalchuk because I thought he would want to live up to that huge contract.

4. James Wisniewski, D, New York Islanders: As a general rule, I tend to avoid Islanders on my Fantasy teams because the franchise is so cheap and volatile. When I’m drafting for my Fantasy crazy league, the Isles are my first choice. But real Fantasy hockey? Not so much. However, defenseman Wisniewski’s been solid: two goals and 11 points in his first 16 games. He’s a -13, but I think everyone on the Islanders is pretty much around that mark, too. Wisniewski’s bounced around the NHL, but he’s dependable and usually readily available in drafts. He too has been snapped up, so I’m glad I made an exception of my Islander rule for him.

5. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Philadelphia Flyers: I took Bobrovsky because I figured the Flyers would eventually play him. They use like 25 goalies a year, so he seemed like a safe enough third goalie to keep around. But he’s been sharp for Philadelphia (discounting the four goals on 11 shots he gave up to Tampa Bay on Thursday). Bobrovsky’s got a .925 save percentage and a 2.29 goals against average, and Flyer coach Peter Laviolette seems prepared to play him until the rookie drops. I don’t think the young Russian will still be starting at the end of the season, but for now, he’s been a great surprise.

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