Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Hockey News: Henrik is Hot
By Darryl Dobbs
Special to ESPN.com
The follow-up to his outstanding rookie campaign has been disappointing to say the least, but don't close the book on Henrik Lundqvist just yet. The New York Rangers goaltender is quickly turning his numbers into the lofty standards he set last season.
King Henrik has gone 8-1-2 in his past 11 starts and has allowed one goal or less in eight of 11 contests. He has watched all of his statistics take a dramatic turn for the better. Suddenly, his goals-against average is within shouting distance of the league's leader (Niklas Backstrom, 2.12 GAA) at 2.30 and his .917 save percentage has moved him into the top 10 in the league.
Since Christmas, Lundqvist has done everything fantasy owners have imagined. He has started every game except one (42 of 43 contests). But, it was his poor start that kept his name from being mentioned in the same sentence with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo.
If you recall, the 25-year-old began the campaign with a 5-5 record and had a brutal save percentage of .878 and a goals-against average of 3.57. Since then, he has allowed four or more goals in just six of 54 games.
Lundqvist's first 40-win season is a lock for next season, barring injury. He's a top five netminder in any keeper league and is the greatest reason the Rangers have a leg up in the playoff race. ...
San Jose sophomore Milan Michalek has 14 points in his last nine contests. He began the season with 23 points in his first 21 games. The 22-year-old needs to work on his consistency if he wants to become a solid 80- to 85-point player. He put up 23 points in 42 games in between those two runs. ...
The Wild's Marian Gaborik had seven points in nine games as of January 11. He was no doubt passed up or dropped in many waiver drafts for one-year pools that were happening around that time. What a mistake that would have been considering Gaborik has posted 43 points in 33 games since then.
Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: While his production may be limited to just over a point every two games, forward Ryan Kesler makes a great dark horse selection for your playoff pool if you like Vancouver's chances. Kesler hopes to return from hip surgery in the first round.
Darryl Dobbs' Fantasy Pool Look appears every Monday and Wednesday only on The Hockey News.com. Want to speak with Darryl about fantasy hockey?
E-mail him at email@example.com.
Material from The Hockey News.
To subscribe, visit The Hockey News' Web site at: http://www.thehockeynews.com