This week marks the last week of the Fantasy Hockey regular season, and thus this will be the last week of the NHL Fantasy Files for 2008.
Looking back on the year it’s been an eventful season. I made some strong predictions and I hope my advice was able to help your team along the way.
My predictions for Peter Mueller, Jonathan Cheechoo, Nicklas Backstrom, Dan Carcillo, Robert Nilsson, Mike Knuble, Radim Vrbata, Mark Recchi, and Sergei Samsonov all paid dividends.
Some of my predictions were not as favorable. I was scorned hard by Jan Hlavac, Slava Kozlov, Sandis Ozolinsh, Joakim Lindstrom, Bobby Ryan, and Karri Ramo. But that’s how fantasy hockey goes. You win some, and you lose some.
I would like to thank The Bleacher Report for giving me the opportunity to publish my fantasy advice each and every week, and going forward should you need any help you can always reach me via my writer profile here.
Going into the final week of the Fantasy Hockey regular season I recommend:
Steve Bernier (BUF – RW)
Give Darcy Regehr credit, he’s learned from his past mistakes. When it became clear that Brian Campbell was not going to resign with the Buffalo Sabres Regehr had no choice but to trade the defender. And he was able to get value for the rearguard. In return from San Jose he not only received a first round draft choice, but winger Steve Bernier.
Bernier comes with pedigree. His resume boats a 101-point season with the Moncton Wildcats of the QJMHL and he’s not afraid to throw his weight around.
The combination of points and penalty minutes makes him a valuable fantasy player. In his two games with the Buffalo Sabres he’s already scored two goals and chipped in with an assist. Pick him up before it’s too late.
Jere Lehtinen (DAL – RW)
After missing the months of December and January with hernia surgery he’s picked up right where he left off.
Lehtinen posted 12 points in February to follow-up in 10 points in November and has 31 points in 36 games this season. He’s likely available in your league because of his low point totals, but he’s almost at a point-per-game pace so he shouldn’t be available.
He’s playing on Dallas’ top line with Mike Ribiero and Brendan Morrow. While second liners Niklas Hagman and Antti Miettinen are already taken in most leagues Jere Lehtinen remains unclaimed. Remedy this problem now!
Joe Pavelski (SJ – C)
Yes, that’s Joe Pavelski, not Joe Thornton. The Sharks other Joe who plays center led all forwards with ice time last game and scored a powerplay goal to bring his goal scoring streak to three games.
Though primarily a center he does see time playing on Thornton’s wing for the power play.
During the Sharks' current five-game winning streak, Pavelski has fired 18 shots on net and has five points.
Expect that as long as he keeps putting up solid numbers that the Sharks will keep winning games. And if the Sharks keep winning games, he’ll keep playing 20 or minutes every one of them.
Brian Boucher (SJ – G)
Heading into last night’s game Evgeni Nabokov has played a staggering 62 of 64 games for the San Jose Sharks. It was clear he needed a rest.
His numbers have slowly been declining this season and San Jose Sharks GM sought out relief at the trade deadline b acquiring free agent goaltender Brian Boucher.
Last night Brian Boucher showed the NHL he still has some game left in him by shutting out the St. Louis Blues in his first NHL game since March 30th 2007.
He has spent the entire year playing for the Philadelphia Phantoms where he posted a respectable 23-16 record with a 2.47 GAA and a .917 SV%.
He certainly will not supplant Evgeni Nabokov as the starting goaltender, but expect that he will be leaned on to give Nabokov regular rest heading toward the playoffs.
Sami Salo and Alexander Edler (VAN – D)
The two Canuck defenders have both rang up 4 goals in the past month and logged considerable ice-time on the Vancouver blueline.
With Roberto Luongo guarding the pipes behind them they can play with confidence knowing there is another solid line of defense behind them.
If you have a choice of the two, I would recommend Alexander Edler and his booming slapshot first, but if he’s not available the playmaking Sami Salo is no slouch either.