NHL Central Division: 5 Fantasy Players to Watch in 2011-12

Aaron Brouwer@brouwerfhcContributor IISeptember 7, 2011

NHL Central Division: 5 Fantasy Players to Watch in 2011-12

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    Here are five player profiles taken from the 2011-12 FHC Fantasy Hockey Pool Guide from the Central Division. 

    To see more fantasy information like this you can purchase the 2011-12 FHC Fantasy Hockey Pool Guide at www.fantasyhockeycoach.com.

    Be sure to check out the two free fantasy hockey pools we are running this year.  One pool is a regular hockey pool where you pick players and get points for different stats they accumulate.  The second pool is a “Saturday Pick’Em” pool where you pick the winner of each NHL game that Saturday.

Michael Frolik (Chicago)

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    Frolik is a newcomer to the Hawks' nest, but should he finally reach the level the Florida Panthers scouts thought he might during his draft year, the Chicago Blackhawks will have a good piece on their hands. 

    They call Frolik "Baby Jagr," not because they are from the same town, but because Frolik likes to pattern his game after the former Penguins great.  He could be in line for a 60-point year this season if he gets on a line with Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.

James Wisniewski (Columbus)

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    In six NHL seasons Wisniewski has played for four teams. However, he is very valuable in both the NHL and fantasy hockey.  At only 27 years old, and entering his prime, Wisniewski scored 51 points points last season.

    Wisniewski’s aggressiveness is a valuable asset but also a drawback. Some of his poor decisions have drawn him out of position at times or caused him a suspension.  He is the best offensive weapon playing on the blue line with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and will log 20-plus minutes per night and prime time on the power play with Rick Nash and Jeff Carter.  Another 50-point season should be on tap.

Teemu Pulkkinen (Detroit)

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    When one starts to dig a little deeper and compares some of the stats and accomplishments on this Finn's resume, he is becoming a “buy right freaking now” candidate.  He just finished fifth in the SM Liga in scoring as a 19-year-old.

    At the under-18s he led the tourney in scoring. This year at the WJCs, he led Finland in scoring and finished fifth at the tourney in points behind the powerhouse Canadians and Russians.  Every time he hits the ice, his name is all over the score sheet, something any poolie loves to see.

    The Detroit Red Wings are notorious for bringing prospects along slowly, but patience will be richly rewarded.  According to some scouts, they compare his skill set to that of Sidney Crosby, making him a very valuable commodity.  He will need to improve his skating, add bulk and improve defensively before joining the Wings, but he already possesses that key ingredient—instant offense.

Ryan Ellis (Nashville)

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    Despite being 5’9", Ellis has all the tools needed to be a star defenseman in the NHL.  Coming off an incredible and almost hysterical 100-point season, what might be most impressive about his game are his leadership abilities. Captain of both the Windsor Spitfires and Team Canada at the WJCs, his on-ice abilities and character off the ice make him a special player. 

    Comparisons to Dan Boyle are very attainable and accurate.  A power-play quarterback in every sense, Ellis has that "it" factor that can't be taught.  By far the best defensive prospect outside the NHL, you need this kid on your team at all costs.

Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis)

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    The St. Louis Blues set their franchise up for dominance by selecting Jaden Schwartz at No. 14 and trading David Rundblad to the Ottawa Senators in order to select Tarasenko at No. 16 at the 2010 draft.

    A top-five talent, the only reason he slipped so far was due to the KHL risk and nothing else. The Russian was nothing short of spectacular at the WJCs and was a catalyst for the comeback that earned the Russians the gold. 

    Set to play another year in the KHL, his arrival in 2012 will surely be much anticipated.  A dazzling skater with top-end hands and pro-level release, he will help put Russian players back among the NHL scoring leaders soon.  Another "do what you gotta do to bring this kid in!"