Oilers Fantasy Hockey Forecast - 03/08/2011
In one quick motion, three of the most dynamic and productive contributors were stripped from the roster. Much like the challenges facing the team, losing your stars during the stretch run can be a daunting task. Pittsburgh has been forced to endure time without Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, and now the Oilers have entered into a similar fate.
Different situations, naturally, but you get the idea. Interestingly enough, all three highlighted players from last week fell victim to the sick bay. Even Gilbert Brule, who fortunately escaped a long-term ailment, was forced to sit out Saturday’s affair with the Avalanche due to an illness.
That was only a coincidence, of course. Surely my selections had no effect on the real-world results. Right? Right.
As always, there’s a solution and I’m here to guide you through the challenge. Step one: Don’t panic. Back in the 1992-93 season, sniper Scott Pearson split time with the AHL’s Halifax Citadels and the Quebec Nordiques after suffering through an injury-riddled campaign a year prior. In 41 games that season with the Nordiques, Pearson scored an incredible 13 goals, along with an assist to ignite his NHL career.
Pearson would later be traded to the Oilers, where he followed up that breakout season with another impressive campaign in Edmonton. After scoring 19 goals and 37 points in 72 games during the 1993-94 season, certain unnamed people invested in Pearson’s services for a relatively high Fantasy cost.
Of course, everyone remembers what happened next. The moral of the story? We all face adversity. Situations like the aforementioned mid-90s crash helped to build character en route to bigger and better things. Don’t let the absences of certain players discourage your efforts.
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TONIGHT AT 8:30PM
No more than one hour following the completion of tonight's game vs. Philadelphia, the newly introduced salaries for all our highlighted players will take effect.
Here are this week’s salary amendments:
SAM GAGNER ($2M > $3M)
Edmonton’s 21-year old veteran has assumed control of the Oilers’ top six forward group with the absences of Hall and Hemsky. While both players are wingers, Gagner has been forced to adapt to new linemates in short order, while still bringing forth the expectation of consistent offensive production.
Gagner did that and more this past Saturday when the Oilers defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 in the team’s third consecutive victory. In the process, Gagner notched his 15th goal of the season and added two assists to achieve a three-point night for the first time this season. With 42 points on the year, Gagner has eclipsed his total from each of the previous two seasons (41) with 16 games to play.
Gagner’s 42 points have him sitting atop the leaderboard in scoring; a place that he will likely stay, barring any miracle recoveries or extreme surges from some the middle of the pack.
ALEX GIROUX ($1M > $3M)
Alex Giroux certainly had a whirlwind weekend. Saturday began with a morning skate in Oklahoma City before getting the call from the Oilers. Following his extensive excursion through the air to Denver, Giroux at Pepsi Center to play his first game with the Edmonton Oilers.
In doing so, Giroux brought his signature offensive punch, contributing to the Oilers’ 5-1 win over the Avalanche with a goal in the second period. The extent of Giroux’s stay in Oil Country will likely be determined by his production in the points department. After all, his resume features the world-class sniping ability that has yet to translate to the NHL game.
With 16 games to play, Giroux will be given a terrific opportunity to showcase his skill on the grandest stage as he looks to make an impression on the organization.
TOM GILBERT ($4M > $2M)
Tom Gilbert continues to be the forgotten man on the Oilers’ blueline this season. Even with Ryan Whitney sidelined for the remainder of the campaign, others have stepped up to claim notoriety amidst the ever-changing corps.
Gilbert, however, continues to be the rock-solid veteran presence that Edmonton requires during this challenging stretch of the season. On a nightly basis Gilbert leads his team in ice-time, ignites the offensive attack with his intelligent puck-moving ability, and sets the tone with his fearless talent in blocking shots; all which are extremely valuable components to Fantasy Hockey success.
As a reward, and with fewer options on the blueline to choose from, Gilbert will be discounted this week. Use the cap-space wisely, as the offence-by-committee mentality will surely be the key to success over the next seven days.
Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com