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Draft Guide

Pumped up Veterans

by Brian Rosenbaum
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Which veteran player, with a decent performance record in his career thus far, has taken his game to another level this season?


Brian Rosenbaum: For me it is Brad Marchand. The Bruins pest has clearly been one of the most valuable hockey pool assets at this point in the 2015-16 campaign. In 29 games, Marchand has scored a whopping 14 goals and registered 24 points. If that's not enough, he is a plus nine and has amassed a very impressive 54 penalty minutes. Those are All-Star fantasy numbers. Marchand was always a productive fantasy player but now he is playing like an elite one. 

 

Ryan Dadoun: Marchand's a good one, although I feel like no veteran is matching up to the surprise that Nick Foligno was in 2014-15. I want to single out Michal Neuvirth though.  He's been decent more often than not throughout his career, but he's had a really tough time earning and maintaining a starting job with a team.  He's still struggling to carve out that role for himself in Philadelphia, especially after Steve Mason's 36-save shutout on Thursday, but Neuvirth has nevertheless taken his game to another level.  He's on course to set personal bests with a 2.06 GAA and .937 save percentage.

 

Corey Abbott: I've been impressed by Michael Cammalleri.  New Jersey has been surprisingly successful in 2015-16 and Cammalleri has played a large part in that with 12 goals and a team-leading 32 points in 33 games.  He has been close to the 30-goal mark in each of his last two seasons and he's on pace to get around that total again, but his assists have climbed this year.  Cammalleri already has more helpers than he posted in his previous three campaigns and he's on target for a great year if he can finally stay healthy. 

 

Michael Finewax: Cammalleri's production is absolutely a surprise. Few saw this kind of resurgence. But if you want to talk about someone who has really shocked most experts, look no further than Leo Komarov. The 28-year-old winger leads the Maple Leafs in goals scored with 13 and points with 21. To put this outburst in perspective, before this season Komarov had played 104 NHL games in Toronto and registered 35 points. He should eclipse his career totals coming into this season by February. 

 

Brian Rosenbaum: New Toronto head coach Mike Babcock certainly has taken a liking to Komarov and given him a much more prominent role which I believe has led to his increased production. Speaking of new roles, did anyone really think Martin Hanzal could be one of the NHL's most dominant two-way first-line centers? Hanzal could always be counted on to play solid denense and chip in a few goals here and there, but this season he is producing at a .8 points-per-game pace. That's top 20 material. Factor in that Hanzal gets his share of penalty minutes and you have one pretty valuable fantasy player here.

 

Corey Abbott: Blake Wheeler has topped 60 points in three seasons with the Jets, but this year he's on pace to surpass the 80-point plateau.  He is operating at 1.03 points per game, with 33 points in 32 contests, which leads Winnipeg in scoring and placed him in the top 10 going into Sunday's action.  Wheeler has developed a reputation as a more of the second-half performer, but he's doing plenty of damage early and appears to have reached another gear this season. 

 

Ryan Dadoun: Cammalleri's already been mentioned, but he's not the only pleasant surprise on the Devils this season.  It might be a stretch to call Kyle Palmieri a veteran at 24 years old (albeit 25 in February), but he did play in parts of five seasons with Anaheim before being dealt to the Devils over the summer for a couple of picks.  Through 33 games, Palmieri has 13 goals and 25 points compared to the 29 points in 57 contests he had in 2014-15.  To add insult to injury for the Ducks, Palmieri would be Anaheim's leading scorer by a five-point margin. Plus it's not as if Palmieri is riding Cammalleri's coattails.  The two typically aren't paired together in 5-on-5 play, putting the Devils in the rare position of having two big surprises on separate lines.

 

Michael Finewax: In his previous six full NHL seasons with both Nashville and Washington Joel Ward averaged 33 points per campaign. Now with the Sharks, Ward is in a different snack bracket. The 35-year-old winger is on a 57-point pace. It must be the west coast air. 

 

 

 

Brian Rosenbaum
Brian Rosenbaum is the Senior Hockey Editor of Rotoworld.com. He's run the hockey coverage since its inception in 2000.