Lookout for the Leafs in fantasy leagues

As the Toronto Maple Leafs get their act together and find many of their missing pieces returning to the lineup, fantasy hockey owners could mine some hidden gems that have been previously ignored.

Most notably, Phil Kessel should make his debut for the Leafs on Tuesday as the team hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last year, Kessel had 36 goals and 24 assists and it’s hoped he will replicate those numbers in Toronto.

For leagues that don’t allow injured reserve spots, now is the time to grab the 22-year-old.

Similarly, both Jonas Gustavsson and Vesa Toskala returned to action between the pipes this week.

It’s still unknown which of the two will be Toronto’s regular starter, but goaltending is one of the hardest positions to fill in fantasy hockey and both could add some depth to your team.

Gustavsson has a 1-2-1 record with a 3.29 goals-against average and .892 save percentage. Toskala on the other hand struggled to start the season, but that could be behind him with his knee injury healed.

He has an 0-2-1 record, accompanied by a .812 save percentage and 5.56 goals-against.

Up front, the Leafs forwards have finally started putting the puck in the net and that could be valuable to many fantasy participants, looking to find a player who has been overlooked.

Niklas Hagman scored a hat trick Monday versus Anaheim and leads the Leafs in goals with six, four of them coming with the man advantage. Any owner whose league takes power play stats into account should give Hagman a look.

Nikolai Kulemin may be a steal in deeper leagues. His two goals Wednesday against Dallas were his first of the season, but could be a sign of things to come for the forward who has only dressed for six games, so far.

For leagues that count shots on goal, you can’t go wrong with Jason Blake, whose 36 attempts lead Toronto. He has finished in the top 10 in the league every year since the lockout.

As for the rough stuff, Colton Orr would be a great addition for owners looking for penalty minutes.

He’s tied for the league lead with 43 minutes, but has yet to contribute in any other categories with zero’s across the board.

Mike Komisarek is second on the team in PIMs with 27 minutes, but also hasn’t yet put his name anywhere else on the score sheet.

Sticking with the back end, Tomas Kaberle has enjoyed a good start to the season. He leads the Leafs with 12 points, 11 of them assists.

In deep leagues, Ian White and Francois Beauchemin could become valuable assets. They have five and three points, respectively and all three of Beauchemin’s points have come on the power play.

Plus/minus is not something that any Leaf will readily help fantasy owners with. Only Alexei Ponikarovsky (plus-three) and White (plus-one) are on the positive side of the stat.

Now is the time to jump on some of these Leafs players, because if the team continues to build momentum, they won’t be available for long.

About this article

By: Daniel Wilson
Posted: Oct 30 2009 7:34 pm
Filed under: Hockey Sports