SUN Hockey Pool

NHL Fantasy Fare: Will Booth and Kesler mesh?

Canucks forward David Booth skates against the Oilers at Rexal Place in Edmonton, Alta., Oct. 25,...

Canucks forward David Booth skates against the Oilers at Rexal Place in Edmonton, Alta., Oct. 25, 2011. (DAN RIEDLHUBER/Reuters)

JOEL COLOMBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:19 AM ET

TORONTO - Freed from that fantasy black hole known as the Florida Panthers, LW David Booth looks to have fallen into another one in B.C. The one-time 30-goal scorer, acquired by the Canucks in a four-player swap a week ago, was immediately paired with star centre Ryan Kesler. The new dynamic duo, however, did not register a point in its first two games and, heading into Saturday night’s action, Booth remained stuck on one assist for the season. While we hope the two will eventually figure things out, it’s no lock. Kesler, for all his strengths, is not an instinctive playmaker. Booth is a power winger who needs the puck in certain lanes to the net but hasn’t been getting them from his new centre. The result is that Booth has been taking bad angles to the net and misfiring when he gets there. Both players are also shoot-first types and, like the high-profile duo of Rick Nash and Jeff Carter in Columbus, this may be a case of not enough pucks to go around.

-- Chris Higgins switched from LW to RW on the Kesler line to accommodate Booth, but looked lost during the two games on his wrong wing and appears now to have been dropped off the line altogether. Cody Hodgson, who was the second-line RW until the Booth trade bumped him down the depth chart, was back on Kesler’s wing in practice Friday and was expected to play there Saturday night.

-- Mikael Samuelsson, who went to Florida in the Booth deal, should reclaim a top-six role with regular power-play time on the Cats, though he is currently nursing some linger after-effects of abdominal surgery in May.

-- No one on the Rangers was more glad to see the end of their lengthy season-opening road trip than Artem Anisimov. The centre managed just two assists in the Blueshirts’ first seven games — all on the road, which wasn’t too kind to him last year. Anisimov had 29 points and was a plus-10 at home last year and just 15 points and a minus-7 away from MSG.

-- Flyers LW Scott Hartnell finally found his way back into a top-six role on Monday, playing with Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr. Not coincidentally, the rugged winger scored his first two goals of the season, as did Jagr, and potted a third three nights later.

-- Alexander Ovechkin owners should be thankful their top pick is on the road. Ovie has three goals in three away games so far this season but, unbelievably, has not scored in five home games. Even more puzzling is that he has been held to three or fewer shots in four of those matches.

-- Now that they have righted the ship, so to speak, the Bruins have reunited their top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.

-- You would think that Danny Cleary of the Wings would be able to pick up points with his eyes closed. The veteran winger, coming off a career-high 26-goal campaign, has been lining up with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, but has only a pair of assists and a minus-2 rating to show for it. Zetterberg, however, is also off to a slow start with just three points so we imagine once he gets going, Cleary should follow. Now, however, there is talk that Zetterberg and Datsyuk could be split up again.

WHAT IF?

Always wondered what Sergei Kostitsyn would do if he just shot the puck more often. Last year, the Preds winger had a breakout 23-goal campaign, but did it on just 93 shots. Of the 106 players who scored 20 or more, he was the only one with fewer than 120 shots. This year, same thing — three goals on 10 shots in nine games.

GAMES THIS WEEK

4 — CGY, CHI, NYR, VAN, WPG

2 — BOS, CLB, DAL, EDM, LA, MON, NYI, PIT, STL

All other teams play three games

HOT AND NOT

Forwards, the past two weeks

Alex Steen STL

5-1-6, plus-5

Jason Pominville BUF

3-6-9, plus-1

Jamie Benn DAL

1-6-7, 12 PIMs

- - -

Chris Stewart STL

0-0-0, minus-3

Matt Duchene COL

0-2-2, minus-3

Pavel Datsyuk DET

1-3-4, minus-7

INJURY UPDATES

It’s no lock to happen, but Jeff Carter is targeting Saturday’s return to Philly to rejoin the Jackets. He had been recovering from a hairline fracture to his foot … Patric Hornqvist notched his first goal (and point) in eight games Thursday, but has been playing diminished minutes with a sore foot ... David Perron (concussion) is on the Blues’ road trip and practising but still likely a few weeks away … Tyler Ennis’ rough start got even worse with word he is out a few weeks with a bad ankle … Ryan Whitney’s knee injury is worse than first thought and he is gone until probably late November … Jets G Chris Mason left Thursday’s game with what looks like a mild groin injury … Scott Gomez (upper body) may be back by next weekend … Torrey Mitchell (UBI) feels he could return any day now … Mike Green hasn’t skated since trying to play through a twisted ankle last weekend. He is day-to-day.

WAIVER WATCH

With fantasy rating out of 5

Jacob Markstrom

G, Panthers

****

Florida’s goalie of the future has been brilliant the past week. But despite a .945 save percentage, team says it’s not yet ready to hand him the No. 1 job over Jose Theodore, but it could happen sometime soon.

Patrick Maroon

LW, Ducks

**

Recalled Tuesday to play on the second line, but wound up bumping Bobby Ryan off the first. Good fantasy potential as long he stays with Getzlaf and Perry.

Slava Voynov

D, Kings

***

Rookie is 2-1-3 with a +3 in five games filling in for Doughty, showing great composure and a big point shot. Has likely earned a longer look-see.

Brian Elliott

G, Blues

**

Riding a career-best hot streak, having allowed no more than two goals in any of his five starts. But don’t expect him to wrest the starting role from Jaroslav Halak in the long run.

Roman Horak

C, Flames

***

Has four points in his past two games playing on a third line and could wind up getting a shot centring Iginla and Tanguay.

Corey Potter

D, Oilers

**

The 27-year-old career minor-leaguer a surprising 1-5-6 in eight games, with all but one of those points coming on the power play.


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