Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
The names atop the NHL's scoring leaderboard this season aren't surprising.
Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Martin St. Louis, Alexander Steen ... wait, what? Alexander Steen? And Frans Nielson and Jiri Hudler? What are you guys doing here?
Steen, a winger for the St. Louis Blues, has 11 goals and 16 points in his first 10 games, Nielsen, a center for the New York Islanders, has seven goals and 15 points in his first 12 and Hudler, a winger for the Calgary Flames, has five goals and 13 points in his first 11.
OK, so maybe there are some surprises. But they aren't going to last.
None of these players is a fantasy star, despite what their statistics suggest.
In the NHL, the 1.0 point-per-game superstars usually reveal themselves long before they turn 25.
Steen, Nielsen and Hudler all are 29 years old. They have combined for just three 50-point seasons and zero 60-point campaigns.
Yes, the points they already have in the bank make it likely all three will top 60 points this season, but fantasy owners need to start looking at what they'll do the rest of the season rather than what they already have done.
The main thing to recognize is that all three players have unsustainable scoring rates.
Steen has 31 SOG, Nielsen has 26 and Hudler has 18. Their percentages, respectively, are .355, .269 and .275.
In 2011-12, the last full NHL season, no player had both 30 goals and a .200 scoring percentage.
Both Steen and Nielsen have career rates below .100, while Hudler has scored on 14.4 percent of his 710 career shots.
To avoid the inevitable droughts that are coming for each player, fantasy owners should start shopping them for proven stars, even ones who are struggling like Eric Staal and Claude Giroux.
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