These 10 guys really disappointed fantasy hockey owners this year.
The end of the season is one of my favourite times of the year. Because as fantasy managers, it’s a good chance to look back and think of your draft day and where you screwed up.
If only you had drafted Carey Price instead of Tuukka Rask, Logan Couture instead of Taylor Hall, and Mark Giordano instead of Zdeno Chara, you’d be easily winning your league.
While it’s easy to think of what-ifs, one of the most frustrating parts of fantasy hockey is drafting those stud players who ended up having a horrible season, single-handily costing you the championship.
Here are 10 of those so-called sure bets who turned out to be duds.
First, let’s go over a few ground rules. A lot of these players are chosen based on where they would have been drafted in fantasy leagues. So a guy having a bad season that was drafted in the 12th round is nowhere close to a first rounder having a bad year.
Also, injuries alone not enough to put someone on the list, so you won’t find David Krejci or Henrik Lundqvist listed. However, a combination of poor play and injuries can force a player onto the list.
10. Mikko Koivu
It’s been a tough season for Koivu. He started the season with just five points in 19 games. He’s managed to turn things around during the Wild’s improbable streak toward a playoff spot, but it may be too late for fantasy general managers. Koivu is also on pace for near-career lows in goals, plus-minus and shooting percentage, and he probably won’t even reach the 50-point plateau.
9. James Neal
Everyone thought his production would drop off once he was traded to Nashville from Pittsburgh, but no one thought it would be this dramatic. Neal has 35 points this year and is on pace for just 40, which would be his lowest since he was a rookie during 2008-09 season. His shot total is down a little and his assists and power play goals are down a lot. Overall, not a great first year in Nashville for Neal owners.
8. Eric Staal
I’ve never been a big believer in Staal being a second-half player, and this season goes a long way toward proving that. Unfortunately for owners, this year he hasn’t been a first or second-half player. Staal had 21 points in the first half of the season (32 games by Dec. 31), and 22 points so far in the second half (31 games). He’s also only on pace for 23 goals, the third time in the last four years he has failed to crack 25 goals.
7. Marty St. Louis
I’m not sure what it is, but players go to New York, and their offensive numbers suffer (you can add Keith Yandle to that list now). St. Louis, who won the Art Ross two seasons ago, seemed to fall into the same boat last season after he was dealt to the Rangers from Tampa Bay, when he had just one goal and eight points in 19 games. He started to turn it around in the playoffs. But this season, he’s been a shadow of his former self, with just 47 points in 67 games. Remember, he was pretty much a point-per-game player with Tampa. Many may blame his age, but he may have fallen to the curse of the Rangers.
6. Matt Duchene
No matter how good or how bad the Avalanche have been over the years, Duchene was the offensive juggernaut of the team. He’s hit 65 points twice (three times if you pro-rate the lockout-shortened season), but this season, he’ll be lucky to hit 55 points. He has 44 points in 69 games, and is being outscored by teammates such as Tyson Barrie and Alex Tanguay. Not a great season for the former first round pick.
5. Patrick Sharp
There was a big debate on the forums last year on whether Sharp could be a top-10 point producer after 2013-14’s breakout season, when he had a career-high 78 points. He’s battled injuries a little bit this year, but he still has just 34 points in 54 games. In Yahoo pools, he was selected 27th overall on average, ahead of guys like Joe Pavelski, Max Pacioretty and Zach Parise. In cap leagues, his drop in production hurts even more.
4. Nathan MacKinnon
Talk about a sophomore slump. After finishing with 63 points as rookie last year, most people thought the sky was the limit for MacKinnon. Last summer, many fantasy owners were encouraged not to deal him for any package unless someone like Malkin, Crosby or Giroux were coming back in the deal. Well, MacKinnon and fantasy general managers fell hard back to earth this season. MacKinnon has 38 points in 64 games, and thanks to a season-ending broken foot, he won’t even hit 40 points.
3. Anze Kopitar
There used to be three sure things in life: death, taxes and a 70-point season from Anze Kopitar. Even when you pro-rate the lockout shortened season, Kopitar has hit 70 points five seasons in a row and six of the last seven. Unless he goes on a crazy tear to end the season, that streak will come to an end this year. Kopitar has just 52 points, and is on pace for 63 points. He’s also a minus-two, which is his worst season in that category since 2008-09. The craziest stat for Kopitar is when it comes to shots. He’s on pace for just 128. His next lowest full season was his rookie year, when he had 193 shots.
2. Phil Kessel
How good was Phil Kessel before this season? Despite playing on a team with bad defence and being a perpetual minus player, many poolies still took him in the first round this year. And for the first half of the season, he rewarded those managers, as he notched 41 points in 41 games. But once Randy Carlyle was fired, and Peter Horachek became the new Leafs coach, the offence dried up and the whole team suffered. Under Horachek, Kessel has just 12 points in 29 games, and for the season, he has 53 points in 70 games. And of course, he’s a minus-32.
1. Taylor Hall
For the last two seasons, Hall has finished in the top 10 scoring and was a point-per-game player. Many poolies thought the same thing would happen this year, as this was finally going to be the year the Oilers put it all together. Instead, the opposite happened. The Oilers seem to be worse than ever, and Hall, when healthy, wasn’t able to get it going at all. He had just 30 points in 42 games before getting injured, and there’s some doubt as to whether he will play another game this season.