The 15 biggest fantasy busts of the 2013-14 season - Western Conference
As a follow up to last week’s article where we listed the top 15 fantasy winners in the Western Conference, this week we shift to the other end of the spectrum and rank 15 players from the West that disappointed us the most this season. In order to be eligible for this list I considered players that had played a decent number of games (minimum 40 games for skaters and 30 games for goalies), therefore those disappointing players like Stephen Weiss who missed significant time due to injury may not be captured on this list. Ranking them from 15 to one, here are the players out West that destroyed their share of championship dreams this season.
15. Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers (74-11-22-33)
Schultz’s 33 points in 74 games is respectable and his minus-22 this season correlates with playing significant minutes on a team that struggled all year. However many of us expected more from the sophomore this season after he put up 27 points in 48 games (a prorated 46 point pace) as a rookie. While his season cannot be labeled a monstrosity, it was definitely disappointing to those who thought he was ready to take the next step.
14. Devan Dubnyk, Edmonton/Nashville (34-11-18-3)
A number of us comfortably drafted Dubnyk at the start of the season as a second goalie option. This was supposed to be the year Dubnyk proved to Edmonton fans that he was their goalie of the present and future. Dubnyk started over 75% of the regular season in 2012-2013 and posted a very respectable .920 save percentage on a defensively challenged team. This year he fell apart, getting replaced by Ilya Bryzgalov before being shipped away from Oil Town to Nashville and eventually ending up in Montreal as a depth piece. Dubnyk’s fantasy relevance came to an abrupt ending this year and he finished the season playing 34 games with an 11-18-3 record and a .891 save percentage.
13. Michael Del Zotto, Nashville Predators (67-3-13-16)
After a trade that sent Del Zotto out West some expected MDZ to latch onto this fresh start and produce again. Due to Nashville’s depth, few expected him to return to the 40 point player he was in 2011-2012, but here was a chance for him to improve on his season in New York that saw him play 42 games and post just 11 points despite getting opportunities to quarterback the power play. Unfortunately Del Zotto hasn’t fared well in Tennessee either, posting just five points in 25 games with his new team, making him waiver wire fodder going into next season.
12. Tobias Enstrom, Winnipeg Jets (82-10-20-30)
Enstrom is a few years removed from his back to back 50 point seasons in Atlanta but his owners expect at least a 40 point pace from the talented Swede. Last season Enstrom missed some time due to injury but still managed 15 points in 22 games which prorates to 55 points, which gave many of us hope going into this year. Enstrom instead started slowly, posting just 12 points in his first 42 games. Enstrom eventually finished the season with 18 points in his final 38 games suggesting he could be in for a bounce back to 40 points next year.
11. Bryan Bickell, Chicago Blackhawks (59-11-4-15)
It’s hard to believe we have a Blackhawk on this list but Bickell has been a bust this year. In 2010-2011 Bickell finished with 37 points in 78 games and last season he finished with 23 points in 48 games. We all know that Bickell is now considered a “playoff performer” but his owners expected at least 35-40 points from him after his impressive playoff performance last season. His minus-6 was worst among all Chicago forwards this season and we won’t bother getting into the generous contract he signed last summer and the eventual disappointment in salary cap leagues.
10. Ondrej Pavalec, Winnipeg Jets (57-22-26-7)
Pavelec disappointed his owners all year. He finished 21st in wins, and his goals against average of 3.01 placed him 69th among all goalies while his .901 save percentage left him in 70th. Another goalie that was drafted this year as a second option by many owners which resulted in their championship hopes being extinguished. The silver lining was Pavelec’s 14th place ranking with 1644 saves.
9. Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers (67-10-27-37)
This was supposed to be Gagner’s breakout year after signing a three year deal. He appeared ready to take it to the next level after posting 38 points in 48 games after the lockout – a 65 point pace. Gagner was set to line up in the top six with talented wingers on a team that many thought would challenge for a playoff berth. While some of this season’s disappointment can be blamed on his preseason jaw injury, it may be time to accept that Gagner is overhyped and may never surpass his 49 point rookie season. His minus-29 this year single handedly killed any hopes of winning that category.
8. Mike Ribiero, Phoenix Coyotes (80-16-31-47)
It would have been naïve to expect Ribiero to replicate his numbers in Washington last season where he impressed with 49 points in 48 games. Many of us expected better than this season’s 47 points in 80 games though. To add some perspective to this disappointment, Ribiero finished 2010-2011with 71 points and 2011-2012 with 64 points in 73 games. He is supposed to be a reliable 60 point option for those in point heavy leagues.
7. Alexander Burrows, Vancouver Canucks (49-5-10-15)
Similar to Gagner, Burrows is another player that never got into a groove this season due to injury and under-performance. Usually relied on by owners for at least 20-25 goals and 20-25 assists, no one could have predicted his abysmal 15 point season. Burrows also managed to somehow go more than 30 consecutive games without scoring a goal. Burrows also finished with minus-9, making it the first time he finished below even since 2006-2007.
6. Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers (63-11-13-24)
After a rookie season that saw him post a respectable 31 points in 48 games, Yakupov regressed this season posting only 24 points in 63 games. At this rate Yakupov could turn out to be the worst first overall draft pick in the last decade. It is too early to anoint him with this title but his only challenger seems to be Erik Johnson. The Oilers franchise is a train wreck but while Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins quietly collect fantasy points it is difficult to assess whether Yakupov will turn into a star player or a bust. Yakupov’s minus-33 was a killer for many of us this year and sadly he had seven less points in his sophomore campaign despite playing 19 more games this year.
We may as well combine the twins together on this list at fourth and fifth respectively. To put this season perspective, Mark Giordano had 47 points in 64 games this season. Daniel finished with 47 points in 73 games. If a buddy offered to give you a thousand to one odds, chances are you would have chosen to save your dollar. We should see the twins bounce back next season to 65-70 points. Below is a snap shot of their point per game totals over the past five years.
3. Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets (63-19-22-41)
After his 30 goal campaign in 2011-2012 many poolies continued to draft Kane early due to his rotisserie dominance. His 66 PIMs and 250 shots still made him valuable this season, but his offensive numbers were average. Attribute some of this to Kane’s career low 7.6% shooting percentage. Kane had only one power play goal this year despite playing over two minutes per game with the man advantage.
2. Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks (63-7-15-22)
Maybe the reason Roberto Luongo pushed for a trade at the deadline was Edler’s league worst minus-39 this season. While watching Edler this year it was hard to believe that he put up 49 points in 2011-2012. Edler barely matched his season total from last year’s shortened season where he had 22 points in 45 games. Edler unquestionably deserves his high ranking on this list but we should see a turnaround next season. The silver lining this year was his 50 PIMs, the second most in his career.
1 Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings (79-15-12-27)
If we exclude his 2003-2004 cup of coffee where he had five points in 31 games we are left with his career worst 27 points this season, making Dustin Brown this year’s poster boy for West Coast disappointment. Another player that typically drafts high due to his rotisserie league dominance, Brown had a season to forget putting up only one power play goal and his third worst career total in shots on goal with only 195. Speculation that Brown has been playing injured this season combined with his career worst 7.7% shooting percentage should give owners hope going into 2014-2015.
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