Western Conference All-Disappointment Team (Jan 2017)

by Kevin Wickersham on January 16, 2017 | (2 Comments)
  • The Wild West
  • Western Conference All-Disappointment Team (Jan 2017)

 

In hockey, as nearly everywhere else, things look different in the summer and early fall. In this pre, pre-season time, NHL teams try to pick up key pieces to help their teams, and we follow suit on our fantasy teams thinking perhaps a change of scenery will spur great production from a bargain free agent. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes formerly reliable point producers just fall off the table for any number of reasons. If we predict well we can really boost our teams. If we don’t, we end up with players similar to those detailed below.

Obviously your results may vary, as we can’t account for individual scoring systems, points-only vs. multi-category leagues and all the various permutations out there, or ill-advised hopes regarding comeback players (I admit it, I added Teddy Purcell last summer). Instead we’ll examine several underachievers’ average points-per-game this campaign stacked against what we predicted they will be after game 82.

The figures below are each player’s projected points-per-game ratio from the Dobber Fantasy Guide along with their actual points-per-game average following the games of 1/14/17.

 

All-Disappointment Team

 

Player

Pos

Proj. Pts/G

Actual Pts/G

Diff

Benoit Pouliot

LW

0.71

0.20

-0.51

Carl Soderberg                                            

C

0.67

0.24

-0.43

Teddy Purcell

RW

0.59

0.17

-0.42

 

 

Benoit PouliotRegistering 36 points last year in merely 55 games, Pouliot has dropped off dramatically to just eight points in 40 games this campaign. While certainly some of his 2015-16 success could be attributed to plentiful ice time with Connor McDavid, his last three seasons both with and without the young superstar saw him produce at a respectable level, in the mid-30s in points. Nothing there to presage such a steep drop in production. Thought out of training camp to be lending some experience to a promising second line including Leon Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujarvi, the scoring has just not been forthcoming. Additionally, his shots have reduced by nearly one a game, and his total and power play ice time and have both decreased by nearly a minute-and-a-half.

Carl SoderbergWith 48, 44, and 51 points over the last three seasons, his only three full campaigns in the NHL, Soderberg has had an unexpectedly difficult time scoring this year, with only four goals and six assists in 41 games. It’s a condition that permeates the entire Colorado roster in this difficult campaign, and Is especially vexing since the Swedish center is on a pace to take his greatest number of shots in any NHL season, and is winning the majority of his face offs (51.5%) for the first time in his career. With the Avalanche far out of the playoff race, and a generally difficult situation in Denver, Soderberg may be trade-bait to a contender as the deadline approaches. Keep an eye on rumors, as such a switch could re-kindle his production.

Teddy Purcell – Purcell was supposed to log significant minutes in a top-six role on the Kings’ thin offensive corps, and those wise enough to snap him up were looking at a potential line mate of Jeff Carter and a (hopefully) revitalized Marian Gaborik. That didn’t happen. In his second tour of action with Los Angeles, he showed nothing of the success he met as a member of the Lightning, highlighted by a 65-point 2011-12 campaign. He even scored 43 points combined between Edmonton and Florida in 2015-16, but remained with the big league squad for just 12 games this campaign, totaling two assists and no goals before going unclaimed on waivers and ending up with the Kings’ AHL affiliate Ontario Reign. Disappointing indeed.

 

Player

Pos

Proj. Pts/G

Actual Pts/G

Diff

Mark Giordano

D

0.73

0.41

-0.32

Adam Larsson

D

0.51

0.18

-0.33

 

 

Mark Giordano – Giordano’s scoring has slowed this season (from 21 goals, 35 assists in 82 games in 2015-16, to five goals and 14 assists in 46 games). At 33 years of age, one wonders if perhaps all the minutes he’s logged through the years are beginning to catch up with him. His shots-per-game have dropped by more than .6, and his role on the Calgary power play has diminished by about 20 seconds a game. His shot percentage has also dropped to .054 from his career high of .099 last year.

Adam Larsson – While racking up an impressive amount of hits (5th amongst defensemen), Larsson has not scored as often as some expected when exchanged by New Jersey for Taylor Hall. Moving from the defense-minded Devils to a seemingly more wide-open offensive atmosphere in Edmonton made it appear likely that Larsson’s scoring totals would reach new heights, but he currently averages nearly the same amount of points per game (0.18) as he did in 2015-16 for New Jersey (0.22). He has seen an uptick in shots-per-game however, (from 0.79 to 1.07), accompanied by a decrease in overall ice time of nearly two-and-a-half minutes.  

 

Player

Pos

Jonathan Quick

G

 

  

Jonathan Quick - This one just isn’t fair. Or all that interesting. No reason to analyze one period of play. For those who drafted him in the first few rounds, or otherwise relied on him as a number one goalie, Quick’s groin injury in the first game and period of the season was tragic. Maybe the most disappointing development of the season. He was projected to play in 69 games, and win 37 of them with seven shutouts. Instead he logged 19:56 of ice time, with 15 saves on 16 shots. Kings fans have to be happy that Peter Budaj is excelling behind LA’s stingy defense, and we’ve been told we’ll see Quick in March-ish. Coming off a 40-win, 2.22 GAA, .918 SV% campaign and in the midst of a stellar career, Quick will carefully be eased back into the number one goalie position. Los Angeles will stick with Budaj until they believe there is no risk of re-injury to their cornerstone netminder. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is during next training camp, after unrestricted free agent Budaj ends up in Vegas or somewhere else.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

 

Player

Pos

Proj. Pts/G

Actual Pts/G

Diff

Joe Colborne

LW

0.58

0.13

-0.45

Cody Eakin

C

0.50

0.09

-0.41

Jiri Hudler

RW

0.67

0.26

-0.41

 

 

Joe Colborne – After signing a two-year, $5 million contract Colborne was expected to play a key role on the Avalanche, starting the season on a line next to Matt Duchene and Blake Comeau. Moving away from his Calgary hometown, which some speculated distracted him in recent times with the Flames, created optimism. Surpassing his 44-point performance in 2015-16 didn’t seem like much of a stretch. Instead his production dipped dramatically this year in synch with the general scoring dearth in Colorado. Strangely enough, he had a hat trick in his first game of the season. That’s been it for goals. Three goals, one assist in 32 games. He’s taken just 29 shots, averaging 11:31 of ice time, and played more than 12 minutes only once since November 17. Additionally he offers little help for multi-category leagues with 14 PIM, 48 hits, winning 40% or 38 of 56 face-offs, and blocking seven shots thus far.

Cody Eakin – This year has been a nightmare for Eakin. Injured on the first day of training camp, he didn’t get in a regular season game until Nov. 17 and didn’t enjoy full mobility even then as he was forced to play with a knee brace. Two games after the brace came off, he crashed into Henrik Lundquist and was suspended for four games as a result. He has yet to score a goal this season, and has tallied just two assists in his 22 games played. Coming off a 35-point 2015-16 season, and 40 points the previous year, Eakin was expected to contribute third-line minutes on a scoring-rich Dallas squad. Instead, wracked by injuries, the Stars have had more trouble than they are used to generating goals. Eakin’s total ice time and power-play time have dropped off significantly, as have his average shots per game which surely doesn’t help end his drought. Even being placed on the top line with Benn and Seguin for a good portion of his time on the ice has not jump started Eakin’s disastrous campaign.

Jiri Hudler – Someone must have cursed the Stars this year with so many injuries and other mishaps stealing their players. Hudler contracted a virus after playing only four games for the Stars and did not play again until the start of December. Predictably, he has had difficulty hitting his stride. Last season he totaled 46 points (16 goals and 30 assists) for the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers, so he is certainly capable when healthy. And anyone contemplating adding him this off season, or at other times, to their fantasy squad likely remembers his 76-point 2014-15 campaign with Calgary. So, we can hope for a second-half surge given improved health, as it is difficult to read much into his illness-ridden 2016-17 performance thus far with the small sample size, relatively meager 12:22 average ice time per game, and predictably much fewer average shots-per-game (0.79 this campaign vs. 1.51 in 2015-16).

 

Player

Pos

Proj. Pts/G

Actual Pts/G

Diff

Hampus Lindholm

D

0.48

0.19

-0.29

Michael Stone

D

0.45

0.20

-0.25

 

 

Hampus Lindholm – While he is amassing more than 22 minutes of ice time per game, the 22-year-old Lindholm’s scoring has been far under projections. Predicted to score 10 goals and 38 points in 79 total games, he has tallied just six points (two goals, four assists) thus far. Missing training camp didn’t help as he held out prior to signing a six-year contract extension with the Ducks, with an average $5.25 million yearly salary, and was delayed with visa problems before first getting in Anaheim’s line-up on November 9th. His average shots per game has predictably gone down as he gets back to speed (1.30 per game, as compared with 1.86 in 2015-16), but his ice time remains stable, averaging just 4 seconds less per game than in 2015-16. Likely we will see his stats rebound as 2017 progresses.

Michael Stone – Stone’s value is not described well by solely looking at his scoring totals. Generally he has been a valuable, mutli-category defenseman with impressive totals in hits, blocked shots, PIM and SOG, but as his ice time has declined by roughly two minutes per game some of his peripheral stats have regressed, particularly PIM and shots on goal. But still, six points in 30 games is a significant drop off from his 36 point production in 75 games during 2015-16. Across the board there are declines – from 62 PIM to six, from 2.15 shots-per-game to 1.23, from averaging 2:53 nightly on the power play to just 1:48. As with any of the sinking Coyotes’ squad, a trade deadline move is a real possibility, and perhaps would help invigorate Stone’s totals.

 

Player

Pos

Brian Elliott

G

 

 

Brian Elliott - Locked in a statistical race with Semyon Varlamov, whose 3.31 GAA and six wins in 23 games is an impressively disappointing record, Brian Elliott makes the all-disappointment roster for starting the season with stronger initial expectations. He has achieved better results recently, but after his fantastic run last year with the Blues he was expected to solidify the crease for a seemingly weak Calgary squad that had horrible goaltending in 2015-16. Instead, in spite of an ineffective beginning to Elliott’s season, the Flames are narrowly leading the Western Conference wildcard race and playing the hot hand, alternating between Chad Johnson (15-10-1, 2.25, .924), and Elliott (8-10-2, 2.85, .893). Johnson has played five more games (26 to 21) and overall been the stronger option. The Flames will likely give Elliott every opportunity to reclaim his number one spot, but continue to be quick to switch. I’ll bet you an unfrozen puck that he doesn’t meet his 54 games played, 25 win initial projection. He’s on pace for 36 games and 14 wins.

 

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  • Chucklez

    You could just as easily have listed the entire Avs roster here.

  • Cory

    There’s a very good chance that Los Angeles is a playoff team … would you still not be surprised if LA sticks with Budaj for the playoffs instead of resurrecting Quick?