The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
by Ian Gooding on 04/10/12 at 11:51 AM ET
Last and definitely least in our lists of First-Team All Stars, we have our All-Bust team. For some of these players, the writing was certainly on the wall for either a drop in production or an almost certain inability to hold a preseason ranking. However, all of these players disappointed fantasy teams in a significant way this season. The silver lining is perhaps these players could be in for a bounce-back next season, certainly at lower prices than before. Just don’t overpay on draft day next season.
As the custom has been, I’ll list my busts first. Then Chris Wassel from The Program will provide his list of fantasy hockey’s top underachievers this season.
Corey Crawford, G, CHI
Crawford posted 30 wins for the second consecutive season, but at times he appeared to be losing his grip on the starting job to Ray Emery. His 2.72 GAA and .903 SV% didn’t provide the kind of return that fantasy owners were hoping for with a top-50 pick. Crawford also played more games (57) than any other goalie that failed to record a shutout this season. The results this season don’t necessarily mean that Crawford is not a bona fide starting goalie, since 27 isn’t all that old for a goalie. He just might not be potential Vezina Trophy material as we thought he might be following last season.
Mike Green, D, WAS
It’s hard to believe that after running away with scoring lead for defensemen two seasons ago (76 points), Green mustered only seven lousy points in 32 games this season. After a mid-February return from another concussion, Green only recorded a single point in 22 games. I’d be willing to give Green a pass with the injury troubles than went beyond concussions, but he couldn’t even score enough to justify a spot on fantasy rosters when healthy.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D, ANA
After a somewhat unexpected 67-point output last season, a regression was somewhat expected this season. A finger injury cut 13 games off Visnovsky’s season, but 27 points in 68 games barely made him worthy of a spot on fantasy teams. Another significant drop: power-play points (31 last season, 10 this season). At age 35, Visnovsky appears to be on the decline stage of his career and is a mid-round pick at best in fantasy leagues next season.
Bobby Ryan, LW, ANA
Ryan was a curious name on the top 10 in preseason fantasy rankings, but the assumption was made that he could score 40 goals and 40 assists on a terrifying Ducks’ top line alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. B-Ryan didn’t have a terrible season by most players’ standards, but 31 goals and 26 assists were the kind of numbers you’d want from a mid-rounder – not from your first or even second pick. Maybe he’ll get the 40 goals and 80 points next season, but don’t draft him thinking he will.
Jeff Carter, C/RW, LA
Carter’s prognosis seemed to improve following his trade to LA, but his point-per-game numbers didn’t improve after his wish for a trade out of Columbus was granted (.641 points/game before, .563 points/game after). Overall, he would have scored only 50 points if he played a full 82-game season. Maybe things will get better in a full season in LA alongside old Philly buddy Mike Richards, but it is worth mentioning that Richards deserves his own (dis)honorable mention on this list (44 points in 74 games, including a goalless drought that lasted two months). If you are looking into adding Carter to your playoff pool, his status for Game 1 against Vancouver on Wednesday appears to be questionable after he missed the final five regular-season games with an ankle injury.
Alexander Semin, LW/RW, WAS
Those who owned Semin didn’t have to play “Where’s Waldo” all season, since they could play that game with him on their fantasy team. His underachievement mirrored that of his team – a onetime powerhouse turned middle-of-the-pack option. The 21 goals that he scored this season was his lowest total since the lockout. As you may also know, Semin also has the tendency to disappear during the playoffs, so do yourself a favor and don’t add him to your playoff pool at any point, even if the Capitals knock off the Bruins.
Now, Chris will take over…
After a long journey, we finally end up at the fantasy busts. We should warn you that we went in a much simpler direction than Ian Gooding. Why was this? This is because when it comes to busts there are really only so many that can truly be called fantasy busts. A true bust is often characterized by not only what would be considered a below standard year but a year that honestly falls so far short that they are beyond reproach when it comes to debate.
Who is on our list this year? The hardest part is not trying to step on toes and overlap what others have come up with. However, there are always exceptions. Let’s get down to business with our not so fantastic four.
Scott Gomez, C, MON
Gomez was on his own level this year and seemed to find new ways to not perform at his best or anywhere near close to it. At least Gomez was averaging almost a point every other game last year and you figured at the least he could match that this year. It was not meant to be as Gomez struggled to 11 points in 38 games before the injury bug came. Gomez would probably be bought out if an amnesty clause was added to the new CBA but then again his concussion history could come into question. His relevance as far as being a fantasy entity is dead. Move on and fast.
Dany Heatley, RW, MIN
Heatley was slowing down already which was why San Jose traded him to Minnesota in the first place. In the first month, everything looked pretty good but then it all seemed to go downhill very quickly. Injuries to Mikko Koivu did curb his production somewhat but that was no excuse to what became an ever increasing disappearing act. His 10.1% shooting percentage was well off his career average of 14.8% and his 8 power play goals were just far off from projections which had him at around 15 for the Wild. Heatley was expected to at least bounce back to the 70-75 point plateau and all he could come up with was 53 points. With his abilities eroding and his speed almost gone, Heatley is going to have to find a way to keep up otherwise his career may end sooner rather than later.
James Reimer, G, TOR
Reimer did have real potential to be good this season and before his concussion, everything looked great. The problem was nothing was ever the same after an injury that seemed to take longer and longer to recover from. Then some suggested that Reimer never really recovered. After that, Toronto’s defense and Reimer’s confidence fell apart at about the same time. They had a little success with “The Monster” but even that was short lived. The 3.10 GAA and .900 save percentage along with the .500 record just was far below what people expected. Maybe people should have known better with Toronto but a lot of us were fooled.
Dwayne Roloson, G, TB
The Lightning were one water bottle incident away err one goal away from the Stanley Cup Finals last Spring with Roloson as their backstop. Now not all of the pieces were in place but there were enough to expect the Bolts to at least make the playoffs. Then the season started. It was apparent that Roloson had aged before everyone’s eyes. The numbers were hideous. There were 13 wins in 31 starts, along with a 3.66 GAA, and a .886 save percentage. Literally when Mathieu Garon went down for the season, no one made a move for Roloson because the damage was that far done in their eyes. Yes Roloson improved a bit down the stretch but still had too many of those dreadful performances. He is one goalie who will be on nobody’s radar next year. Honestly, the old man will probably retire.
That is it hockey fans. The busts are done and now it is on to your fantasy playoff pools. Hopefully lessons are learned here and next year your fantasy fortunes are good. Thanks again for reading.
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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey
My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.
A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter.