Just say no... to these seven players on new teams...



Every year there are newly signed free agents or guys traded to new teams who poolies somehow talk themselves into obtaining despite many red flags and warning signs. This week I’ll try to be the voice of reason and warn you to “just say no” to seven of these types of players, since otherwise you’ll only end up disappointed. For a Final Verdict, I’ll talk more about ways to spot (and avoid) players like these.


Derek Roy

With Roy, the lure is the five season stretch from 2006-07 to 2010-11 that saw him score at a .91 point per game pace. Fast forward to now, and you might try to convince yourself that Roy is still only 30 and should have something to prove, especially after only being able to get a one year deal this offseason. But here’s the issue – not only do you have the natural question marks about whether Roy can once again put up elite numbers, but you also must keep in mind that he’s going to a St. Louis team that has a logjam of players in its top nine. In fact, last season only two Blues forwards saw more than 19 minutes of ice time per game and most averaged between 2:00 and 2:30 of PP time, which are far less than what Roy was accustomed to during his glory years.


Viktor Stalberg

In Stalberg you have a big guy (6 ft. 3 in, 210 pounds) just entering the time frame (age 27, fifth season) when power forwards tend to break out. The temptation is to think that his talent was held back by his limited minutes (among Chicago forwards who played 25 or more games last season he was 9th in time on ice per game, 6th in PP time). But the big problem is he’s heading to Nashville, which is where offense goes to die. The last time any forward on Nashville finished with more than just 60 points was way back in 2008-09! Plus, even though Stalberg seems like a logical break out candidate on paper, it’s far from a guarantee that he’ll end up producing increased numbers in response to increased minutes.


Joe Corvo

Now that Corvo is heading back to Ottawa, the whispers about him returning to offensive form have already started. And while it’s true that Corvo did put up a solid 64 points in 127 games during his last stint with Ottawa, that was way back in 2006-08. And think about it - there’s a reason why Corvo hasn’t managed to stay on the same NHL team for more than one season since 2008-09, and it’s because he simply does not live up to expectations. Plus, as you’ll recall from one of my Category Killers columns, Corvo finished dead last in Blocked Shots and fourth to last in Hits among defensemen the last time there was a full NHL season, so there’s a big concern that if he doesn’t manage to get you points you can’t even have his secondary stats to fall back on.


David Clarkson

What intrigues fantasy GMs about Clarkson is that having moved from the Devils (28th in goals scored last season) to the Maple Leafs (6th in goals scored), they think he’ll now be able to show his true point production talent. But I’m not buying it. Clarkson is a very good player, but he’s a goal scorer (with 24 more goals than assists for his career), and the Maple Leafs already have several shoot-first forwards in Phil Kessel (more goals than assists in two seasons), Joffrey Lupul (four seasons with more goals than assists), and James Van Riemsdyk (more goals than assists in two of his four seasons). In other words, this isn’t a situation (like Jeff Carter in LA or Johan Franzen in Detroit, for example) where a goal scorer is surrounded by pass first linemates and thus can score 30+ goals with ease.


Anton Khudobin

There’s been some chatter that Khudobin might push Cam Ward for playing time or even have an outside chance to grab the starting job for Carolina. You want to know what’s really going to happen? Neither of those things! Don’t be seduced by Khudobin’s numbers from last season, since not only were they for the defensive minded Bruins (2nd fewest goals allowed in the NHL), but more than half of his 14 games were against non-playoff teams and only two were against a team in the top ten for goals scored. And although Ward has suffered significant injuries in two of the past four seasons, the key is that if he’s healthy he’s a lock to start 80-90% of Hurricanes games. If you want to take a chance on grabbing a back-up goalie, there are likely to be far better options out there than Khudobin, including whoever ends up being the back-up in Philly, Anaheim, New Jersey, Edmonton, or Tampa Bay.


Danny Briere

It’s hard not to root for Briere, as he was certainly humbled by being bought out. And since he’s shown in the past that he can rebound from a subpar year (53 points in 75 games in 2009-10; 68 points in 77 games in 2010-11), the temptation might be to take a flyer (no pun intended) on him again this year. But for a guy who turns 36 in October and has over 1000 NHL/AHL games under his belt it’s hard to imagine he has what it takes at this stage in his career to once again be a decent point producer. What’s more, if you take a step back and honestly look at the Canadiens’ roster, which has four top forwards under six feet tall in addition to Briere, it just doesn’t seem like he’ll be a good fit there at all.


Shawn Horcoff

For each guy discussed above, the issue isn’t so much that he’ll be terrible; it was mainly just an overall concern that the price it would take to get him wouldn’t be worthwhile. But with Horcoff, all signs point to him being just plain bad. At first the temptation might be to think that Dallas gave up a pretty decent defenseman prospect in Phillip Larsen to get Horcoff, so they must have plans for him. But in truth Larsen’s stock had fallen and Horcoff is basically a glorified insurance policy in case one of Dallas’ many other centers gets hurt. If you adhere to one piece of advice from this column, it should be to avoid obtaining Horcoff no matter what.


Final Verdict

When you dissect all the situations above, there are definitely some recurring things to watch out for, particularly players whose best seasons appear to be behind them, guys on teams that either don’t stress offense or have a logjam of top players, and unfavorable situations in general.

The key to remember is it takes more than talent and a desire to succeed in order to put up big points. Plus, some of these guys either have the comfort of a first huge contract in their back pocket (Clarkson) or a new contract plus money coming to them from the team that bought them out (Briere), and things like that could make it difficult to get motivated to work hard.

And because each of these guys was signed or traded for during the high profile free agent frenzy, chances are they’ll be on the minds of each and every fantasy GM between now and when the puck drops in October, making their price artificially high. So even though most of these players (with the exception of Horcoff) should be fantasy worthy, your best bet is to avoid all of them due to the disappointment that you’d experience in relation to the price you’d have to pay to get them.


Recently, from Holding Court:


Buyout Beware 
Points Can Be Deceiving 
7 Playoff Duds 
Fun with Google Instant Search 

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Comments (10)add comment

RizzeeDizzee said:

... @buck0198 - Thanks for the comment. I understand where you're coming from, but that's why I emphasized in the article that the 7 players are ones who most poolies already know, in their hearts and minds, have red flags and warning signs, yet somehow somehow poolies might convince themselves to obtain them. The column was to emphasize the reasons why poolies should trust their instincts and not draft or trade for these guys.
July 18, 2013
Votes: +0

buck0198 said:

Ehhh Not going out on much of a limb here. I think that people could see Briere doing something but the rest are pretty much common sense. Not pooping on your article...just saying that I dont think this is anything but common knowledge for a guy who follows fantasy hockey pretty regularly.

I believe you are spot on with your anaylsis though.

July 17, 2013
Votes: +0

RizzeeDizzee said:

... @4horsemen - For Clarkson to score goals in Toronto, he'll either have to take them away from others who scored them for the team, or the team will have to score more as a result of Clarkson being there. I'm not sure Toronto has the capability to do much better in terms of goal scoring than they did last season, so that means Clarkson will need to score in place of other Leafs and I'm just not seeing it since like I said the situation doesn't appear as favorable as what other grinders (Johan Franzen in Detroit or Dustin Brown in LA) have.

But in the end I certainly could be wrong, and I think all your points have sound logic behind them. We'll see what unfolds......
July 16, 2013
Votes: +1

4horsemen said:

... Some solid calls here but I'm not buying the Clarkson call at all and especially not for the reasons outlined above.

Clarkson is not a sniper, he's a grinder who loves to shoot and scores many of his goals from the dirty that Kessel's skates actually have a proven phobia of!! Those who have watched Lupul know that he's a very good passer and not, strictly speaking, a shoot first sort of player like Kessel or *cough* Kovalchuck *cough*. Lupul will play to the strength of his linemates and has the ability to compliment the skills of anyone he's playing with (more of an Elias maybe?). JVR is definitely not a puck distributor...fair in reality the Leafs have Kessel who is a shoot first sniper and JVR who is a bit more a shoot first grinder.

Now, if you're going to use the shooting tendencies of Toronto's wingers as the basis for an argument that he'll regress in Toronto then it must follow that NJ provided a significantly more favorable environment so let's have a look:

-Elias averaged well over 200 SOG per year thoughout his career and even has a 300 shot year on his resume, definitley a goal heavy winger.
-Kovalchuck.....does this even bear commenting on? One of the elite 'shoot first' players of the past decade. Pass...what's a pass?? (Kessel comparable)
-Henrique is goal heavy to the extreme! His entire career, right through Jr, he's been a 30/30 sort of guy and last year he was working on a Cy Young

I fail to see how playing in NJ with Elias, Kovalchuck and Henrique can somehow be construed as a more favorable goal scoring environment than playing in Toronto with Lupul, Kessel and JVR. Furthermore, there's a good chance Clarkson will get an opportunity to play alongside Kadri at some point and Kadri is arguably (I'd argue strongly) a better playmaker than anyone Clarkson's had a chance to play with so far. However, I'd also argue that none of this makes a lick of difference because Clarkson is the sort of player who's going to score goals no matter where he goes and who he's playing with because he's not making fancy plays at high speed or sniping from the hash marks, he's bumping and grinding and getting into the dirty areas to clean up the trash. Those guys don't rely on passers to succeed, in fact, I'd argue they rely more on shooters to create rebounds!! Good thing he'll be on a PP with Kessel and JVR eh? smilies/cheesy.gif
July 16, 2013
Votes: +0

RizzeeDizzee said:

... @aleco - The NJ version of Clarkson was very valuable. My main point was that if you don't already have him on your squad, you should be very careful about adding him, since the price right now is likely too high for what he'll likely give your team. For folks like you who already have him on your team, you might look into trading him to take advantage of the "hype". Or if you keep him then be careful to adjust points expectations. It might also be that Toronto tries to get him to tone down on his physical play since they have such a big investment in him, and if that happens then a lot of his secondary value might vanish, or at least diminish.
July 16, 2013
Votes: +0

aleco83 said:

Clarkson Definitely overpaid but what I love about Clarkson is that his scoring is very much an added bonus to his peripherals. A goon that can score is awesome, I've won leagues on the back of the Simmonds, Dorsetts, and Clarkson's of the world.
July 16, 2013
Votes: +0

RizzeeDizzee said:

... @Pengwin7 - thanks very much

@DarthVain - Yup, telling people not to draft Horcoff is indeed the equivalent of a public service announcement at this point.

@IceHoles - be careful not to push the auction too high, or you could risk him landing on your team! But even if that was to happen you could always try to work out a deal with the person who was the 2nd highest bidder. But I totally agree - let someone else draft Clarkson and feel the disappointment when he struggles to even top 40 points.
July 16, 2013
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Great list Thumbs up to all choices here.
Nice picks!
July 16, 2013
Votes: +0

DarthVain said:

Summary Don't draft Horcoff.

I made the mistake of drafting him when he was on Edmonton years ago, thinking he would get points playing with Hall, Eberle, etc...

Friends don't let friends draft Horcoff.
July 16, 2013
Votes: +0

IceHoles said:

clarkson i'm in an auction draft league and my first order of business this year is to drive the bidding on clarkson through the roof, totally agree with you on him... his deal has big money bust written all over it
July 16, 2013
Votes: +1
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