Following the same footsteps as last year, here’s a list of some of the Western Conference underachieving veterans from last season. Many of them underachieved or were simply injured which resulted in them churning out horrible overall numbers for 2009-10. Those low numbers could lead them to be undervalued, so make sure you make a mental note of these players and don’t fall into the trap of undervaluing them like some of your competitors might on draft day.
Teemu Selanne Ana
Selanne made the right choice in re-upping with the Ducks for another season, as he showed that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. His 48 points overall probably won’t send a message that screams out “pick me, pick me!”, but considering he posted that in 54 contests certainly makes it a notable feat. Best case scenario he lines up alongside stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, worst case scenario he lines up with Saku Koivu and Joffrey Lupul, Jason Blake or even Paul Kariya and that’s not a bad place to be in at all. Definitely don’t forget him come draft day.
Lubomir Visnovsky Ana
Lubo posted 45 points between the Oilers and the Ducks last season, which will probably still rank pretty high in many pre-draft lists for the upcoming season. The fact that he pretty much has the full reigns on the number one power-play QB slot locked, and that his main competition is Toni Lydman, Luca Sbisa, or a rookie named Cam Fowler, sounds like a prime opportunity to post huge numbers to me.
Joffrey Lupul Ana
Lupul had big expectations heading into last season, but it all became unravelled 23 games into the season when he packed it in because of a back injury. There hasn’t been a lot of information regarding his current status, which makes him a huge boom or bust candidate. If you are willing to take the gamble, you could be in for huge rewards, but I wouldn’t blame you if you were to shy away as well.
Alex Tanguay Cal
Tanguay’s dismal 37-point season is probably one that he would love to forget, but will certainly linger in many poolies minds come September. The last time that he suited up in a Flames uniform he did post 58 points and 121 SOG. Last season’s 11 percent shooting percentage was the first time in his 10-year NHL career that it was under the 14.4 percent mark, so there’s definitely a couple of positives that you should probably make note of heading into your drafts. I wouldn’t invest too highly on Tanguay but if you’re running late into your draft and find that he’s still on the board, maybe take a flier since you don’t really have anything to lose.
Olli Jokinen Cal
Jokinen posted 50 points last campaign, which ranked 43rd in terms of overall scoring by centers. I don’t believe that he has very much chemistry with Jarome Iginla, but the coaching staff always seems to go back to the well more often than not. If anything, I’m drafting him for his post-lockout numbers of 0.93 PIMs and 3.75 SOG per game numbers, which will be plenty useful as a third C for depth purposes.
Marian Hossa Chi
You probably won’t forget his “big name”, but in pool providers that rank players entirely on actual production, his 51 points last season will probably drop him lower on the pre-season draft lists than he probably should be. If you are setting up your default pre-draft lists, it won’t be a bad idea to adjust his name accordingly.
Dave Bolland Chi
Bolland only suited up for 39 contests last season due to a back injury. During those games he posted only 16 points, but did return with a vengeance during the playoffs in their Stanley Cup winning run. Bolland is the clear cut number two center behind Jonathan Toews, so there’s plenty of value that you shouldn’t forget come draft day.
Milan Hejduk Col
Much like a few of the players listed above, Hedjuk had an injury-riddled season in 2009-10. He suited up for only 56 contests because of a lingering knee injury. The positive is that he spent 53.2 percent of his entire ice-time alongside youngster Mat Duchene, and 46.1 percent alongside Paul Stastny, so either way he’ll have a talented center to play alongside. If you are able to handle a few occasional missed games due to injury, it might not be a bad idea to place a small investment on the 0.79 point-per-game winger especially in roto leagues.
John-Michael Liles Col
Injury wasn’t the reason for Liles’ derailed campaign last year. It was his attitude which resulted in multiple healthy scratches by coach Joe Sacco. Hopefully he and Sacco underwent some off-season group therapy to sort out their differences, so that he could have a better bounce back season in 2010-11. I know I could certainly use a career 0.50 point-per-game sleeper D man.
Nikita Filatov CLB
Unless you have been living under a rock or in a cave, you probably haven’t forgotten the name Filatov. In case you might be the one percent of people out there that forgot he fled to the KHL after being shafted by Ken Hitchcock, this column will at least help remind you of him. I personally don’t see an opportunity for him to put up big fantasy numbers there, but I know many will.
Mike Ribeiro Dal
Ribeiro suited up for only 66 contests last season due to a neck injury, but still managed to put up 53 points. His 23 PPP actually ranked within the top 50 in that department in the league and his 3:32 per contest of power-play time ranked second to only Brad Richards on the Stars. As you can see there are plenty of bounce back centers already listed, so add Ribeiro to that list.
Brendan Morrow Dal
If you take away Morrow’s season last year, he actually had numbers of 0.84 points, 1.67 PIMs, and 2.29 SOG per game since the lockout, which was nowhere near the 46 points, 69 PIMs, and 155 SOG that he registered in 2009-10. A lot of that could be attributed to the fact that he might still be recovering from an ACL injury that occurred almost two years ago or maybe it was just a down year. Either way he’s a much better player than his last year numbers show, so make a mental note of his name come draft day.
Johan Franzen Det
Franzen missed over two-thirds of the season due to an ACL injury, but promptly returned prior to the Olympic break to reel off 19 points in 24 contests. He’s a premiere RW for fantasy purposes and definitely should not be forgotten.
Valtteri Filppula Det
Despite an injury riddled 2009-10 campaign, Filppula will enter the season with plenty of upside. Initial reports coming out of Detroit is that coach Mike Babcock intends to keep Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk together to start the season, which frees up the number two center slot entirely for Filppula. The 35 points last season will drop his initial draft position, but he’ll certainly have an upside for much more come April.
Ales Hemsky Edm
A shoulder injury held Hemmer to just 22 points in 22 contests last season. For the last five seasons he has averaged 0.92 points-per-contest, but the down side is that he has averaged just 62.6 games played. If you can handle the injury risk, Hemsky could definitely be a huge reward.
Nikolai Khabibulin Edm
The Bulin wall appeared in just 18 contests last campaign due to a herniated disc. If he can get himself out of jail for a DUI case, he could find himself in a comfortable position as the number one goaltender on a newly revamped Oilers squad. His draft value is probably rock bottom, so you won’t have much trouble snatching him if you’re after a buy low candidate.
Justin Williams LA
If you can swallow William’s 43.3 contests played average for the last three seasons, he might not be a bad investment to take a gamble on. He spent 81.8 percent of his entire ice-time last season alongside superstar in the making, Anze Kopitar, and when you spend that much time alongside a franchise player you’re certainly going to have plenty upside for fantasy value. If anything you can draft him in the pre-season and sell him off for a lower risk player 20 contests in.
Cam Barker Min
If you look at the overall end-of-season picture, you probably wouldn’t have noticed Barker’s 21 points. The thing that you do need to pay attention to is the 2:32 on the PP and 22:01 that he received in ice-time after being traded to Minnesota. If you read my projections article earlier in the summer, those numbers mirror more of a 40-point D man than a 20 point D man over the course of a full season. Dobber thinks 42, and I’ll back him on that one.
Brent Burns Min
Pretty much same type of deal with Burns as Barker. Burns tallied just 20 points in 47 contests last campaign, and is rapid starting to fall out of favour for many poolies. When on his game he’s one of the best across-the-board statistical producers for fantasy purposes. If he manages to stay healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 45 point, 80 PIMs, 20 PPP, and 150 SOG season out of him.
Scottie Upshall Phx
Upshall was on a 53 point pace before blowing out his knee at the end of January. He ended up with just 32 points and 119 SOG in 49 contests. If you pro-rate those numbers, his 199 SOG would have closely mirrored a 60-point producing RW. He won’t have very much value heading into 2010-11, so you could easily spend a late round draft pick to snag yourself a great sleeper.
Devin Setoguchi SJ
Setoguchi had a dismal 2009-10 season as he posted only 36 points in 70 contests. Considering he spent 29.9 percent of his overall ice-time with Joe Thornton, and 42.1 percent with Joe Pavelski, it’s unacceptable that he tallied such an atrocious number. Make a mental note of his career 0.85 point-per-game numbers in the months of October/November, but also the 0.49 point-per-game numbers in the months of March/April in the back of your mind as well.
Carlo Colaiacovo Stl
Colaiacovo finished with 32 points last season, which sits him right around the range where he still won’t be noticed fantasy wise. He averaged 2:58 on the PP per contest which was the same amount that Tyler Myers, Ed Jovanovski, and M.A. Bergeron received. His SOG is a bit low for my liking, but if you’re after PPP, Colo is certainly a viable option.
David Jones, Brandon Yip, Anton Stralman, Niklas Kronwall, Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, Ryan Smyth, Guillaume Latendresse, Cody Franson, Ed Jovanovski, Jason Demers, Patrik Berglund and Kevin Bieksa.
UFA - Marek Svatos
Anyone I missed? Questions or comments? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below.