Continuing with the next set of recap columns from the pre-season, this week I’ll carry my 15-3-2 record from the last couple of weeks and review my Not With a 10-Foot Pole column from back in August.
Last season I went a very run-of-the-mill 8-6-4 in my column, so hopefully I had a rebound year and fared much better.
Here is my list of players from the Western Conference that you won’t likely find on my fantasy rosters in 2010-11:
Joffrey Lupul Ana
I know I slotted Lupul into my sleepers column for the fantasy guide, but I’m going to pull a quick 180 based on the info coming out of Anaheim. The latest news is that Lupul is suffering another blood infection in his back and won’t even start training till September 20 when his next rounds of antibiotics are finished. Give or take another month to get back into game shape and you’re probably looking at the beginning of November, at the earliest, before he even suits up for a game. By then Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Dan Sexton, or Jason Blake would have sorted out the top-six and Loops would have missed the gravy train. Consider him a mid-season acquisition rather than someone to actively seek during your pre-season drafts.
Lupul returned from his back injury in early December, but couldn’t find the rhythm to his game. He managed to garner only 13:13 of overall ice-time per game and couldn’t get into a role of responsibility with the Ducks organization, which subsequently led to him being moved to the Leafs for Francois Beauchemin. He ended up being a great mid-season pickup when he notched 18 points in 28 contests in TO, but wasn’t much of a hit in Anaheim. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Daymond Langkow Cal
At a price tag of $4.5 mil this season, that’s a huge amount of cash to just bury on the third line, but that’s the most likely scenario that will happen with Langkow this campaign. Sutter brought back Olli Jokinen for a second tour of duty, and combining that with the services of Matt Stajan, I just don’t know where the Flames are going to slot Langkow into their line up. Ice-time will be the key for the veteran Edmontonian, and I just don’t think he’ll get enough of it to be productive fantasy-wise in 2010.
Langkow ended up missing almost the entire season due to a broken vertebrae after taking a shot to his neck from team mate Ian White in 2010. Either way, if he was healthy he would have been buried by the depth behind Jokinen and Stajan anyway. If you did ended up drafting Langkow you probably would have found an alternative a few weeks in any way. Maaasquito Bite: PUSH
Jay Bouwmeester Cal
Despite popular belief, JBo is not an offensive defenseman and probably never will be. Yes, I understand that he played for a few very untalented Florida teams to skew the stats, but if you look at his career numbers, they actually average out to a very mundane: 79 GP, 8.3 G, 26.2 A, 34.4 points, a minus three rating, 56 PIMs, 12.8 PPP, and 156 SOG. Considering another defenseman by the name of Denis Seidenberg, who was probably less than five percent owned in Yahoo! Leagues last campaign, put up numbers of 32 points, plus six rating, 39 PIMs, 2 PPP and 153 SOG, which certainly makes JBo’s numbers nothing really “special” does it. Someone is certainly going to buy into his “big name” status, just make sure it isn’t you!
Many poolies are finally catching on to JBo’s true fantasy value. At the end of the day he’s worth nothing more than a defensive blue-liner. Despite owning the 38th highest PP TOI total amongst defenseman in the league, he tallied a grand total of just eight PPP. Even Seidenberg tallied 11. JBO was drafted on average in Yahoo! pools as the 28th blue-liner. Seidenberg the 85th which just proves how overvalued he really is. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Brian Campbell Chi
There’s not much to dislike about Campbell and the way he approaches the game, but what turns me off from him is the lack of peripheral stats that he brings. It’s nice to have the 40+ points that come attached with his name, but the high teens PIMs, and the low 100’s in SOG could be a major detriment in many fantasy leagues. I’ve had a play around at www.hockeypoolgeek.com, and if you haven’t done so definitely check it out, it takes a lot of the hard work out of researching. They’ve ranked Campbell with a HPG value of just six, when Mike Green has a value of 128 so that should give you a perspective to his overall fantasy value.
I was pretty much on the ball with this one. He missed a bit of the season with a leg injury, but on a whole, what I mentioned about Campbell’s peripheral stats back in August has been completely true. He finished with just eight PIMs and 84 SOG, which isn’t exactly going to be a “must-own” candidate for many fantasy leagues. His plus 28 rating was definitely a bonus, but the lack of points, PIMs and SOG certainly wasn’t worth justifying for just one stat, especially when he was on average taken as the 21st blue-liner overall in Yahoo! leagues. There were plenty of much “better” alternatives than Campbell this season. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Craig Anderson Col
As discussed earlier, I missed on Anderson last season, but I think this campaign is a whole different ball game. Anderson finished with a great stat line of 38 wins, a 2.63 GAA along with a .917 save percentage, but considering he had a 10-3 record and a 1.77 GAA along with a .939 save percentage against the Oilers, Flames and Blue Jackets. It’s safe to say that those teams are revamped and he’ll have a much more difficult time to repeat those numbers in 2010-11. I wouldn’t doubt a return to Earth this campaign.
The Earth definitely came crashing down into Anderson’s wheel house this campaign, at least from an Avs point of view, any way. He finished with a 24-20-4 record along with a dismal 2.83 goals-against-average and .913 save percentage, thanks to his late-season heroics with Ottawa. It ended up salvaging his season. Maaasquito Bite: PUSH
Kristian Huselius Clb
If you look at the overall numbers, Huse is definitely not a bad fantasy own, but the problem that truly affects him is his inconsistency, which is deadly in H2H leagues. His month-to-month breakdown resulted in numbers of 0.75, 1.10, 0.38, 1.21, 0.67, 1.36 and 0.2 last season. Even a Yo-Yo has less up and down cycles. Save yourself the headache and pick up someone more reliable.
On top of the inconsistency issues, Huselius had to deal with injury issues as well this season. He finished with just 23 points in 39 contests, and barely registered on the fantasy radar for much of the year. If you were one of the poolies that gambled on him during your drafts, you probably would have given up on him by Christmas. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Kari Lehtonen Dal
Strained groin, sprained ankle, back surgery, the list goes on for the poster boy for Dobber’s band-aid list. I just don’t trust him to play a full season as a number one goalie in the NHL. Plenty of people out there will probably echo the same sentiment, which is why you won’t find him on any of my fantasy rosters this season.
My first big miss of the column. Lehtonen managed to suit up for 70 of the 82 games and miraculously was immuned to the injury bug. Not only that, but he was also pretty stellar throughout the season while finishing the campaign with a delightful 34 victories, a 2.55 goals-against-average along with a glittering .914 save percentage. Lehtonen was definitely a great surprise that rewarded plenty of owners that gambled on him in draft day. Maaasquito Bite: MISS
Jimmy Howard Det
Last year I invested heavily on a sophomore goalie named Steve Mason, and was burned in two of my major fantasy pools, one of which included the widely popular Yahoo! Friends and Family league. A few recent examples of Cam Ward, Carey Price, Steve Mason and to a certain extent Jon Quick, has led me to a conclusion to not invest too highly on sophomore goalies. Howard might buck the trend, but with a seasoned veteran like Chris Osgood lurking in the shadows, you definitely have to be open to the fact that Howard’s number one status won’t be etched in stone.
Howard caught a break this season with Osgood sidelined with a sports hernia injury. If Osgood was healthy, it probably would have resulted in Howard losing a few starts due to unimpressive play. Even though Howard finished with 37 victories this season (tied for third), his peripheral stats of 2.79 goals-against-average (31st) and .908 save percentage (31st) certainly left a lot more to be desired. Maaasquito Bite: PUSH
Nikolai Khabibulin Edm
Continuing the trend of do-not-touch goalies, I’ll add the Bulin wall to the list as well. He’s recently been dropped the hammer on his drink driving case and will most likely miss some time this year because of it. With three other goalies in the mix, Jeff Deslauriers, Devan Dubynk and Martin Gerber, Khabibulin will face some stiff competition when he returns back to the line up and certainly won’t be guaranteed a number one job. Any fantasy value that he might have had entering the season has been destroyed with the latest news.
The Bulin wall absolutely crumbled this campaign with a dreadful 10-32-4 record and a sky-high 3.40 goals-against-average that would make pretty much anyone gag. With Dubynk taking another step forward in his development, you would have to wonder how much more of a future Khabibulin has in Edmonton. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Justin Williams LA
Playing with Anze Kopitar certainly brings plenty of potential upside, but the problem is if you spend 60 percent of your season on the shelf with an injury that potential becomes entirely moot. If you’re after Williams you probably wouldn’t have to spend too high of a draft pick, but I’m utilizing my late-round picks on a player with much lower risk.
A second swing and miss on my part. Williams finished with 57 points along with 213 SOG this campaign. On a whole he was relatively injury free this season, which is why he surprised many poolies with such impressive numbers. Maaasquito Bite: MISS
Devin Setoguchi SJ
As discussed widely on the forums, I’m a firm believer in artificial caps for certain teams. It’s fairly safe to say that Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski will be the top four point producers in SJ. Factor in Dan Boyle’s production and unless the Sharks suddenly become a five goals scored per contest team, there’s going to be limited supply of points to be spread around. Ryane Clowe and Setoguchi will draw the short end of the stick, which is why you won’t see either of them on my fantasy teams.
I was half right and half wrong about my pre-season prediction. Luckily, I was right about the Setoguchi half and wrong about the Clowe half. Seto finished the campaign with just 41 points, which tied him for 158th overall in league scoring, which isn’t exactly an outcome that poolies were after when selecting him. Setoguchi has a much higher offensive upside, but unfortunately he’s buried by depth in SJ, unless he finds a new address, it’d be hard to think that he’d put up a significant fantasy numbers. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Blues Forward Corps (minus Backes)
The Blues are quickly becoming an offense by committee team, which means that I have no clue who’s going to be the team’s leading scorer by season’s end and that’s generally not a good thing. The Blues have so many interchangeable players that a player slotted on the top-line for one game, could easily find himself in a third line role the next. Instability is never a good thing for fantasy hockey, which is why I’m going to shy away from many Blues during my drafts in the upcoming weeks. Backes is probably my lone exception because I like the across-the-board numbers (including FW) that he brings to the table. Also don’t forget his 266 hits along with his 60 blocked shots, which are now included in Yahoo! leagues.
I don’t know how to rank this one. On a whole, I was right about Backes, his across-the-board stats (213 HITs, 40 BS, and 211 SOG) were definitely advantageous to many fantasy pools, but a few of the other Blues (if it wasn’t for injuries) also were fairly fantasy relevant as well (Andy McDonald and Alex Steen). But then again, how much value does a 50-point producer contribute to fantasy leagues? Maaasquito Bite: PUSH?
Alex Burrows Van
Shoulder injuries are never a good thing especially if they relate to the dreaded “torn labrum” surgery. Recent victims include Vinny Lecavalier, Zdeno Chara, and Mike Richards, all of which suffered a decrease in point production the year after off-season torn labrum surgery. He’s not slated to return to the Canucks line up till late-November or early-December, which probably dramatically decreases his overall fantasy value anyway. Either way his across-the-board stats are glaringly attractive, but you should know better...
Burrows returned a little earlier than expected at the start of November and finished the season with 48 points in 72 contests. I don’t know if the shoulder gave him any problems throughout the season, but a drop off of nearly 13 points (pro-rated) isn’t exactly what poolies ordered, especially when Daniel finished winning the Art Ross trophy. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Stay Away From These Murky Goaltending Situations:
This could be the bounce back season for Mason, or it could be another long struggle. Garon did post adequate 2.81 GAA and .903 save percentage numbers as a number two last season and could very well do the same once again this season. If you have better options, you’ll probably prefer that over this situation.
It wasn’t an overly horrible season for Mason, but it wasn’t exactly a killer bounce back either. He had a decent stretch between mid-January and the end of February, when he posted a 10-3-1 record with a 2.47 GAA and .915 save percentage, but that was pretty much the only positive of the season. If you’ve been a follower of my columns, you’ve probably read that I see a very similar career path for Mason that resembles closely that of Cam Ward’s. Ward finally got back to “quality status” in his fourth season, and I see Mason doing something similar too. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
Lehtonen/Andrew Raycroft/Richard Bachman/Brent Krahn
As discussed earlier, injury proneness and a plethora of quality backups is never a good combination at attempting to play the goalie guessing game. If you snag Lehtonen, it’d be in your best interest to bag yourself the backup as well (although I don’t know who it is going to be).
Lehtonen was a big miss on my part, as discussed earlier. Raycroft ended up winning the backup gig and posted decent numbers (8-5, 2.83 goals-against-average and .910 save percentage) in limited starts, but wasn’t enough to be fantasy worthy in pools. Maaasquito Bite: MISS
Jaroslav Halak/Ty Conklin
If you really think about it, we really only have a bank of around 100 games of data to draw a conclusion on Halak. The Blues management have invested heavily on him, and so will many poolies in the upcoming drafts. The problem for me is that he’s in a division where there are quite a few high scoring teams and he won’t have the protection of a veteran defensive corp. If you decide to invest heavily on Halak make sure you have his buddy in Conks as a plan B.
On a whole I don’t think there was a lot that you could have faulted with Halak’s play this season. He managed to record 27 victories, and ranked amongst the top-15 in goals-against-average and save percentage. The problem for me is that he was on average drafted as the 12th overall goaltender (which is a number one goalie for a 12-team league), ahead of alternatives like Vezina nominee Pekka Rinne, Cam Ward, or Carey Price. If you compare the stats of “true” number one goalies with Halak’s, there is definitely a wide disparity between the numbers. Maaasquito Bite: HIT
So overall, I didn’t do too poorly looking back at this column. I finished with a 9-3-4 record, which is a massive improvement compared to last season and brings my overall record of my three columns to 24-6-6, which isn’t too shabby. Next week we’ll take a look back at the grand salami, the Pre-Season Guide.
Questions or comments? As always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below.