Smith

 

Once again, much like last year, here’s a list of players who just don’t tickle my fancy. There are a variety of reasons, ranging from my dislike of some players, changes to the team during the off-season, recovery from off-season surgery, overvalued rookies/prospects, or just plain over-inflated stats from last season.

But first a recap of the hit or misses for the players listed from last season’s column:

 

 

Player

Hit/Miss/Push

Lupul

Hit

Langkow

Push

Bouwmeester

Hit

Campbell

Hit

Anderson

Push

Huselius

Hit

Lehtonen

Miss

Howard

Push

Khabibulin

Hit

Williams

Miss

Setoguchi

Hit

Blue Forward Corps

Push?

Burrows

Hit

Mason/Garon

Hit

Lehtonen/Raycroft

Miss

Halak/Conklin

Hit?

 

Overall, not a bad hit/miss ratio but probably not the best. I’m a perfectionist so anything less than 100 percent, I’m definitely not happy with. I missed on the Lehtonen selection, mostly because I was banking on him getting injured again, but luckily for many poolies that didn’t end up happening. Same could be said for Williams, as I was banking for some sort of major injury, but that didn’t end up happening either. But other than those two, I did fairly well, so hopefully this season I can have a similar type of efficiency rating.

 

Here is my list of players from the Western Conference that you won’t likely find on my fantasy rosters in 2011-12:

 

Corey Perry – Right Wing - Anaheim

As discussed on the DobberNation radio show last week. It’s not that I don’t want him on my fantasy squad, but it’s just that the price is probably going to be sky-high for him. With his great season last year, you’re probably going to be looking at the 5th to 10th pick in order to snag him. In that range I might consider players with a better proven track record like the Sedins, Pavel Datsyuk, Marty St. Louis or maybe Brad Richards before Perry. A couple of the main reasons for me are: 1) his shooting percentage 17.2 percent last season, career average was 11.3 prior to that. If he reverts back to that it’s going to drop back to 32 goals instead of the 50 he tallied last season. 2) 90 percent of Perry’s PPP occurred when Teemu Selanne was on the ice. Just 19.4 percent of the PPP occurred when Bobby Ryan was on the ice. If Selanne retires, Ryan will assume that PP slot and I don’t know if it’s going to be as efficient of a PP with Ryan on the ice as opposed to Selanne. 3) Perry absolutely ripped up the Eastern Conference last season, while averaging 1.39 points-per-game against his Eastern Conference rivals. The previous two seasons he averaged 1.11 and 0.94. So if those numbers return back to normal, expect a bit of a drop in the point totals. So once again, it’s not that I don’t want him on my team, but last season was kind of like a perfect storm for Perry where everything seemed to come together. I just don’t think that lightning will strike twice.

 

Mikael Backlund – Center - Calgary

Tons of hype from one of the most highly-touted in the past, but most of it has died down since he really isn’t getting much love in Calgary. With Brendan Morrison, Olli Jokinen, Matt Stajan, and possibly Lee Stempniak all in the center mix, there just isn’t going to be enough room for Backlund to garner any sort of significant time in Cowtown. Expect another third/fourth line checking role, where he’s toiling around the 10-12 minutes per game mark and very little production.

 

Brent Seabrook – Defenseman - Chicago

Similar to the situation with Perry, it’s not that I don’t want Seabrook on my fantasy squad. It’s just that his value is going to be so over-inflated during fantasy drafts that you’re better off passing on him and waiting another rounder or two for a backup plan who would post pretty much the exact same stats. His 48 points last campaign ranked him tied with Shea Weber and Brian Rafalski for 10th overall in that department amongst all blue-liners. Seabrook is more of a defensive two-way, rock solid, hard hitting blue-liner than the offensive gem that he was last season. I’d expect somewhere around the 35-40 point mark than the 45+ that he tallied in 2010-11. I’d definitely keep him up there if your league counts HITs and BS, but if it’s a straight points or standard settings league, then I’d probably pass.

 

Semyon Varlamov – Goalie – Colorado

I’m not a huge fan of Band-Aid boys, especially when they’re playing in one of the most important positions in fantasy hockey. Justin Goldman’s article, back in mid-July, pretty much breaks it all down. The last time I talked to Justin, the Avs still don’t have a full-time goalie coach and he doesn’t quite know if Varly has changed his workout regime over summer, but he’ll have a better idea in about a month’s time when training camp comes along. The thing is, the Avs also brought along a very capable backup in J.S. Giguere, and they also signed a pretty talented youngster in Cedrick Desjardins (who’s also capable of picking up five to 10 starts), so they aren’t exactly hard-pressed in being forced to play Varlamov if he’s truly struggling. Even though the price tag might not be that high for Varly, I still wouldn’t touch that situation with a 10-foot pole.

 

Rick Nash/ Jeff Carter – Left Wing/ Center – Columbus

I also brought this up on the DobberNation show last week, and I’ll just elaborate on it a little bit more in this column. Both players are shoot-first players, and we’ve seen it being utilized before with the Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen scenario in Calgary where it just didn’t work. Columbus can certainly attempt to give that a try with Carter and Nash, but what they do need is a solid back up plan if things don’t go as planned. There’s bound to be at least one poolie that will over-reach and over-pay for Carter or Nash, simply because they’re banking on the imaginary chemistry to be there. The question is are you willing to take the risk and attempt to out-bid them?

 

Loui Eriksson – Left Wing – Dallas

Once again, I mentioned Eriksson in last week’s DobberNation radio show. The chemistry between Eriksson and Brad Richards is undeniable. 73.6 percent of Eriksson’s points last campaign occurred with Richards was on the ice and 85.6 percent the season prior. With Richards off to the big apple, I don’t know if Mike Ribeiro will be as good of a replacement. Most pool providers place a strong emphasis on point production from the previous year to determine initial draft positions. Eriksson’s 73 points tied him for 15th overall in that department, which will mean that he will be overvalued by plenty of pool providers heading into the season. So buyers beware.

 

Tomas Holmstrom – Left Wing - Detroit

You generally don’t want to discount any Red Wings just because they’re always such a consistent, offensive producing team. Holmstrom has always had that “big name” attachment since he seems like he’s been lining up alongside Pavel Datsyuk and/or Henrik Zetterberg for ever. Last season, the time spent with the two superstars is declining. He spent just 54.6 percent of his overall ice-time alongside Datsyuk and just 58.3 with Zetterberg. The soon-to-be 39-year old is starting to run on fumes as he’s averaging just 39.8 points and 117 SOG during the last four seasons, which probably isn’t even worth a flier during the last few rounds of drafts. Take a pass on the Swedish pest.

 

Ales Hemsky – Right Wing - Edmonton

Half of me don’t want to put his name on the list, but the other half says you just can’t trust a Band-Aid boy. I don’t think someone could have that much bad luck where he’ll miss significant time for a third consecutive season, can they? I mean, he did his right shoulder two seasons ago, and then his left last season. There aren’t any more shoulders left to be injured really… All joking aside, right wingers are generally plentiful at draft that that you don’t really need to risk taking a gamble on the oft-injured Oiler. I’d look for other options instead.

 

Dustin Penner – Left Wing – Los Angeles

If you’ve been playing fantasy hockey for a while now, then you’re probably well aware of the boom-or-bust-ness of Penner. When he feels like playing, he could definitely put up the points with the best of them (six points in six games in early March), but when he decides to coast it, he really coasts it (goose egg for the final 12 games to finish the season)! The Kings offense is revamped with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams and Simon Gagne, so it doesn’t really matter if Penner produces or not. Limited motivation plus a deep depth chart isn’t exactly a great situation for Penner heading into this season. I’d avoid at all costs.

 

Niklas Backstrom – Goalie – Minnesota

There is a pretty strong correlation between the quality of a team’s defense and the eventual stats that a goalie may produce. I don’t doubt Backstrom’s goaltending abilities, but what I do question is the defensive corps that going to be playing in front of him. A grouping of Marek Zidlicky, Greg Zanon, Nick Schultz, Clayton Stoner, Mike Lundin, and Marco Scandella isn’t exactly the scariest of defensive groupings in the league. The Wild may have improved on the offensive front with the additions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, but they didn’t get much help for Backstrom on the backend.

 

Niclas Bergfors – Right Wing – Nashville

Three seasons and four teams isn’t exactly a sure-fire sign to show that a player has what it takes to be a full-time NHLer. Nashville is a difficult place to judge. You have a scenario where they picked up a reclamation project and it turned out absolutely great (Sergei Kostitsyn). Then you have the opposite effect where you have a 0.64 point-per-game player get shafted by averaging a pitiful 11:20 per contest last season (J.P. Dumont). Barry Trotz isn’t exactly a player friendly coach, where he’ll nurture a player’s poor attitude. I just don’t see a lot of reward on gambling on a reclamation project with a high risk of failure.

 

M.A. Vlasic – Defenseman – San Jose

Despite averaging close to 21 minutes and nearly one minute of PP time per contest last campaign, Vlasic gave his owners a whopping 18 points in 80 contests. The thing that really intrigues me is that he did have an offensive edge. During his final season in juniors with the Remparts he tallied a ridiculous 102 points in 89 contests including playoffs. But none of that has translated to the NHL level as he maintains just a 0.28 point-per-game pace in San Jose. With Brent Burns entering the fray with the Sharks, Vlasic’s fantasy value is essentially zilch heading into this campaign. You won’t find him on my fantasy radar in 2011-12.

 

Blues Forward Corps. – St. Louis

As mentioned on the DobberNation radio show, I just don’t trust that any of the Blues’ players are really going to have that spectacular of a season this year. They boast one of the deepest lineups in the league, with 10 forwards that have at least hit the 40-point plateau within the last two seasons. What’s probably going to happen is that the ice-time is going to be shared (fairly equally), amongst the forwards where everyone will pretty much average 14 minutes a game on even strength, then a select few will have a roulette-style turn at the power-play. I would not be completely surprised to see the top-six forwards score right around the 50-55 point mark, and then four more at the 40-45 point clip. If you’re happy with that type of production then definitely roll the dice with one of the Blues at the draft table, but if you’re expecting point-per-game (80 point production) then I’d be wary.

 

Keith Ballard – Defenseman - Vancouver

The Nucks essentially have five, quality defenseman in the mix for PP ice-time, but only enough roster spots for four. You would have to think that Alex Edler should have first dibs then Sami Salo (if he can stay healthy), and the cavalry should be Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis, which leaves Ballard out in the cold. In 65 contests last campaign, he averaged just 15:54 overall and 0:12 on the PP per contest. The departure of Ehrhoff should help a little bit, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to really propel him into fantasy worthiness.

 

Stay Away From These Murky Goaltending Situations:


Jimmy Howard/Ty Conklin - Detroit

I’m going to go out on a limb on this one and pick a tandem out of left field. Generally speaking Detroit goalies are always going to be over-valued at the draft table because of the situation that they play in. Last campaign, Howard was on average drafted right after the “big four” of Ryan Miller, Roberto Luongo, Martin Broduer and Henrik Lundqvist, which he then rewarded owners with a 2.79 GAA (36th amongst all eligible goalies), and .908 save percentage (33rd amongst the same cohort). If you went with a safer pick like Ilya Bryzgalov, Pekka Rinne or M.A. Fleury you would have been much better off. The last time that Conklin suited up for the flying wheels, he posted a 25-11-2 record with a respectable 2.51 GAA and .909 save percentage, so I wouldn’t be surprised that if Howard struggles, Conks gets a fair crack at the number one gig.

 

Mike Smith/Jason LaBarbera - Phoenix

Dave Tippet’s defensive scheme will certainly help out these two journeymen goalies, but with that said both of them are still at the end of the day “journeymen” goalies. If they were any good, you would think that they would have secured a number one gig somewhere by now. The Yotes offensive isn’t going to steal them very many games, which means that Smith and LaBarbera will need to steal them on their own. You might have more confidence in Smith or LaBarbera, but I certainly don’t.

 

Nikolai Khabibulin/Devan Dubnyk - Edmonton

The Bulin wall is coming off the worst season of his career a 10-32-4 record with a 3.40 GAA and .890 save percentage isn’t exactly the going to beam confidence into the eyes of fantasy poolies. Dubnyk showed a few glimpses of being a number one goalie in the NHL, but he needs a much better defensive corps in front of him in order to really put up numbers that would help out a fantasy team. I certainly wouldn’t head into the season with an expectation of owning either of these two goalies.

 

Questions or comments? Like always I’ll be ready and willing to discuss them with you in the comments section below.


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Comments (21)add comment

Ross10019 (Santo Manna) said:

ross10019
Eriksson The only concern I had about Eriksson's season last year was his SOG totals dropping to an unacceptable level for such a great fantasy winger. If he plays with Ribeiro this year, who is a pass-first centerman (as opposed to Richards, who is a big shooter), you could see Eriksson's SOG totals soar to the 3 SOG/game. That's what I'm banking on. I own him, and I am not selling due to any concern of a Richards-related dropoff, this guy's too good to have that happen - future Selke winner good.
September 01, 2011
Votes: +0

Bender said:

baconnol
Backlund I see your point, but not counting 1 game he averaged 15:30 min in the last month of the season. I would think Stajan is already below him on the depth chart so moving Langkow seems like a sign that they believe in Backlund instead of the opposite.
August 31, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Stempniak/Backlund

Stempniak played a little bit of center in PHX. With the depth at C in Calgary not saying he'll be a full-time center, but he has the ability to play center so I could see him getting a few shifts there during the season.

Backlund, poolies have been saying for years that he won't get shafted and that he's the future of the Flames... a few years have gone now and we're still waiting for him to crack more than 13 mins a game.

At the end of the day if they really wanted him to take a top-six role, they wouldn't have signed Jokinen to a 2-year deal. They wouldn't have given Tanguay a 5-year deal. They wouldn't have given Stajan a 4-year deal. They wouldn't have re-signed Morrison. So I mean they've consistently just chucked roadblocks in front of him to really c***block his development. So you really think that they've done all of these shrewd moves to really give him a top-six role?

With young kids of the future you need to give them the time to develop properly, and not just stick them in bottom-six role and let them "develop" their defensive games...

There are plenty of people like yourself that's going to take a leap of faith on him and expect the moon, I'm just going to take the high road and invest my pick on someone else.
August 31, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Ryan

1) Definitely could happen, but I'm not going to assume that that's exactly what's going to happen. I'd want to see if happening before I take a leap of faith on him that he's the type of player that can generate his own offense.

2) Defensively I think they're sound. Tippett has always gotten his teams through with defense. The thing for me is they've lost Fiddler and Belanger who are great at the faceoff dot. Generally speaking you control the dot you have possession and you can dictate the game. Hanzal and Turris aren't great FW centers, so you lose an defensive faceoff and you could easily be fishing the puck out of the back of your own net. Langkow should help, but losing Fiddler and Belanger hurts. I wouldn't mind taking Smith as like a filler 3rd goalie, but I wouldn't depend on him as a 2nd to carry my fantasy team.

3) Yeah I focused these article mostly on 1 year leagues, so value just for this year. Rankings change from year to year. Perry was an undervalued underrated player last season, he's a do not touch player this year. So it's more for 1-year leagues than keeper leagues.
August 31, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Eriksson

The thing is you can't really ignore the fact that so many of his points occurred when Richards was on the ice with him.

Is he capable of putting up points himself? Definitely, but the thing for me is would it be at the same clip as if he didn't have Richards? That I don't have an answer for. The only way we're going to tell is to see for ourselves this season when he doesn't have Richards with him. I mean he can certainly prove me and a lot of other doubters wrong, but I'm not willing to dive head-first and assume him to produce the same numbers with Richards as without.
August 31, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Perry

Realistic, certainly... likely? I don't know.

Honestly it was just a bit of a perfect storm for him last year, great shooting percentage. PPP was on fire, click on all cylinders. Even if he slips say 2-3 percent of his shots, you're looking at even a 5 to 10 goal drop... He isn't really a passing guy, so it's not like he's going to make it up with assists.

The thing is you're in a keeper league so there's not much you can do about it now except trade him... but if you are in a 1-year league, I would be really hesitant to draft him after the big 4, and bypass the Sedins, and probably the goalies... Just too much risk involved IMO. First round picks need to pay off for you, you can't really blow that one up and expect to win.
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Seabrook

The departure of Campbell probably hurts him to be honest... If you look at his ice-time, it's already 24:23 and 2:39 on the PP, so he really isn't going to pick up the ice-time that Campbell left behind. I don't think he's built to average 30 mins a game...

What could possibly happen is that they brought in Montador and O'Donnell, to perhaps take away some of the SH time that Keith and Seabrook had. So if they save their tank from those type of situations and put them more on the PP, then you could possibly argue that he maintains status quo, but I wouldn't necessarily say that Campbell leaving is a reason for improvement...

Keep in mind, I'm not saying avoid him. I'm saying 48 points is a pretty good feat, and he's going to be overvalued at the draft table. I haven't partaken on any mock drafts just yet, so I don't know what his draft ranking actually is. But I'm guess he's a bit over-rated. So I'm just trying to make that point of not to over-value what he really is.
August 30, 2011
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Penner

One of the things that will be in Penner's favour is motivation. But I think he's one of those guys that doesn't really take it by the bull's horns. He kinda does his thing, if it works it gives him more drive, but when it doesn't, he's happy to coast through.

Contract year should be in his favour, but the thing that probably is 10 times worst is the depth chart.

Kopitar, Brown, Williams, Richards, Gagne are 5 quality names that should be ahead of him on the scoring front. Then you chuck a decent cavalry of Parse, Stoll and Loktionov, and it suddenly becomes even more chockers in terms of scoring.

I would honestly not be surprised if he tallied just 40 points this season.
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
... RE: Positive Comments

Thanks for the positive comments. They're always greatly appreciated!
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Bender said:

baconnol
Backlund Disagree on Backlund, no way he goes back to a 3rd/4th line role. Isn't Stempniak a winger? Feaster said he made this trade due to their depth at center, so why grab another center?
August 30, 2011
Votes: +1

Mac Vincent said:

dmvincent
Well done Ryan It looks like you share the same opinions as me on most of these players. Great article! I look forward to competing against you in the Rocky Horror Roto Show! I especially share your views on Backstrom, Nash, Perry and Eriksson.
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Lenethen said:

DarthVain
3 points. Only 3 comments. I agree with most of the analysis.

1) Loui Eriksson - The same could be said for Richards. Also with his departure Loui could see even more responsibility. I'm not convinced that he is such a liability.
2) While I agree 100% and I am not a fan of either Smith/Labarbera, unlike Backstrom not only does Pho play a good 2 way defensive system which will help them, but they also have a decent defensive corps in front of them. I expect they may surprise some with the help of the defence essentially carrying them.
3) Also agree 100% with Bulin Wall and Dubnyk, however could be seen as a long term opportunity than a short term liability. In a keeper you can probably pick up Dubnyk for peanuts and have a decent chance to have a free starter for next year...
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Eriksson Kraftster >> I've done the math. It is on DobberHockey... but you'll have to use your powers to find out what thread it is in.

Try last year's game logs. Find the games in which Eriksson played and Richards did not. Compare Eriksson's non-Richards PPG to the Eriksson's with-Richards PPG. You may not like what you find.
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Kraftster said:

Kraftster
Eriksson I'm amazed how much people are buying into the percentage of Eriksson's points coming when playing with Richards argument against him. Neal - Richards - Eriksson, as a line, played together more consistently than most other lines in the league the past couple of seasons. How does anyone expect Eriksson to get his points when he's not on the ice -- most of the times he was out there it was with Richards. In order for that argument, which we've seen for two years now, to carry any weight, someone's going to have to analyze for me Eriksson's production per time on ice with and without Richards for me to take anything out of this. I've yet to see anyone do that, just assumptions that it must be because of Richards that Eriksson has put up the points that he has the past two seasons. At the end of the day, the most important point is that Loui Eriksson is absolutely capable (from a talent perspective) of registering the point totals that he has with a different center. He may very well see his production fall this year, but it will not be because he was riding Richards' coattails, it will be because he has to develop chemistry with two new linemates.
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

jacques oeuf said:

hammer2003
... Great hit/miss ratio from last years column. I have to admit I mocked you after last year's column for what I thought was patting yourself on the back for a pretty dismal record from the year before. But credit where credit is due - you nailed it last year!
August 30, 2011
Votes: +1

Christian Bergeron said:

cbergeron
Perry Great article once again!

I agree that there will be much hype on Perry this season. I have Perry in my keeper league (I'm very pleased about that smilies/smiley.gif so what should I expect in terms of point production this season? I personnally expect 90pts coming out of him given the strength of the 1st line in Anaheim. Realistic?
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

mick said:

hawkdog
... good article as usual!

I would just like to note that with the departure of Campbell in Chicago, I can see Seabrook possibly repeating last year's effort or close to it.
August 30, 2011
Votes: -1

gerbernomics said:

gerbernomics
penner i think penner has motivation. because he doesn't have a contract for next season. i also think his physical preparation has been a lot better this year than in previous years. but i'm not expecting more than 50 pts out of him, anything more is gravy.
August 30, 2011 | url
Votes: +0

steve laidlaw said:

metaldude26
Penner This guy is one of my absolute favourites to rag on but having had to eat my hat at the hands of his one good season I must concede there is some upside here particularly with LW a startlingly thin position this year. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm actively going after Penner but I'd certainly consider allowing him within my Ten-Foot circle. Here's why: He's in a contract year. As you alluded to motivation is a huge issue with Penner. Even in his big season in Edmonton he only brought it for half the season. Nothing makes an athlete focus more than that big contract season though. He's been well compensated while producing very little. If he wants to remain at that level of compensation he needs to back it up. Last time he was in a contract year he scored 29 goals for a similarly stacked Ducks squad in 2006-07 while averaging only 14 minutes per contest.

It isn't a stretch by any means of the imagination to say that he could post a 30-25 season. 30-25 is not a far cry from what he did last season and would certainly have value to poolies at the LW position.

Again, I agree with your sentiments here and far be it for me to criticize someone else's work cuz you always do fine stuff here Ryan but that was just one thing I noticed that could flip back on you. A motivated Penner is useful Penner and let's face it, there's no telling what lengths a player will go to maximize their value in a contract year.
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

UKflames said:

UKflames
Nice list I like it when I read a list of players to avoid and i have none of themsmilies/cheesy.gif
August 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
I'm really getting tired of... throwing compliments at Ma's articles... but... I agree with pretty much all of the picks here. It's like you are in my mind, man.

Great work.
August 30, 2011
Votes: +2
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