Following the path from the last couple of years, here’s a list of some injury-riddled underachieving veterans from last campaign. Most pool providers, like Yahoo!, generally base their pre-season draft rankings on the overall stats posted from the previous season, which could lead many of the following players to be severely undervalued heading into 2012-13. 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.


Nicklas Backstrom – C – Washington Capitals

Backstrom was on pace for a great rebound season while posting 44 points in 42 games before succumbing to concussion issues in January. The Caps altered their approach into more of a defensive emphasis under Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter, but could possibly revert back to a more offensive game plan under new head coach Adam Oates (who was in charge of the Devils PP unit last campaign). Backstrom definitely should be ranked much higher than his current 51st average draft position that Yahoo! drafts are giving him credit for. 


Andy McDonald – C/LW – St. Louis Blues

McDonald only managed to suit up for 25 contests last campaign as he was hampered by concussion and shoulder issues. With that said, he did manage to tally 22 points in the regular season and capped it off by tallying 10 more in nine post-season contests. Injuries have always been a sticking point with McDonald, but if you can get beyond that fact, he does maintain a 0.81 point-per-game average during his time with the Blues. McDonald’s only been drafted in five percent of Yahoo! leagues, which is well below the numbers that he should be at.


Mike Green – D – Washington Capitals

It’s been a tough past couple of years for Green as he’s been decimated by injuries. It’s interesting to see how just two years ago he was largely considered a “must own” in pretty much all formats of fantasy hockey. However, two seasons later and he’s chopped liver and currently ranked as the 109th pick in Yahoo! drafts. It just highlights how fickle the game of fantasy hockey really is, go figure?  

Mikko Koivu – C – Minnesota Wild

Koivu only managed to post 44 points and 129 SOG last campaign, which isn’t surprising as a result to see him on average being drafted as the 156th pick in Yahoo! drafts. If you consider the fact that he posted those numbers in just 55 contests, that’s what makes him severely undervalued heading into this fantasy season. If you take into consideration the off-season acquisitions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, Koivu should definitely be much higher up in the draft order than the default Yahoo! rankings give credit for.   


Travis Zajac – C – New Jersey Devils

After registering five consecutive 80+ games played seasons, Zajac ended that streak when he sustained an Achilles injury in off-season pylometrics training last summer, which saw him manage to only suit up for 15 regular season contests. He returned with a bang while posting 14 points in 24 contests during the Devils great post-season run and shouldn’t be forgotten heading into draft day.    


David Perron – LW – St. Louis Blues

Perron missed the first two months of the season dealing with concussion issues, but when he did manage to return in December, he was absolutely lights out while posting 42 points in 57 contests. Armed with a new four-year deal, Perron should have a much bigger impact in fantasy leagues this campaign.


Tyler Ennis – LW – Buffalo Sabres

Ennis missed a large chunk of the 2011-12 season due to an ankle injury, but he still managed to post 34 points in 48 contests. The trio of Ennis, Marcus Foligno and Drew Stafford had some ripping chemistry in the latter half of the season, and if they can manage to rekindle that magic, they’re certainly are a line to keep a close watch for in 2012-13. Interesting fact: the Sabres were 27-13-8 with Ennis in the lineup, but were just 12-19-3 in his absence.     


Nathan Horton – LW – Boston Bruins

Concussions were rife in the NHL last season, and Horton was another victim of the dreadful head injury. The positive note is that although the injury sidelined him for nearly half the campaign, he did manage to post 32 points before being shut down. That’s great news for savvy poolies, as that dropped him down to a Yahoo! pre-season ranking of the 166th pick, making him a great late round steal. Make sure you move him up a few notches on draft day or he’ll fly under-the-radar.    


Martin Havlat – RW – San Jose Sharks

Not many people could attest to injuring themselves while exiting the team bench, but Havlat managed to pull off that feat managing to suit up for only 39 contests last campaign. Many poolies will shy away from Havlat’s band-aid boyness, but if you’re a gambler, he could be a great steal given his offensive upside. He’s only seven percent drafted in Yahoo! leagues at the moment and could be a vital player that makes you look like a genius come April.   


Alex Steen – LW – St. Louis Blues

Steen was another Blue that missed significant time due to concussion issues last campaign as he managed to post 28 points in 43 contests. He doesn’t possess as much upside as McDonald or Perron, but he could be worth snagging in deeper fantasy pools or as late round roster filler.


Jeff Carter – C – Los Angeles Kings

Carter registered just 34 points last campaign, which is his lowest ever total since becoming an NHL regular after the 2004 lockout. I don’t think he’ll garner the opportunity in LA that he needs in order to become a solid fantasy option, but his current ranking as the 43rd C in Yahoo! is drastically well below where he should be.   


Joni Pitkanen – D – Carolina Hurricanes

With strong pedigreed blue-liners like Justin Faulk, Joe Corvo, Jamie McBain and Bobby Sanguinetti as competition, it’s interesting to see how Pitkanen always seems to finish the season as the number one blue-liner in Carolina. During the last four seasons, he has averaged 25:18 and 4:11 on the PP per contest for the Canes. Pitkanen missed over 50 contests last season due to concussion and knee problems, which have dropped his Yahoo! rank down into the 140s. He won’t finish 2012-13 that low, so make sure you slide up him the draft ranks.    


James Wisniewski – D – Columbus Blue Jackets

Despite all of the negativity in Columbus in 2011-12, Wissy was actually one of the bright spots for the Jackets. He posted 27 points and 99 SOG in 48 contests, which would have pro-rated to 46 points and 169 SOG over the course of a full 82-game season and given him a top-20 rating amongst all blue-liners. Poolies can thank his suspension, broken ankle and concussion issues, which has dropped his pre-season ranking down to the 32nd ranked defenseman heading into the fantasy season.    


James Van Riemsdyk – LW – Toronto Maple Leafs

Brian Burke shuffled the deck in the off-season by swapping hard-nosed blue-liner Luke Schenn to the Flyers for JVR. You can consider this a “buy low” move since JVR managed to only suit up for 43 contests last campaign while dealing with a plethora of random injuries which included a concussion, a broken foot, a strained oblique and a strained rib. In his injury-shortened stint he did manage to post 24 points along with a whopping 121 SOG. If he can manage to maintain that type of production in Leafland, there’ll surely be plenty of happy Leaf fans in 2012-13.


Simon Gagne – LW – Los Angeles Kings

If you aren’t afraid of rolling the dice on band-aid boys, then Gagne is a pretty solid option to seriously consider. Since the lockout, Gagne has averaged 0.83 points and 3.28 SOG per contest, but the downside is that he also has averaged just 58.1 games played per season. If you’re running out of late-round options and don’t have very much to lose, why not take a punt on Gagne and see what he can surprise you with?  


M.A. Bergeron – D – Tampa Bay Lightning

There aren’t very many blue-liners that are serious threats to surpass the 40-point plateau but Bergeron is certainly one of them. The only downside is that much like a few of the candidates listed above, he is a huge band-aid boy risk. It’d be silly to expect him to play in a full 82-game season, but if you are in a Roto league with plenty of IR spots, and you are able to pair his starts with another blue-liner, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to piece together a 40 or even 50 point season if you can find the right combination.    


Peter Mueller – LW – Florida Panthers

Life hasn’t been all that rosy for Mueller since 2010 after experiencing on and off concussion-like symptoms. He’ll receive a fresh new start in Florida, which seems to have found the right formula for rejuvenating reclamation projects such as Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg, Brian Campbell, Mikael Samuelsson and Wojtek Wolski. He’s largely left undrafted in Yahoo! leagues, so if you’re looking for a boom or bust candidate to invest in look no further than Mueller.


Scott Gomez/Brian Gionta – C/RW – Montreal Canadiens

2011-12 wasn’t a great season for the double G’s in Montreal as the duo managed to combine for only 26 points and 69 games played last campaign. At the moment, even youngster Alex Galchenyuk, who hasn’t yet played a single NHL game, is on average being drafted higher than both of the seasoned veterans. There’s taking risks and then there’s taking calculated risks, consider selecting these two Habs in the latter half of the equation.   


Daniel Carcillo – LW – Chicago Blackhawks

Goons with the capability to combine for 30+ points, 70+ SOG along with 200+ PIMs is certainly a rarity in the NHL, but that is exactly the stat line that “Car Bomb Carcillo” is capable of. If it wasn’t for an right knee ACL tear in early January, that might have been the result that Carcillo could have posted at season’s end. If you’re looking for a cheap PIM option at the draft table, look no further than the Hawk LWer.       


Andrei Markov – D – Montreal Canadiens

Markov always seems to find himself in these types of lists, but always seems to tease us with his health. During the last three campaigns, he has on average suited up in just 21.7 contests per season for Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge. Montreal is extremely thin on the blue-line, and if Markov can finally manage to remain healthy, he could garner a large chunk of the offensive opportunity available from the backend. Just be warned that you are going to be playing with fire if you are deciding to take a leap of faith on the soon-to-be 34 year old.


Anders Lindback – G – Tampa Bay Lightning

Steve Yzerman desperately needed to add a number one goaltender to help alleviate some of the problems that occurred between the pipes last campaign, so he went out and acquired Lindback from the Preds during the off-season. Lindback appeared in only 16 contests while posting an unimpressive 5-8-0 record along with a run-of-the-mill 2.42 GAA and .912 SP, which has dropped him down as the 36th goalie on average taken at Yahoo! draft tables. Lindback does have a short resume, but does have the potential to challenge and overtake the number one gig away from Matheiu Garon, which could make him a real steal come April.

Wojtek Wolski – LW – Washington Capitals

The former first rounder definitely didn’t have a great season last year as he bounced around with a couple of clubs and only posted 12 points in 31 games played. The Caps signed him to a cheap as chips $600k one-year contract to prove himself with very little risk to the team. If he can manage to post 45-50 points, that would certainly help fill the void that was left by the departure of Alex Semin.  


Other notables: P.M. Bouchard, Mikael Backlund, Guillaume Latendresse, Jochen Hecht, Kristian Huselius, Cam Atkinson and Keith Ballard.


Are there any that I might have overlooked? Questions or comments? As always I’ll discuss them in the section below.


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Comments (13)add comment

Dakkster said:

... Heh smilies/smiley.gif

Huselius still hadn't been cleared by doctors yet, the last time I read anything about him a couple weeks ago.
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Huse He's still not signed yet, but given his injury risk and the new CBA, he probably won't be signed until after the start of the season. It probably won;t be with CLB since he's voiced his displeasure, plus I don;t think they need him anyway.

In a 22-teamer, definitely someone to consider gambling on...
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Fighting_Emu said:

... Nice list- some great options that probably arent getting a lot of press in the fantasy hockey world these days!

On the notables list- I say Huselius who is a guy that always intrigues me (in my very deep 22 team league.). Is he signed yetÉ I actually heard he was super pissed at Columbus and may not return to the NHL based on how they handled his injury...
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Yahoo! Rank Yeah I usually do them with the Under-Rated and Under-appreciated and Not With a 10-foot Pole pieces, but I traditionally leave them out of this one.

The "consider drafting him in ____ round" certainly has merit, but as you know drafts are always malleable, so it's hard to really pinpoint a round that you should take someone in... I mean like McDonald, he's in the same area as Stastny, Koivu, Zajac, Vinny... So he could go anywhere from round 10-15. If most of my competition already have their C's filled then I know I can wait till much later in order to snag McDonald. Or if Stastny, Koivu, Zajac and Vinny are still available I know I can wait at least 2-3 more rounds before diving into another C.

So I don't really want to put a round value on a certain player cause every draft is different.
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

New Name New Attitude? hahahah just kidding Sentium!

Those 4 are worth jumping on IMO, they weren't major structural injuries like a broken bone or ligament damage all of them are concussion victims which could be a good or bad thing... but well worth investing in.
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

aleco83 said:

Oh Marty... On Marty getting injured leaving the bench, still a leg up over Ottawa goalies, one gets injured sitting on the bench and the other knifes himself. Just as funny as seeing Quinn take one in the face.
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

... Started looking at the list and realized that I have Backstrom, Green, McDonald and Steen on my team. Looking forward to seeing what they can do this year smilies/smiley.gif Nice article, Ryan!
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

So good... always. Nothing but the best from you.
Love these.

Would love to see two extra lines under each name.
Yahoo Rank: ____
Consider jumping on him in Round ____ of a 12-team draft.

A+++++. Best fantasy hockey value on the interwebz!
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Undervalued... Jumped the gun on me, Rick... I usually write an undervalued and under-rated column, along with a Not With a 10-foot Pole column... which highlights guys who are undervalued at their draft position and those who are overvalued... I plan on doing those for my next 2...

This one was just a "reminder" for those who were hampered by injuries last season which has dropped their Yahoo! draft rankings.
September 07, 2012
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

Gomez Yeah just doubled checked, Gomez isn't even in the average draft rankings, and he's ranked 636 in Yahoo! O-Rank.

I wouldn't bend over backwards in order to try to land him, but he might not be a bad option just to roll the dice to fill out the roster.
September 07, 2012
Votes: +0

Shoeless said:

Slam dunk! Another top notch article Ryan. Kinda takes the fun out of drafts where all my co-managers are Dobberites though - guess that's your job, but jeez would ya leave something for us to play with? smilies/wink.gif

Some names I think might be undervalued by Yahoo are Stastny, Lecavalier, Voracek, Bieksa - for different reasons and maybe not by a lot but they might be caught a round later than they should go.
September 07, 2012
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

Gomez Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying go out and pay an arm and a leg for him, what I'm saying is that because he posted only 11 points last season, he's undervalued in draft rankings (sorry I'm at work and Yahoo! is blocked so I can't look up his actual ranking, but I would think it's really low and probably mostly in the undrafted), I'll post it once I get home. I mean would he be that much of a risk as a last round roster filler option?

Also if you look at the stats, he's posted 84, 60, 70, 58, 59, 38 and 11 points since the lockout... Also look at the SOG 244, 248, 242, 271, 180, 157 and 59, so I mean those aren't exactly terrible stats. Would you be all that surprised if he posted 55 points along with 175 SOG? Would that still be beneficial in fantasy leagues?

Also they have a new coach in Michel Therrien as well, who might change the dynamics of the offense and change it up a bit.

I mean you have to weigh out the options... If you went with the rookies last season, you might have landed Landy (52 points) and RNH (52) but they had plenty of hype that a lot of pools would have overreached in order to land them. If you could get similar production from someone who's being under-rated in the last round, wouldn't that just make your team better?

In a few mock drafts I've seen Yakupov and Galchenyuk go in rounds 8-10... I'm just saying why not save those picks for more "secure" options and take more of a "calculated risk" pick in the last rounds.

If they don't pan out, just drop them for a replacement, you wouldn't have missed out on much anyway...
September 06, 2012
Votes: +0

legault66 said:

... Scott GomeZZZ ??? Are you serious ??? C'mon man !!!
September 06, 2012
Votes: +2
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