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Season after season there’s always a list of players who just don’t tickle my fancy. This is for 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. Here’s the second set of my “not with a 10-foot pole” players this campaign.

 

Patric Hornqvist – RW- Nashville Predators


It’s not that I don’t like Hornqvist’s production, as he’s been pretty consistent over the last three seasons in terms of point production (around the 45-50 point range), plus he isn’t afraid of shooting the puck; registering 275, 265 and 230 SOG over that span. The big worry for me is the ice-time. Last season, he garnered just 15:19 per contest, which isn’t too far off the 15:43 and 15:41 that he garnered the two seasons prior. It seems to me that coach Barry Trotz has found the comfort zone for Hornqvist and I don’t think he’ll deviate from it. There’s only so much you can expect from a player that garners less than 16 mins a game.  

Adam Larsson – D- New Jersey Devils


There’s been plenty of offense vs. defense debates in the past couple of off-seasons with Victor Hedman vs. John Tavares and then there was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins vs. Adam Larsson. I guess now we know, for fantasy hockey purposes, which side of the fence you should lean towards. Young blue-liners need at least a couple of pro seasons under their belt before they can eventuate into fantasy studs, which is why I’m not touching Larsson with a 10-foot pole heading into drafts for this season.

 

Nino Niederreiter – RW- New York Islanders


El Nino turned out to be only a minor tropical storm, posting only a single point in 55 contests last season. The plus side is that he did manage to fire 74 SOG against opposing goalies, indicating that he isn’t entirely afraid of shooting the puck. He probably would have been better off spending a full year down in the minors rather than playing minimal minutes and having his confidence destroyed in the big leagues. With that said he does have six points in six contests with the Tigers in the AHL, but you have to ask yourself if you could handle another disappointing season with a fantasy team killing minus 18 rating? I know I couldn’t.      

 

Chris Kreider – C- New York Rangers


I had a bit of a tough time with this one so I just went with a gut feeling. With the acquisition of Rick Nash, I see the Rangers top-nine shaping into something like this:

 

Carl HagelinBrad RichardsMarian Gaborik

 

Rick NashDerek StepanRyan Callahan

 

Chris Kreider – Brian BoyleTaylor Pyatt

 

I debated a bit on whether Kreider or Hagelin will win out in the final top-six spot, and I went with the latter. One of the major reasons was that the trio of Hagelin, Richards and Gaborik were on fire for most of last season and there was some chemistry there. So I’m thinking coach John Tortorella will go back to the well once again. During the playoffs Hagelin averaged 16:45 per contest compared to Kreider’s 13:09, which shows that management and coaching staff might have more faith in Hagelin than Kreider. Even if I’m wrong in guessing the top-six, with the offensive depth that the Rangers have, Kreider at best might be looking at 35-45 points anyway. I wouldn’t worry too much about missing Kreider on my fantasy squad.    

 

Erik Karlsson – D- Ottawa Senators


If you’ve been following my columns in the off-season then you’re probably well aware of my thoughts on Karlsson. It’s not that I doubt his offensive abilities, but the numbers that he posted last campaign were so ridiculous (11.8 percent of the Sens’ point totals, 28 PPP and the Sens ranking fourth in the league in terms of goals scored) that they’ll be near impossible to repeat, let alone improve, heading into this season. Given his current draft ranking and how high he’s gone in a few fantasy leagues, he’s just not worth the high investment taking into account the risk involved. 

 

Claude Giroux – C- Philadelphia Flyers


Similar to Karlsson, I don’t question Giroux’s offensive ability, as I think he’s one of the games best and brightest. What I will question, is his current draft ranking and whether he’s worth the risk. Another year of similar production to last year and I’d be 100 percent ready and willing to take him at his current draft slot, but with such a small sample size, I don’t think I’d have the confidence to take that leap. Jaromir Jagr had a big impact on the point production from Giroux last season (54 out of the 94 points) and with the wily veteran moving onto greener pastures, I wonder if that will negatively affect Giroux somehow. 

 

Radim Vrbata – RW- Phoenix Coyotes


There isn’t really a Coyote that I wouldn’t want on my fantasy rosters, so I just went with a player who I thought will regress the most, which is Vrbata. He registered a career-high of 62 points last campaign with 50 of which coming when lining up alongside Ray Whitney (80/6 percent). Now that Whitney has moved on to the Stars, I don’t know if Vrbata will be able to repeat the pace that he set last season. He’s currently ranked above other right wings such as Jagr, Daniel Alfredsson, Shane Doan, Martin Erat, Blake Wheeler and Nathan Horton in Yahoo! draft rankings, however I would take any of them over Vrbata heading into this season.  

 

Pascal Dupuis – LW- Pittsburgh Penguins


Dupuis had a massive season in 2011-12 as he posted both career-highs in points (59) and SOG (214), but the only problem is when you compare those numbers to his previous three-year averages (34.3points and 157.7 SOG), it just highlights how over-inflated they really are.  His 55 even-strength points ranked him tied with Marian Gaborik for 10th overall in that department, which was higher than other “household names” like Henrik Sedin, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Claude Giroux, Henrik Zetterberg and Joe Thornton. I certainly wouldn’t be willing to bet any money that he could repeat those numbers for a second consecutive season.

     

Justin Braun – D- San Jose Sharks Braun


I could have gone with Martin Havlat with this pick, but that would have been too easy of a choice, so I decided to go with Braun instead. I know Angus is a big fan of Braun, but I beg to differ. With Dan Boyle and Brent Burns occupying the number one and two slots, then a bottom pairing of Douglas Murray and M.A. Vlasic, and throwing in recently returnee Brad Stuart, there’s really only one spot remaining on the blue-line. That leaves Jason Demers and Braun to duke it out for that final spot. If playoff numbers are any indication of the coaching staff’s trust then Demers should win out over Braun as he garnered more PP TOI (1:43 compared to 0:36). Another factor that might favour Demers over Braun is that the former is currently lighting up the SM-Liiga with 11 points in 15 contests, while the latter isn’t currently playing. 

 

Chris Stewart – RW- St. Louis Blues


I’ve been ragging on Stewart for the last couple of years and justifiably so. At the end of the day Stewart posted just 30 points along with 166 SOG last season. This is a far cry from the expectations that poolies had for him when selecting him at the draft table. Two of the key factors that determine a player’s point production potential are TOI (more specifically PP TOI) and team depth charts, neither of which is in Stewart’s favour heading into this season. During the regular season, Stewart averaged 15:26 of which 1:33 came on the PP. During the playoffs those numbers took a sharp dip as they dropped down to a miniscule 10:47 and 0:10. If you’re considering depth charts, Stewart has to compete with Andy McDonald, David Backes, Patrick Berglund, T.J. Oshie, David Perron, Alex Steen, Matt D’Agostini, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz for playing time, so it’s unlikely that he’ll receive anything more than 15-16 minutes per game. How productive can Stewart really be with both of those factors severely limiting him?     

 

Victor Hedman – D – Tampa Bay Lightning


Following along the same lines as Larsson above, I just don’t have a lot of trust in young blue-liners this early in their NHL careers. They generally have a lot of hype when they are drafted, but there’s a major offensive lull between their draft years until they hit about 25-28 where they begin to enter their prime. What also doesn’t help the situation is Tampa added a couple of offensive veterans in Matt Carle and Sami Salo into the blue-line mix, which forces Hedman further down the depth charts. He’s just not worth the headaches that are attached; bypass him at the draft table.   

 

James Reimer/Ben Scrivens – G- Toronto Maple Leafs


The Leafs ranked second last in the league in terms of goals allowed (3.19) to opposition teams and they haven’t really addressed the issue in the off-season by signing any replacements. Add that to the fact that the Roberto Luongo rumors have been swirling about him joining the Leafs once the season commences, I’m not going to enter the season depending on Riemer or Scrivens between the pipes for my fantasy squad. 

    

Keith Ballard – D – Vancouver Canucks


With the money that Ballard is making, surely you would think that the Canucks would utilize him in a much more efficient role. If you take a look at the depth charts, with Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison, at best Ballard is fifth on the Vancouver defensive depth charts. This pretty much guarantees that he’ll have little to no fantasy value in that role. He averaged just 15:33 per contest and 12 seconds on the PP, and I wouldn’t expect anything more than that this season. 

 

Michal Neuvirth/Braden Holtby – G- Washington Capitals


This situation is very similar to the Toronto situation, but the positive is that the Caps actually have some form of a respectable defensive unit in front of their goalies. The drawback is I don’t know who will settle in as the number one goalie? It could go 50/50, it could be 70/30 leaning towards Neuvirth’s favour, or it can go the other end and lean 70/30 for Holtby. With that much uncertainty it’s just darn near impossible to try to predict what’s going to happen, and the only way to solve that problem is to burn two roster slots and snag both of the goalies as a handcuff to cover your bases. It’s just not worth it in my opinion and I wouldn’t touch this situation with a 10-foot pole.   

 

Evander Kane – LW- Winnipeg Jets


There’s nothing majorly wrong with Kane from a fantasy standpoint, but I’m just not in favour of how he approaches the professional game. There have been numerous reports of him having a “schoolboy attitude” to hockey. He signed with a KHL team during the lockout, then had his coach blast him for being out of shape and not ready for professional action. Add that to the fact that he basically held the Jets ransom in holding out for a “better contract” and numerous reports of him being benched by his coach for playing unmotivated hockey. These are just a couple of negative reasons why I wouldn’t want him on my fantasy team. On a numbers front, he’s never averaged more than 18 minutes overall per contest and has sat around the 2:15 PP TOI mark the last two seasons, which isn’t enough to get him into the “next” level. The PIM, hits and SOG are a nice bonus, but his value decreases by a lot if you’re only playing in standard setting leagues.

 

Any players that you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole? Question or comments are always greatly welcomed below.

 

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Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Kreider Definitely, I was really torn about Hagelin vs. Kreider, I probably spent a good night mulling it over and looking at the numbers and facts. You could very well be right.

The thing with looking at "series" as opposed to the "big picture" could be dangerous as well. With the Jersey series, that's only a small sample size, and only Torts truly knows why Kreider was given a bigger responsibility over Hagelin in that series. My speculation is maybe because it was a physical series and Torts wanted size and physicality of Kreider (for matchups against Parise/Elias/Kovalchuk) over Hagelin's finesse game? Generally speaking during "regular season" hockey, teams tend to lean more towards offense and getting the extra goals as opposed to "winning the game" and protecting the lead. That to me leans more towards Hagelin in the regular season than Kreider.

But I've been wrong before and will be wrong again down the track, and this could be one of those times when we look back at it in 12 months time.
November 02, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Blues Forward Corps Yeah I always chuck that in hahahaha.

But I think this year could be a bit different. There's a few that I would still draft because of their draft ranking and how Hitch uses them.

McDonald is one. I think he's rising above the rest of the forwards, while most of the others are toiling around the 17-18 min mark, Hitch plays McDonald 20+ in most games, so he's one that I'd definitely would look into drafting. Backes if you're after the PIM, SOG, +/- isn't a bad option as well. But I wouldn't expect 60+ points anymore... Perron I'm also 50/50 about too... I might take him as a last-round flier if he's still available, but I wouldn't spend anything higher than that on him.
November 02, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Stewart Yeah I definitely agree with you, it depends on what you treat him as... If you're looking for him to become an "all around" guy like he was in Col, then I'd rethink that. But if you want to think of him as a glorified "goon" like a Dorsett, Clarkson type who could chip in 30 points of offense with 100 PIM and 100 SOG, then by all means use that as a fair comparison.

But don't treat him as a 50-pointer with the depth that the Blues have.

November 02, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Giroux Depends on league settings but for me I go Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Giroux...

The factor for me is Giroux doesn't have the history yet of Crosby, Malkin or Ovechkin, so that to me is a huge risk. I mean what if he regresses to 75 points, like how Perry did? How many poolies drafted Perry in their first round and end up winning a title? Injury risk is a bit hard to predict, I mean unless they're a Havlat or Gabby type, who are consistent BAB, it's hard to predict concussion injuries... With Giroux, the only way to go is down really... I mean there isn't very many 100+ point players these days, so it's not like there's lots of players to say yeah there's a lot of room for him to improve...

Also the Jagr factor is a big one for me. From the games I watched last season, they played like the Sedin twins always knowing where each other were, and there was so much chemistry... And realistically speaking who did they replace him with? or are going to replace him with? Voracek, Simmonds? Read? Which is why I'm kinda skeptical about drafting him at say the 4 slot? I'd feel much more confident grabbing a Quick or Lundy at that slot that Giroux.

With Crosby, Malkin, they all have that security factor that even if they miss games they still can post numbers well beyond point-per-game. So let's say Crosby misses 40 games, he'd still post 65-70 points in 42 games... If you find a IR replacement that posts 30 points in 42 games, you've got a combined total of 95-100 points from that C slot anyways. What would it take for Giroux to securely get to 100?

Ovechkin is a bit of a debate, but I'm in the camp of thinking he'll rebound back to the good ol days under Oates. So I'm a bit bias there. If anything his 38 goals and 300+ SOG also gives him a slight edge too (goals generally harder to come by than assists).

November 02, 2012
Votes: +0

Fast Tony DeNiro said:

Fast Tony DeNiro
Kreider First off I agree with what you say about Kreider. He's getting a lot of hype for a handful of games last spring. But there was one thing you mentioned comparing him with Hagelin that I take some issue with.

You mention Hagelin garnered more ice time in the playoffs and use it as "proof" (lack of a better term) that Rangers management values him more. For the entire playoffs yes Hagelin got more ice time. But in the New Jersey series, which was New York's last series and probably most relevant to the discussion, Kreider had more ice time than Hagelin, and was playing with Stepan and Callahan I believe.

I do think Kreider will get the first crack in the top 6 over Hagelin. Will he make the most of it? That's the question, but judging from the faith Tortorella especially showed in Kreider last spring he should get the first chance.
November 02, 2012
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

Maaaasquito
Green He's one of my favourites this year, I've been touting him all off-season. Great buy-low candidate, at his current draft position, very little risk IMO.

Like you mentioned, injury risk is probably the biggest concern, but because of his upside, I'm happy to roll the dice once in awhile...

I mean the way I look at it is if you are to win a league say 12-14 teamer, the ones that get you over the edge is the breakout players, like nabbing Karlsson last year, Perry the year before... Rarely do you win a league if you just had the run-of-the-mill stars.

If I take say Edler over Green, Edler basically keeps pace with everyone else's D... He won't give me an edge over my competition. Green has the potential to put me over the edge being a top fantasy D option.

That's the way I approach green...
November 02, 2012
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

November 02, 2012
Votes: +0

aleco83 said:

aleco83
... You forgot a few players, namely the entire Blues forward corps.
November 02, 2012
Votes: +1

jacques oeuf said:

hammer2003
... Good list, although I think Chris Stewart's perceived value has fallen so much by now that in many leagues he is an interesting buy-low candidate, especially roto leagues taht count PIMs.
November 02, 2012
Votes: +1

hawkdog said:

hawkdog
great article Curious about your comments on Giroux and risk. Do you think the risk of Giroux not repeating is higher than the risk of Crosby or Malkin getting hurt again or Ovie not returning to form? Its all a gamble really just curious.
Just curious where you would rank him?
November 02, 2012
Votes: +0

buck0198 said:

buck0198
Mike Green What are your thoughts on Green?

I personally wouldnt draft him because regardless if Oates returns the Caps to a more run n gun style I think he is an injury risk, hes soft and often seems unmotivated to me as well. Only time will tell I guess..
November 02, 2012
Votes: +1

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Yes. Gosh... great list again.
Nothing to argue from me, well done.
November 02, 2012
Votes: +1
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