Geek of the Week returns with a look at players who are set to bounce back


I hope everybody has enjoyed their summer and is excited for the upcoming NHL season as I am. The Sunday Geek of the Week articles will be back up and running for the 2013-14 season and I am excited to help provide some insight into some of the great fantasy hockey value you can find using Fantasy Hockey Geek.


One of the great things about FHG, is that you can set-up your rankings to be based on a number of different data sets. You can use historical values from previous NHL seasons, Dobber’s predictions for the upcoming season and you can even use your own customized projections. Using this functionality, a common thing I like to do heading into a draft is look for some potential rebound players – guys who have proven to be very valuable in the past, but are coming off of a down year and consequently may be undervalued by rival GMs. With the help of FHG and the Dobber projections, I easily find 10-20 such guys each season. Today I will share three with you that I personally like for 2013-14:


Overall FHG Ranking
Player 2011-12 2013 Dobber's Proj.
Scott Hartnell 11 250 44
Michael Del Zotto 64 107 67
Milan Lucic 57 143 70



In order to do the analysis, I run my league through three different scenarios:

I use FHG to calculate the players value based on the 2011-12 season
I use FHG to calculate the players value based on the 2013 season
I use FHG to calculate the players value based on Dobber’s projections for the upcoming season.

When I chart these three scenarios out, it is really easy to identify some players who are going to be undervalued in most leagues. Let’s take a look at my examples:
(Today’s examples are based on a Yahoo! standard 12 team H2H league measuring G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, PIM)

You can see in each of the above examples that the player had a disappointing 2013 season in comparison to their 2011-12 performance. You can also see though, that based on Dobber’s projections for the coming season the players’ values should all rebound nicely in the coming year. Here’s a deeper look at each player and why you might buy into their likely impending bounce-back.



Michael Del Zotto


MDZ is near the top of my list because I strongly believe that he is a candidate to not only bounce back, but to exceed his previous best career year. In 2011-12 FHG calculates Del Zotto as having been the 64th most valuable player. Last season however, his value slipped to 107th according to FHG. More notably, he fell all the way to 191st in the Yahoo! rankings, which can be a decent general indicator of public perception.



Why did he slip?

    • The number one reason Del Zotto’s value slipped last season was his goal total dropped from 10 to 3 (a five goal pace). This is directly related to his shooting % dropping from 8.9% to 3.7%.

      Another factor that didn’t help Del Zotto was the fact that his average powerplay time fell from 4:11 to 2:54. Despite this fact, MDZ impressively maintained the same PPP pace year over year.

Why will he bounce back?

  • The goal total should improve for Del Zotto based on the shooting % as outlined above. Expect him to come closer to at least 0.7


    The coaching change could have a strong impact on Del Zotto’s performance. Vigneault has shown that he likes to give his offensive players plenty of offensive zone starts and he expects his defensemen to join the rush.



The 2013-14 Yahoo! rankings and draft analysis aren’t out yet, but it seems very possible that you will be able to draft MDZ after the top 100. If you are able to do that and he repeats his performance from last year, you will still be getting fair value for your pick so MDZ is a very low risk investment. If he manages to return closer to his 2011-12 form then you will have managed to get some great value with your pick. To top it all off, MDZ has upside beyond his previous years’ performance and even above what Dobber has predicted for this season. If he were to reach that upside this year, then you have an absolute gem of a pick. Minimal risk – huge upside? Yes Please!



Milan Lucic


Prior to last season, Looch had consistent seasons of 62 and 61 points. Last year, he slowed down to a 48 point pace, causing his value to fall all the way to an FHG calculated 143rd.



Why did he slip?

Much like Del Zotto, Lucic’s shooting % took a dive last season. He converted only 8.9% of his shots into goals last season compared to a career average of almost 15%. If you apply his career shooting % to his last season shot totals he would have scored 12 goals (21 G pace) as opposed to the seven that he actually netted.

Boston’s powerplay fell from the 15th most efficient in 2011-12 all the way down to 26th last season. In addition to this, Jaromir Jagr was cut into Lucic’s PP time. The result was a meager two powerplay points on the season for Lucic.

It is quite possible that all of the trade rumors, different line combinations etc. affected Lucic. His role was less defined last season and it may have affected him





Why will he bounce back?

  • Some, if not all of the negative factors from last season should be removed. He should improve on his career worst shooting percentage and I believe Boston’s powerplay will improve (there’s nowhere to go but up). The addition of Eriksson and the emergence of Hamilton/Krug should help in this regard.

    Boston has lost Horton, Jagr and Seguin but replaced them with Eriksson and Iginla. That’s three top-6 players outgoing and only two incoming. This translates into more opportunity for Lucic, because regardless of whether he is on L1 or L2 – he will be on a line that will produce.

    In 22 playoff games Lucic had 19 points (71 point pace), demonstrating that his regular season scoring woes may already be well behind him.

    Despite the point dip last season, Lucic’s peripherals remained solid. If he can bump his production back up in the coming season, he will be worth considerably more than he was just last season.




Based on Dobber’s projections, Lucic could be worth drafting as high as the 6th round. I wouldn’t do that though, I would try to steal him in the 8th and enjoy the extra value.



Scott Hartnell

Scott Hartnell’s massive multi-cat performance in 2011-12 had him going in the second round of drafts prior to last season.  He was the 11th most valuable player in 2011-12 and tumbled all the way to 250th last season.  Of the three players I am profiling today, Hartnell is probably the most volatile. He has a very high ceiling (in terms of fantasy value) depending on how things play out in Philadelphia, but since so much of his production depends on opportunity – he does carry some risk



Why did he slip?


An early season injury completely derailed Hartnell’s season. He only had one point in three games prior to the injury but he had a respectable 13 SOG and 13 PIM. After returning from injury, Hartnell was not able to “get right” again, he bounced between lines and struggled to find his game.


He only had three assists in 32 games. Playing on a team with the skill that Philadelphia has, you would almost have to try to reach a number that low. I mean, even Mike Knuble had more.


Philadelphia had a terrible season in general. Their goals per game dropped from 3.17 in 2011-12 to 2.75 last season and Hartnell suffered for it.


His career year in 2011-12 was likely unsustainable anyway, so a regression was to be expected, but just not to the extent that it did happen.


Why will he bounce back?


I believe that Philadelphia will bounce back – they have too much talent. Even if their goaltending doesn’t’ get sorted out and they miss the playoffs, they will score a ton of goals along the way.


Hartnell is presumably healthy going into this season. Prior to last year, he had five straight seasons playing over 80 games so injuries shouldn’t be a huge concern in the upcoming campaign.


He is unlikely to match the 37 goals from two seasons ago, but Hartnell has been a very consistent contributor outside of last season and with his excellent peripherals he should provide good value even if he isn’t put into the prime position on the Giroux line.



Keep a real close eye on the Average Draft Position (ADP) stats for Hartnell when the numbers are available. I wouldn’t go drafting this guy in the top three rounds or anything, but if you see his ADP hanging somewhere in the 10-12 range then I would definitely “reach” for him and select him around the 8th or 9th. Don’t expect him to grab you 70 points, but if he can get you 50ish with his peripherals then he makes for a fantastic 8th or 9th selection.

These are just three examples of the many players out there that can easily be identified as bounce back players who you may be able to get on the cheap at your draft. To find some more of your own that are specific to your league, sign up for Fantasy Hockey Geek today!




Last three GotW articles:


What Went Wrong? What Did We Learn 
The 2013 All Geek Fantasy Hockey Team 
Alex Ovechkin: Geek of the Week 


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