The Case Against the Small Guys

Dobber Sports

2011-07-04

Ellis

Small prospects need not apply.

Picking fantasy prospects is risky enough without drafting undersized players.  Undersized means any player 5'10 and under, who doesn't have the frame to reach at least 190 pounds. These criteria would still encourage you to draft stocky players like Derek Roy, Marc Savard, Kimmo Timmonen, Mark Recchi and Brian Rafalski who all reached at least 190 pounds in the NHL.

 

These criteria would not however, encourage drafting exceptional small players including Pat Kane, Martin St. Louis , Daniel Briere and Tobias Enstrom. These are the few exceptions to the rule. The important thing to note is how rare these players are and how many picks you would have to waste on other small players before drafting gems like Kane or St .Louis?

Why not draft undersized prospects? First, small prospects take forever to make the NHL. Most are late round draft picks that have to prove themselves at every level.  Just ask the guy who drafted Kris Russell (me) in his keeper league how long it takes for a return on his investment. He's still waiting.  So is the guy who drafted Ryan Ellis who won't put up any fantasy worthy points for at least two seasons. As for the undersized players drafted in the first round, where is Thomas Hickey? Where is Zach Boychuk (me again)? Where is Mattias Tedenby? Where is Jordan Schroeder?

Boychuk and Tedenby may still be viable fantasy options, but they took longer than their peers to reach the NHL and will likely take longer to play consistently in part because of their small frames. This is particularly pertinent to poolies with small farm teams.

Second, and most importantly, smaller players tend to be inconsistent from year to year.  Why? Because undersized players tend to get injured more than average-sized NHL'ers.  One look at Dobber's list of Band-Aid Boys makes the risks of drafting smaller players abundantly clear. Marek Svatos, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Kyle Wellwood are all Certified Band-Aid Boys. Band-Aid trainees include Steve Sullivan, Sergei Samsonov, Andy McDonald, Daymond Langkow, Saku Koivu, Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, Mike Comrie and the aforementioned Daniel Briere.

Briere and Sullivan are two perfect examples of why you don't want your star players to be undersized. Pools are lost when top players suffer season ending injuries. If you're want to win your pool, make sure your players don't have a history of injuries and you can make this easy on yourself by staying away from smaller prospects altogether. Does this mean not to draft any smaller prospects? No, but like drafting Russians, strictly limit their numbers on your roster. It's just not worth it.