Time to Downgrade – Part 2

Rick Roos

2013-04-29

RyanCallahan

 

 

 

 

Roos takes a look at declining forwards who should no longer be considered 60-point players

In last week's column,  I looked at forwards who should no longer be projected to score 75+ points in a season during their career, as this is a great time of year to identify guys to finally write off as never being able to achieve a certain level of production – what I call the "time to downgrade" guys. There were lots of great comments and good debates in response to last week’s Part 1 article, so hopefully that momentum will carry into this week, when in Part 2 we look at several forwards who should now be ruled out as 60+ point scorers.

 

In today's fantasy hockey landscape, 60 points is an important threshold, since for most leagues it represents someone who's generally productive enough to leave in your line-up on a daily basis throughout the season. It might be tempting to think you don't have to focus too much on this level of player, but remember that at the end of the day it's just as bad to have a guy you counted on to score 60+ points only end up with 45-50 points as it is for a 75+ point guy to only give you 60-65 points. So it's important to identify – and avoid – players like the six discussed below.


Forwards who will never be 60+ point producers


Bryan Little

It's impossible to ignore how hot the Winnipeg top line of Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, and Bryan Little were in the last quarter of this abbreviated season. I'll be honest in that I've never been a fan of Little, but even I was genuinely surprised to see that despite the remarkable success of the other guys on the line (Ladd in the top 20 of league scoring, Wheeler in the top 30), Little has yet again underperformed by finishing the season with a mere 32 points in 48 games, which has him down around 75th in league scoring and projects to a pace of only 55 points over a full season.

It's not an exaggeration to say that Little's situation in Winnipeg literally could not have been better over the past two seasons. This year in particular he's playing just under 20 minutes per game, with over 60% of his even strength shifts with Ladd and Wheeler (and over 15% with just Ladd) according to Frozen Pool, plus 2:32 on the power play per game, with about 90% next to Ladd (60% with Ladd and Wheeler). His spot is arguably as good as (if not better than) it was for other guys like Scott Hartnell and Alexander Burrows, who were "along for the ride" with other top scorers in past years; yet each of them managed to get 67 points in a season, while Little has shown no signs of achieving anything close to that. The reality is that even though Little is