Looking Back…at March, 2009 Top Players

Darren Kennedy



A look back at the $98 million dollar man as he exits – stage left – from the fantasy elite. Zach Parise.


We had our inaugural keeper league draft five years ago. It was an interesting time to start a league. The big three (Crosby, Malkin, and Ovechkin) had created a massive gap between them and other potential first round selections. This meant there was a lot of angst around our draft lottery. I was lucky enough to land the second overall pick and took Malkin (he's still with my team today) but I felt bad (well, as bad as you can feel for a rival poolie) for the guys selecting fourth and fifth.

There were 10 or 15 different options in those spots. Did you go Kovalchuk? Accepting the poor plus minus but hoping for 40 goal seasons? Maybe Datsyuk? Or Zetterberg? At the time Heatley looked like he would grow old on Thornton's wing, drafting into the sunset along with point per game season after point per game season.

Ultimately the manager at four selected Getzlaf and then at five it was Zach Parise off the board. He was far from an "off the board" selection. If I remember correctly there was a bunch of *head nods* around the table to the effect of "yeah, that feels about right."

At that time Parise had posted a 45 goal, 49 assist, 364 shot season in 2008-2009. He was the kind of asset you built a long term plan around.

His slot in the Dobber rankings of March, 2009, reflected the value he possessed:


March Player Team
1 Evgeni Malkin PIT
2 Alexander Ovechkin WAS
3 Sidney Crosby PIT
4 Joe Thornton SJ
5 Vincent Lecavalier TB
6 Ilya Kovalchuk ATL
7 Jason Spezza OTT
8 Marian Hossa DET
9 Pavel Datsyuk DET
10 Jarome Iginla CGY
11 Nicklas Backstrom WAS
12 Zach Parise NJ
13 Dany Heatley OTT
14 Marc Savard BOS
15 Ryan Getzlaf ANA
16 Henrik Zetterberg DET
17 Patrick Kane CHI
18 Patrik Elias NJ
19 Jeff Carter PHI
20 Patrick Marleau SJ
21 Rick Nash CBJ
22 Ales Hemsky EDM
23 Martin St. Louis TB
24 Daniel Sedin VAN
25 David Krejci BOS
26 Mike Richards PHI
27 Henrik Sedin VAN
28 Alexander Semin WAS
29 Anze Kopitar LA
30 Eric Staal CAR
31 Mike Cammalleri CGY
32 Daniel Alfredsson OTT
33 Phil Kessel BOS
34 Derek Roy BUF
35 Jonathan Toews CHI
36 Thomas Vanek BUF
37 Mike Ribeiro DAL
38 Devin Setoguchi SJ
39 Jiri Hudler DET
40 Corey Perry ANA
41 Shane Doan PHO
42 Olli Jokinen PHO
43 Mike Green WAS
44 Mikko Koivu MIN
45 Martin Havlat CHI
46 Travis Zajac NJ
47 Brian Gionta NJ
48 Simon Gagne PHI
49 Brad Boyes STL
50 Peter Mueller PHO



Today, there is an argument to be made that Parise falls outside the top 40 in some formats. The largest issue being a lack of points in his late twenties. For a time he was a lock for 35 or more goals with north of 300 shots. Two categories that are notoriously hard to fill.

So what has changed?

There would seem to be two factors at play here. Although it's tough to say which has had the bigger impact. Firstly, and this one is obvious, he's playing in Minnesota. A team that has never been known for their offence. This year the Wild finished 24th in the league for goals per game. A trend that isn't exactly uncommon (they were 22nd in 2012-13). Less goals will inevitably mean less opportunities for Parise to hit the scoresheet. They've made some positive steps, acquiring both Pominville and Moulson (although it remains to be seen what will happen in the summer) has created hope for the future.

Secondly, there is the arthroscopic surgery on his right knee that wiped out nearly the entire 2010-11 season. Parise has been known for his work ethic and skating ability, most noticeably in the offensive zone where he never gives up on a play. It's rather difficult to quantify exactly how much weaker his knee is today, if is at all. If he's five percent less effective does that have an impact on getting to scoring areas, or making it to a loose puck? I'm not a high performance athlete (unless EA NHL 14 dominance counts) but I would imagine any changes to your body, especially major knee surgery, could have an impact.

I'm left wondering if he's wading into that Datsyuk-like fantasy tier where I fear that his name recognition is starting to outweigh actual production. Parise is still young-ish (in the way anyone clinging to the end of their twenties is), so there is still hope for a renaissance season or two. However, if I'm setting out some reasonable expectations for the Wild's winger I'd look for 30 goals, 35 assists, and 290 shots. Those are more than respectable totals that can help you as a number one or two winger, but they don't warrant consideration in the first 3 rounds of most formats.

It can be difficult to reset our valuations of once-upon-a-time elite assets. But with Parise, it appears time to consider change.


Darren Kennedy is a contributor for Dobber Hockey and recently traded for Nail Yakupov… wish him luck @fantasyhockeydk

Looking Back…at April, 2009 Top Players 
Looking Back…at June, 2009 Top Players 
Looking Back…at October, 2009 Top Players 


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