Geek of the Week – Biggest Misses

Terry Campkin



Who were Terry’s biggest misses of the fantasy hockey season?

As the regular season winds down, I always like to reflect on the season that has passed, think about the moves that I made that were smart and those that were not so smart. Often, we can learn a lot from the bad moves we have made and hope not to repeat the same in future years. Next week, I will take a look at some of this year's biggest "hits" but for this week I am going to start off on those where we missed the mark: The Geek of the Week Misses.

It has been a pretty solid season for me personally as I took home the championship in two of my four leagues including my first win in five years in my main keeper league (thank you Brian Gionta). Fantasy Hockey Geek has been a big part of my success. It has also been a fairly successful year for the Geek of the Week column, but the following three Geeks fell a little short of our expectations:

Kevin Bieksa

In the preseason, I advised readers in Yahoo! standard leagues that include penalty minutes to draft Kevin Bieksa somewhere in the 140's and hope for value in the 80's. I cited Bieksa's elite shot and penalty minutes totals, combined with a potential opportunity to see more powerplay time as a good situation to take advantage of. Now that the season is over, FHG calculate Bieksa's value as 214th overall.

What Went Wrong?

There were two major factors that impacted Bieksa's value this season, causing his value to drop out of the 80s and lower than his average draft position:

  1. He was a victim of injury. In the original article, this was mentioned as a definite risk for Bieksa but given the low cost to acquire (ADP in the 160s), it was a risk that we thought was worth it. Prorating Bieksa's value for 82 games, his output comes close to our original projections but still falls short because of the second factor.
  2. Bieksa did not get the powerplay production. In my conservative estimate, I had Bieksa at 8 power-play points based on history, but I speculated that he may see additional opportunity and get to 15. This also would have helped his SOG and points which was putting his value through the roof. In reality though, Bieksa ended up being 12th on the team in power-play time on ice per game, and he amassed a total of one powerplay point. This completely killed any value that Bieksa's solid penalty minute and shot on goal totals were providing.

What did we learn?

As always, if you are trying to find value with a lower round pick based on potential opportunity and then that opportunity doesn't come to fruition, you are going to be disappointed. The good thing with these guys is you don't have to pay much to get them. With Bieksa, my bigger mistake was only looking at the two scenarios: status quo and upside. I didn't consider the potential downside should his role actually decrease as it did. I have little doubt that if Bieksa was afforded the opportunities he could have hit the numbers in the original article, but I should have done more background work to determine whether or not that opportunity would actually come his way. The real life coach and the fantasy GM weren't on the same page in this instance.

David Perron

When David Perron got traded to Pittsburgh, the hype-machine was going full steam. I had seen many players hyped to thrive playing with Crosby and Malkin in the past but many had failed. With Perron though, I thought it would be different. I projected Perron to play at an 82 game pace of 68 points, 250 shots, 90 penalty minutes and 15 power-play points. He has actually come in at a 44 point, 230 shot pace.

What went wrong?

Again with Perron, it seems that my optimism got the best of me. I really do believe that the potential was there with Perron though. As a team, Pittsburgh wasn't Pittsburgh this season: as of Friday the 10th, they are 18th in goals scored per game. 18th!!! I am not sure if it was the injuries or the coaching, but the whole "Pittsburgh Effect" that I wrote about was essentially null and void. Perron's actual production did come somewhat close to my low-side scenario but he did fall short in that area too.

What did we learn?

With Perron, I took his best ever season and then built the best possible "Pittsburgh Effect" on top of that. I basically assumed that everything that possibly could go right, would. By using Perron's best ever season and then layering on the benefit of the trade, I was essentially double counting the positive impact of the move from Edmonton. Fantasy Hockey Geek calculated my assumptions perfectly – my assumptions were just flawed. All that said, Perron's shot and penalty minute totals were indeed good in Pittsburgh and he is someone who I will target next season, particularly if Kris Letang is back and/or there is a coaching change.

Tommy Wingels

When I wrote about Tommy Wingels, he was coming in as the 17th most valuable player in my keeper league but was only 37 percent owned in Yahoo! pools. He had eight points in 12 games with a ton of hits and was shooting at a level that supported his spike in production. Things were looking up for Tommy.

What went wrong?

Since that time, Wingels has only managed 25 points in 61 games, and his shot level has tailed off considerably. He finished the season as the 202nd most valuable player in my league. The biggest issue with Wingels was usage. At the time of the article, he was averaging almost 2:00 per game on the powerplay, but he has finished the season under 1:30. Furthermore, he has been dropped out of the top six and is currently playing on a line with Matt Nieto and Chris Tierney. This is another case of a guy who showed some upside based on a new opportunity, but when the opportunity was removed, so was the upside.

What did we learn?

Wingels wasn't exactly a miss per se, as you probably wouldn't have had to pay much to get him. Anytime you can get a guy who is performing as Wingels was at the start of the season for free, then the best thing to do is enjoy the production until it drops off. When/if it does, you simply drop that player. The main learning with players like Wingels who provide great volume numbers in shots and hits is that you need to be jumping on them quickly when their opportunity improves, and selling them quickly if you see that they are no longer being utilized in a scoring role. In a year like this one, you could have enjoyed Wingels' success through the first quarter of the season and then flipped him for a more established player before he dropped off. That's the best way to handle these guys.

So there you have it, the three worst misses of the year. They weren't too bad, since two of them were more victims of circumstance and the cost of acquisition probably wasn't high. The worst one is definitely Perron, as I really missed the mark there. Hopefully the hits that I show you next week helped to overcome these misses!

Geek of the Week: Buffalo Soldiers

Geek of the Week: Anders Lee Take Two

Geek of the Week: Trades!


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