Top 10 most disappointing players in fantasy hockey so far…
We are now about one-third of the way through the NHL season. A player's struggles is no longer a blip on the radar at this stage. It's a full-blown slump.
Who have been the worst of the bunch? There's been plenty. I could do a top 10 column on Pittsburgh players alone. That could all change now with a new coach. But there is also recent history of a new coach making a team even worse (Peter Horachek with the Toronto Maple Leafs last year). So who knows what will happen there. To keep the column from being just about a couple of teams, we're only selecting one player from any team.
Injuries are also not a factor in this list. But injured players who have struggled when in the lineup don't get a free pass. Here are the top 10 disappointing players so far this season.
10. Ryan Kesler
Many of the Ducks have had disappointing seasons. But none more so than Kesler. After signing a huge extension in the summer, Kesler's offence has dried up. He is on pace for just 30 points, an atrocious minus-33, and two power play points. He is getting plenty of ice time (19:25 a game), so it's not like you can just drop him. You're stuck with him until he either rebounds, or you can find a
sucker trade partner.
9. Derek Stepan
Stepan may be an early candidate for a new Band-Aid boy status (hint, hint Rick Roos). He missed 14 games last year with a broken leg, and nine games so far this year with broken ribs (and not due back until after Christmas). Injuries aside, Stepan has played 23 games and has just 12 points. His numbers are being hurt by a lack of a power play. Even though they have the sixth-best power play in the league, the Rangers have the second-least average of power plays per game. Stepan is on pace for 43 points over an 82-game season, which would be a career low.
I hope those of you in AHL leagues managed to pick up Bernier last week. His three shutouts were great. It also equals his NHL shutouts in his last 122 NHL games. In the big leagues, Bernier is winless this season with an 0-8-1 record. He also has a horrific .888 save percentage and 3.28 GAA. It is possible to be a good goalie on a bad team. Just ask James Reimer.
7. Nick Foligno
No one expected Foligno to have a 70-point season again. But 55-plus was definitely doable. Or so we thought. The Blue Jackets captain is on pace for 10 goals and 39 points this year. There were signs of a setback. His ice time was going to be down with most of the roster healthy. But instead of playing with Ryan Johansen, he's playing with Scott Hartnell and Brandon Dubinsky. But no one expected this much of a drop.
Sure, I can pick on Justin Schultz again. But poolies weren't expecting great things out of Schultz. Eberle is a different story. Eberle has a team low minus-12 despite playing just 17 games. Ouch. It doesn't help that he only has seven points in those games either. Eberle would be on pace for 34 points over an 82-game season. He has turned it around a little lately, with four points in three games. That streak came to a halt with a horrible game against the Rangers where Eberle had zero points and a minus-three.
Colorado wasn't expected to be good this year. But we didn't think Varlamov would be this bad either. He has a 9-8-1 record with a .909 save percentage and a 2.75 GAA. By comparison, backup Reto Berra is 5-8, but has a .922 save percentage and 2.41 GAA. Varlamov has let in at least three goals in 11 of his 19 games this year, and has a sub-.900 save percentage in nine of those games. He has put a hot run over the last five games (4-1, 1.39 GAA and a .958 save percentage). So there's hope for him. But the last five games isn't enough to overcome poolies' disappointment quite yet.
On pace for 25 points, this is a far cry from the 50 points that many poolies were hoping for. To make matters worse, all the Flames defensemen are having horrible years. Only TJ Brodie would be on pace for 40-plus points in an 82-game season. To put it in perspective how bad Hamilton's season has been: Everyone keeps talking about how Dan Boyle is pretty much finished as a fantasy option. Yet Boyle also has nine points and is actually ahead of Hamilton in plus/minus and power play points.
Voracek is on pace for two goals and 43 points. The latter would be his lowest since his 38-point rookie season with the Blue Jackets in 2008-09. He's spent quite a bit of time on the fourth line but hasn't seen his power play ice time affected yet. In fact, his man advantage numbers are the one saving grace on Voracek's season. His 10 power play points — all assists – make up 62.5 per cent of all his points.
I own a lot of the guys on this list in one pool or another, but this one is exceptionally frustrating. I am in a new dynasty league that started in the summer. I selected Johnson with my first round pick (27th overall). Johnson is on pace for just 35 points in 75 games. Sure, most of the Tampa Bay offence is struggling. Only Steven Stamkos has hit the 20 point mark. But four goals and 11 points in 23 games sure isn't good enough for Johnson owners, especially for such a high pick in many drafts.
He's been turning it on lately, with four points in his past four games. But even a point-per-game pace is disappointing for Crosby owners. Many poolies would have selected Crosby within the first couple of picks of drafts. He's supposed to be leading the league in points. A new coach could help turn things around for Crosby and the rest of the Pens. But as it stands, with just 19 points in 28 games, Crosby is easily the most disappointing player in fantasy hockey.