Cage Match Tournament: Players Declining or Not Improving

Rick Roos


Will Sidney Crosby ever reach 90 points again?

For our final winter Cage Match tournament, we’re doing a 180 to focus on skaters who aren’t living up to expectations or who might otherwise be on the decline. These are either players you drafted with a certain expectation of what they’d produce and have disappointed, or for whom their best days just might be behind them. In short, skaters seemingly on a downward slide that won’t reverse itself either this year or in the future.

Excluded Players

As with the previous two tournaments (accessible here and here), goalies are not included as voting choices. Simply put, there aren’t enough of them to form their own tournament/bracket and they don’t lend themselves to comparison to skaters. I promise to try my best to find a way to work them into a tournament in 2018. There are also no players currently over the age of 30, since with them I figured a slowdown in production, although perhaps in some cases surprising in view of their totals from recent years, isn’t entirely shocking. After all – and as covered in cage matches this summer- age 30 is already past prime for both defensemen and forwards. So don’t be surprised that certain otherwise arguably deserving age 31+ players (e.g., Duncan Keith, Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Corey Perry, Brent Seabrook) aren’t included as voting choices.

Lastly, I tried to limit this to players who are still likely on fantasy teams (or radars) in most leagues. That means you shouldn’t be surprised at not seeing the likes of Ryan Strome and Bobby Ryan, among others, despite not being age disqualified.

How Voting Will Work

Each player has been put into a “never again?” point range. If, for whatever reason, you think he won’t reach that number ever again in a season, then vote for him. Let me emphasize – we’re not just talking about just 2017-18; you have to think the player won’t produce at or above his “never again?” number this season or any future season. For some players their “never again?” number is well less than their highest ever point output (listed in parentheses next to each player) because it’s alre