Happy New Year Dobber-heads.
2017 couldn’t have come to an end fast enough for some NHLers.
It’s been a tough year for many players. That also meant a tough year for fantasy general managers as there were plenty of guys who stunk up the rink for the full 12 months.
Below are 10 players that disappointed us throughout all of 2017. It takes a special type of player to hamper a fantasy squad for parts of two seasons.
10. Derek Stepan
Stepan gets number one minutes but he doesn’t produce like a top-line centre. This has been proven in both New York and Arizona. In 2017, Stepan had 48 points combined between the two teams: 25 in 42 games with the Rangers and 23 in 40 games with the Coyotes. He’s never hit 60 points in a season despite producing on the power play. With Arizona being so dreadful, expect another rough year for Stepan.
9. Bobby Ryan
I can’t believe there are still people out there who are duped every year into believing that Ryan can be a quality fantasy option. Case in point, he was drafted in 39 per cent of Yahoo leagues this year. In 2017, he had 25 points. Yes, he played only 59 games because of injuries, but that still comes out to 0.42 points per game, about the same you would get from David Desharnais and Brendan Perlini. Ryan is pretty much droppable in any league that doesn’t count hand/finger injuries as a category.
8. Corey Perry
Perry can’t produce like he used to, but most concerning is that he is on pace for only 148 shots and nine power play points. That shot total is a major red flag considering he average 237 shots over 82 games the previous four seasons. In 2017, Perry had 45 points in 75 games. Perry’s style of play and his age means his numbers will continue to drop, but thanks to a hefty contract, and lots of power play time, there is a chance he could have a small uptick in production at some point, but not without a major uptick in shots.
7. Justin Faulk
It wasn’t too long ago that Faulk was considered to be a lock as a consistent 50-point defenseman. He had 49 points in 2014-15, and followed that up with 37 in 64 games (a 47-point pace). The last season and a half has been a train wreck for Faulk owners and he had 32 points in 83 games in 2017. That’s not very good for a team’s top offensive defenseman. He’s only 25 years old, but there’s a lot of young talent in Carolina, so he may not have much time to figure it out.
6. Matt Duchene
For years, I’ve been harping on Duchene not being a viable fantasy option. 2017 was further proof of that as he had only 33 points in 82 games. That’s awful for a guy making $6 million, playing 17:45 a game and has been a fixture on the top power play unit. I’m not sure if 2018 will be any better, but it can’t be any worse for Duchene and his owners.
5. Aaron Ekblad
I don’t want to label Ekblad a bust — after all, the kid is only 21 years old – but I find myself wondering more and more if he will ever be a fantasy stud. He’s starting to remind me a lot of Jay Bouwmeester. Lots of promise, but ended up being a much-better real-life hockey player than a fantasy player. Ekblad had 23 points in 2017 despite averaging 21:51 per game and getting a lot of looks on the power play. He’s now in his fourth season but still isn’t close to having a breakout.
4. Alex Galchenyuk
Most Habs fans either hate or love Galchenyuk. I fall into the latter category. According to NHL.com, combining the last three seasons, Galchenyuk has the highest points-per-60 minutes of any Hab with a minimum of 20 games. He’s also tops in goals-per-60 minutes and third in primary assists in that time. That’s pretty effective, but Galchenyuk has not been trusted by the current or previous coaching regime. In 2017, he had 42 points in 75 games. Don’t expect better numbers unless he gets traded.
3. Wayne Simmonds
Something didn’t click for Simmonds in 2017 as he didn’t put up points like he used to. He was still a beast in peripheral categories, he averaged 18:41 per game, played with the team’s top players, got plenty of top power play time, but still had only 46 points in 82 games in 2017. He’s still worth owning in many leagues because of his shots, PIM and hits, but it has to be concerning that the points just aren’t there.
2. Jonathan Drouin
Any fantasy GMs that were excited that Drouin playing in Montreal would mean an increase in production have been severely disappointed. Drouin had 49 points in 2017, and only 18 of them came in a Habs uniform. His average ice time per game is actually pretty similar in Montreal than in Tampa Bay. The only difference is he doesn’t have the quality linemates in Montreal and he’s forced to play centre.
1. Cam Atkinson
There was a lot of hope for Atkinson a year ago today that he was on his way to being a breakout hit. He entered 2017 with 37 points in 35 games, and then Atkinson fell off the map. He started 2017 with 25 points in 47 games, and had 13 points in 32 games to end 2017. Just so you don’t need to worry about the math, that’s 38 points in 79 games in 2017. At the age of 28, it may be time to give up on Atkinson and realize that 37 in 35 was a major outlier.