Cage Match Tournament: The New Normal – Underachievers

Rick Roos

2018-12-26

VladimirTarasenko2

Vladimir Tarasenko – USA Today Sports Images

After your votes proclaimed Jonathan Huberdeau and Mika Zibanejad (tie) to be the players over the age of 25+ most likely to continue producing at their “new normal,” for our final winter Cage Match tournament of 2018 we shift away from successful players to instead focus on underachievers. But the question is the same as it’s been the past two weeks – is what we’re seeing from these players just a temporary blip in the radar, or instead their “new normal.” Or to put it differently, this week’s players are ones you drafted with an expectation of what they’d produce for your fantasy squads, and they’ve fallen short, tasking us to determine whether their best days just might be behind them or if they’ll get back to prior levels of production either this season or down the road.

 

Excluded Players

Once again goalies are not included; and no forwards are on the list unless they scored 60+ points in a season (or a 60+ point scoring pace) at least once since 2013-14 and, likewise, no defensemen are voting choices unless they’ve scored 40+ points (or a 40+ point scoring pace) within the same time frame, with the idea being players who don’t fit that criteria have likely already been written off as fantasy factors. Moreover, no players who were age 31+ as of the beginning of the 2018-19 season are included, since given their age a decline in production, even if not predicted, is still not all that surprising. Lastly, I didn’t include anyone who was a voting choice in last year’s poll, since I figured best to focus on entirely new players this time around. This explains why certain players arguably still deserving of inclusion (i.e., Jamie Benn, Max Pacioretty, Ondrej Palat, Oliver Ekman-Lars