Top 10 Most Disappointing Players of 2019-20

Tom Collins

2020-03-23

Has there ever been a season where there have been so many disappointments?

It is quite possible that you could have drafted a list of superstars and all-stars last fall, but finished near the bottom of the standings as many of them underperformed or were injured.

This was one of the toughest columns I've ever had to write. Not because of a dearth of players, but because there were so many of them. My original quick list had 55 names on it, and I somehow got it down to these 10. I plan on breaking it down even further next week, so if you see a name that you think should be here, keep in mind that the player may be on next week's list.

To make it more palatable, I'm not including players that put up disappointing numbers due to injuries, as we covered that last week.

Before I get into this week's column, a quick plug for Rick Roos, who is working on something similar but with a twist. He's created a poll asking which disappointing players can bounce back at some point in a future season. Check out the poll in the forums.

Here were the top 10 most disappointing players for 2019-20.

10. Jeff Skinner

Skinner is a perfect example of why you don't overpay (in both fantasy and real0life) for a player who is dependent on playing with elite players. After scoring 40 goals on a line with Jack Eichel, Skinner scored a huge contract last summer that gives him a cap hit of $9 million for the next seven seasons. Before this campaign had even started, Skinner was replaced on the top line (and the top power-play unit) by rookie Victor Olofsson. Skinner went on to post 14 goals and 23 points in 59 games.

9. Max Domi

We all knew a regression was coming, but we never expected it to be this bad. After notching 72 points for Montreal in 2018-19, Domi came crashing back to earth with 44 points in 71 games (a 51-point pace). What hurts is that Domi isn't a great power-play producer or delivers many hits, and his PIM were way down this year (his 35 PIM is the lowest of his career). If he's not getting points, why do you have him on your roster?

8. Viktor Arvidsson

There was plenty of hope for Arvidsson last offseason. During an injury-plagued 2018-19, Arvidsson still had a 68-point-pace season, with 34 goals and 48 points (and four power-play points) in 58 games. This year that dropped to 15 goals and 28 points in 57 games. Last year, I posited that Arvidsson had a chance for 70 points if he could stay healthy and improve upon his power-play production. Neither really happened. It didn't help that he also saw a significant decrease in his shooting percentage, and his shot rate of 2.23 is more than a shot per game less than a year ago and the lowest of his career. 

7. Ryan Johansen

Truthfully, Nashville could have dominated this list. Besides Johansen and the aforementioned Arvidsson, you could argue that Pekka Rinne, Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund also belong in the top 10. Johansen was a frustrating own this season. He started the season with seven points in his first five games, but then had only 29 points in his next 63. His ice time dropped from around 18 minutes a game at the start of the season to around 15:30 by the end. His power-play time had also dropped and he was taken off the top unit (his last power-play point came on Dec. 19 and he only had two PPP since Nov. 13). His 43-point pace is the lowest since he was a sophomore. Throw in the facts that his hits were down, he's never been a big shot producer and he was a minus-five, and Johansen shouldn't have been owned in most one-year leagues.

6. Martin Jones

Jones' awful stats the last couple of years were forgivable because he was still contributing to your fantasy squad. In the four seasons from 2015-16 to 2018-19, Jones ranked third in wins, sixth in saves and tied for ninth in shutouts. That's pretty good, and helped to overlook him finishing 41st in save percentage and second-worst in goals against in the same period (minimum 50 games played). This year was off the rails in almost every category, as he finished with a 17-21-2 record, a 3.00 GAA and a 0.896 SV %. He was losing starts to Aaron Dell, who was posting similar numbers.

5. P.K. Subban

I was one of the many that were fooled by the Devils team last offseason, which led me to believe that Subban was in line for a career year. After all, he was leaving a team in Nashville where he had to contend with other defensemen for power-play time. I figured Subban was manning the power-play with Taylor Hall, Nikita Gusev and rookie phenom Jack Hughes, and thought Subban was a shoo-in to get back to at least 20 power-play points. Instead, Subban was a bust and lost that power-play time as the season went on. When it was all said and done, he finished with 18 points in 68 games, his shot rate was down, his ice time was four minutes a game less than a few years ago, and he was a minus-21.

4. Johnny Gaudreau

If the season wasn't cancelled, Gaudreau might not have made this list. He was on fire for the last quarter of the season, with 20 points in his last 20 games. With another 12 games left to play, he could have posted another 15 points, and finished with 75. Still a disappointing season considering he had 99 points a year ago, but much better than where we thought he was going to finish in the middle of January. He was still productive in shots and power-play points, but his one hit in 70 games is laughable (you would think he would accidentally bump into someone a few times per year).

3. Matt Dumba

Two seasons ago, Dumba notched 50 points in 82 games, and followed that up with 22 points in 32 games that saw him miss most of the season after surgery to repair a ruptured right pectoralis. So Dumba was a sought-after commodity last offseason. However, this season was atrocious. His 24 points in 69 games is a 29 point-pace, and his shooting percentage was 3.6 per cent. His power-play production wasn't far off from normal, and he continued to block shots and hit, so there was some good news. Although it was a disappointing season, at 25 years old, Dumba is a player I'd be inquiring about in keeper leagues hoping to get acquire him at a cheap price.

2. Taylor Hall

There were two big surprises to Hall's season: One is that he stayed healthy throughout (the only games he missed were due to being a healthy scratch before he was dealt from the Devils to the Coyotes). The second surprise was just how poor his season was. In the last two years in New Jersey, he scored at a 100-point and 92-point pace. This year, with 52 points in 65 games, he was at a 66-point pace. For a guy who was a first-round pick in many leagues, that simply isn't good enough.

1. Erik Gustafsson

A year ago, Gustafsson was topping lists as the biggest surprise. He came out of nowhere in 2018-19 to notch 60 points in 79 games, taking over the team's power play and giving value in almost every category (shots, hits, blocked shots, PIM, etc.). This year saw a complete reversal. His production was down to a 36-point pace and he saw a decrease in his shot rate and blocked shots to go along with two fewer minutes per game. His trade to Flames saw his ice time drop even further to 18 minutes per game. Has anyone gone from a fantasy stud to a dud so quickly?

UPCOMING GAMES

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LINE COMBOS

  Frequency NYR Players
30.7% PAVEL BUCHNEVICH ARTEMI PANARIN MIKA ZIBANEJAD
25.3% KAAPO KAKKO CHRIS KREIDER RYAN STROME
19.1% FILIP CHYTIL BRETT HOWDEN BRENDAN LEMIEUX

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