Fantasy hockey poll: Which Band-Aid Boy will shed their reputation in 2020-21?
No matter how much anyone wants to deny it, there's always a good bit of luck involved in fantasy hockey. That's especially the case when it comes to Band-Aid Boys, as even the worst offenders do defy the odds and manage to play 75+ games in some seasons. Which Band-Aid Boys might be on tap to shed their label, at least for 2020-21? That's today's poll topic.
Below is a list of players who've missed a fair share of games over the past few seasons. Not everyone is on the DobberHockey list of Band-Aid Boys, but each – in my opinion – has given poolies enough grey hairs due to missed games in recent years to merit being a voting choice. Your task is to put on your prognosticator hats and determine which of them will, in fact, play 75+ games next season. Or if there isn't an 82 game season due to COVID, which ones will play at least 90% of his team's games, roughly translating to a 75-game pace over an 82-game season.
I'd hoped to include goalies in the poll (hi, Antti Raanta and John Gibson) but couldn't come up with a minimum number of games played, so to keep things neater I ended up just opting to exclude them and went with 20 skaters. Otherwise, the only omissions were skaters who are not on anyone's fantasy radars.
Here now, are the 20 voting choices, listed in alphabetical order. A link to the voting poll is at the end of the column. The toughest non-inclusions were Brendan Gallagher, Erik Karlsson, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Auston Matthews, Charlie McAvoy, and Taylor Hall.
Viktor Arvidsson – After two seasons of fewer than a handful of missed games, Arvy has been felled by injuries the past two campaigns. Is this going to be his new normal, or only a blip in the radar? That's what your votes will decide, at least when it comes to 2020-21.
Patrice Bergeron – Early in his career there was concern he'd be a Band-Aid Boy due to his concussion issues. Those are thankfully a thing of the past; however, as he gets older it seems all those years of playing through injuries have taken a toll and as a result he's seen his games played be in the 60s for each of the past three seasons.
Brock Boeser – Guess what you and I have in common with Boeser? We've all never played 70 games in an NHL season. Yes, Boeser has missed time in each of his three full NHL seasons and is seemingly on track to becoming an official Band-Aid Boy.
Jakob Chychrun – Even with the abbreviated 2019-20, Chychrun played the second-most games of his career, which tells you a lot about the state of his health in prior campaigns. He too could become a young Band-Aid Boy.
Alexander Edler – Arguably one of the first players poolies think of when the term Band-Aid Boy is mentioned, Edler's claim to the label is without question, having not played more than 70 games since 2014-15. Like Bergeron, his advancing age makes it all the less likely he'd be able to stay healthy for 90% of the season, but never say never.
Ryan Ellis – It's feast or famine in terms of games played for Ellis, with him having missed 20+ games in three of the past six seasons but playing in 71, 79 and 82 games in the other three. And for what it's worth, he's never had two injury-plagued seasons in a row, which bodes well for him to stay healthy for 2020-21.
Robby Fabbri – After playing 72 games as a rookie, Fabbri missed nearly that many over his next two seasons, plus some time in 2019-20. Will he, like others, be able to put early career injury woes behind him, or will they linger and make him a true Band-Aid Boy year in, year out.
Cam Fowler – Although Fowler has managed to avoid long term injuries, he seems to miss 10+ games most every season, with just a couple of exceptions in the last few. Now 28 and with ten campaigns under his belt, this might be his new normal. One question for Fowler, and – spoiler alert – the other three Ducks on the list, is whether not being part of the playoffs, and, in turn, getting a longer offseason, will make it more or less likely for him, and these other players, to miss fewer games come 2020-21.
Ryan Getzlaf – The oldest player on the list, Getz had played 74-77 games four seasons in a row, but before this season missed 15 and 26 games, leading some to worry that his body is breaking down as he ages. Getz is a fierce competitor who doesn't like to sit on the sidelines; but will that be enough to get him out for the lion's share of next season?
Oscar Klefbom – Who would've predicted that Klefbom would largely escape injury this season? Probably not many. But can he do it twice in a row, something he's yet to do thus far in his NHL career? It's a tough call.
Kris Letang – If not his teammate Evgeni Malkin (spoiler alert – more on him below), Letang is the player most poolies likely associate with the term Band-Aid Boy. Yet in 2017-18 he played 79 games, and he didn't miss many this season. Could he somehow have stumbled on the fountain of good health, even now as a 33 year old? Probably not, but you never know…
Hampus Lindholm – After missing a combined ten games in his first three seasons, Lindholm has failed to miss fewer than that in just one of his last four campaigns. Maybe it's something in the water in Anaheim?
Evgeni Malkin – What's there to say about Malkin, whose seemingly annual chunk of missed games has doomed countless poolies, particularly those in H2H leagues. But he still tantalizes us into owning him, not just due to his superb production when he does play, but also those rare seasons like 2017-18 when he somehow missed only four contests.
Anthony Mantha – After playing 80 games in 2017-18, Mantha has missed 15+ in each of his past two seasons. And bigger players are no strangers to the Band-Aid Boy list, as if their frames prove to be brittle it seems all the more difficult for them to stay healthy each season. And like the Anaheim players, there's the X factor in wondering whether Detroit not being part of the NHL playoffs, and thus having a very long layoff, will help or impede Mantha in his quest to once again stay healthy for a full season.
T.J. Oshie – His last two seasons as a Blue and his first as a Cap saw him miss a grand total of 15 contests; yet since then, he missed 13, 13 and 8, before playing every game this season. Will he now embark on another streak of seasons with few games missed? Maybe, although at age 33 it's likely a reach.
Rickard Rakell – One last Duck on the list, Rakell missed ten+ games in each of his first three seasons, once more since then, and then missed five games twice. He never really burns you, but those missed games do add up, and it seems like there might be no end in sight.
Jaden Schwartz – Truth be told, Schwartz has only three Band-Aid Boy campaigns among his last seven; however, he missed large chunks of the season in each. And with him missing no time during 2019-20, but only once having back-to-back injury-free seasons in his career thus far, it raises rightful concerns he might be due to return to the IR in 2020-21.
Paul Stastny – The good news is Stastny missed no games in two of the past three seasons. But coming from a player who previously had missed 10+ games in half his career seasons, and with him set to turn 35 during the 2020-21 campaign, the odds might be against him completing yet another injury-free campaign.
Sami Vatanen – Amazingly, in six seasons, Vatanen has never failed to miss at least ten games in any individual campaign. Just a like a roulette wheel won't always be black or red even after it occurs many times in a row, tried and true Band-Aid Boys somehow manage to buck the odds and play a full season. Look no further than Edler, Letang and Malkin. The question is whether 2020-21 will be that season for Vatanen, especially as he too will be among those with a long layoff due to New Jersey not qualifying for the playoffs.
Mika Zibanejad – If we're looking at patterns, it's good news for Zibs owners, as thus far he seems to follow two healthy seasons with one where he gets injured. And with him missing time in 2019-20, perhaps we can count on good health for the next two campaigns.
There are your 20 choices. It's up to you to predict (guess?) which ones will play 75+ games in 2020-21, or, if the season isn't 82 games, which ones will play in 90% of their team's contests. You can vote for as many or as few players as you want. To cast your votes, click here.
Questions for Mailbag column
The mailbag is scheduled for next week, and it's full. But it's never too early to get in the queue for next month's edition. To get questions to me, you can either private message “rizzeedizzee” via the DobberHockey Forums or, instead, send an email to [email protected] with “Roos Mailbag” as the subject line.
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