Eastern Edge: Good Players on Bad Teams to Watch For

Brennan Des

2021-08-17

If you're on a road trip, you need a GPS. If you're playing fantasy hockey, you need Dobber's Fantasy Guide. For point projections, sleeper picks, prospect analysis, and thorough coverage of players you've never heard of before, pick up Dobber's fantasy guide and set sail for this year fantasy championship!

In fantasy hockey, many good players remain undervalued because they play for bad teams. Since the average fantasy hockey league includes plus/minus as a category, there's a general tendency to avoid players on bad teams. Rebuilding rosters seem more likely to concede goals and lose games, leading to lots of 'minus' players. Unfortunately, it's rarely that simple as we often see 'minus' players on good teams and 'plus' players on bad teams. As such, it seems futile to plan for such an unpredictable category. More importantly, plus/minus is just one category and shouldn't hold as much weight as more offensively oriented stats. If a player is strong offensively, they can contribute to multiple categories, like goals, assists, shots and power-play points. As a result, there's no use putting so much stock into one category like plus/minus if it means taking a discount across multiple offensive categories. Ignoring plus/minus when building your fantasy roster opens up a lot more options and saves you the hassle of predicting a relatively inconsistent statistic. Without further ado, let's get to some good players that are undervalued in fantasy leagues because they play for bad teams.

Casey Mittelstadt

The Sabres finished dead-last in the league last year, winning just 15 of their 56 games and conceding 61 more goals than they scored. Things look even more bleak next year as Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen have already been traded away, with Jack Eichel expected to follow in the coming months. As you can imagine, not a single skater who played a major role with the team last year finished the season with a plus-rating. With next year's projected roster looking even worse, we're likely to see minuses across the board again. However, if you can get past plus/minus, Casey Mittelstadt could provide some underrated offense for your fantasy team. The 22-year-old forward took great strides last season as he posted 17 points in his final 21 appearances. He should step into a consistent top-six role next year, leading to more ice time