Fantasy Hockey Poll: Who Can Still Salvage Their Seasons?

Rick Roos

2022-02-23

It seems like a lot longer ago than October when the puck dropped on the season, and all your players – you hoped – were poised for greatness. Just like every campaign though, quite a few have not lived up to expectations. But can any of these disappointments still find a way to play better from here on out? That's for you to decide in this month's poll.

Below are 20 players for whom 2021-22 has been a season to forget thus far. The question is which five have the best chance of salvaging their seasons – that is, which five are most likely to play closest to, or even above, preseason predictions between now and game 82. Or to put it another way, the five players who get your votes should be those who'll play – between now and the end of the season – at a level closest to, or even above, what was initially expected.

To help put things into context, suppose a player was predicted to score 65 points but thus far has produced at a 46-point pace, and another was supposed to score at an 86-point pace but as of now stands at only a 61-point pace. In both cases, the players are producing at a rate that's roughly 70% of what was expected from them. If you think the first player will score at a 62-point pace over the rest of the season and the second player at a 77-point pace, then of the two the first player should get your vote since he would be closer, percentagewise, to his initial projection, assuming of course there aren't five other players who would be even closer or who you think could actually exceed what was originally expected of them. For goalies, base your decisions on GAA, SV% and Wins, with each weighted roughly equal.

Without further ado, here are the 20 players, listed in alphabetical order. The link to cast your votes is at the end of the column. Note that I didn't include players with injury question marks, so no Robin Lehner, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Jonathan Toews, among others.

Tyson Barrie – Most poolies figured 2019-20 was a hiccup when for 2020-21 Barrie was the top scoring defenseman in all of the NHL. But for 2021-22 Barrie is on pace to produce the worst numbers of his entire career, all while playing for the up tempo Oilers. His contract gives him a long leash; but Edmonton has, at times, bestowed the all-important PP1 gig upon youngster Evan Bouchard, making it more difficult to envision Barrie being able to rebound over the remainder of the season.

Jamie Benn – No one was expecting the Benn of old; but after he finished 2020-21 with 17 points in his final 19 games there was hope he was at least somewhat rejuvenated, especially when he'd get a healthy Tyler Seguin (more on him below) to center him for the season. But Benn has looked like a player well past his prime and isn't even managing to get PP1 minutes.

Cole Caufield – A favorite to take home the Calder trophy after he dazzled at the end of 2020-21 and in the playoffs, Caufield was faring so poorly he earned a ticket back to the AHL. He's with the big club again, likely for good; but he's not shown signs of being a player whom many saw as a 30-40 goal star in the making. Still, Caufield has played well u