Top 10 2017-18 fantasy hockey disappointments

by Tom Collins on April 16, 2018

Well, you’ve survived another fantasy hockey season. Some of you are champions, mocking those who dare think they could ever hope to compete against you. The rest of you are being mocked.

Now is a good time to look at why your team wasn’t successful. Much of it is beyond your control, as many players had substandard seasons that probably sunk your squad.

Below are 10 players that were the top disappointments from this past season. Two things to note: Injuries could play a factor, but can’t be the sole reason for a disappointing season (so players like Jeff Carter and Shea Weber won’t be listed). The second note is that goalies are going to dominate this list. Top-end goalies were the big losers from an increase in goal scoring.

 

10. Scott Darling

Many fantasy general managers were hoping Darling would be the next Cam Talbot: A backup netminder that would thrive as the number one on an up-and-coming team. Spoiler alert: That didn’t happen. On a whole, he won only 13 of 43 games, and lost the starting gig to Cam Ward. Darling and Craig Anderson were the only two goalies to play at least 40 games, and have a save percentage under .900 and a goals against average above 3.00. Breaking down the numbers a little more, there was not a single month when he was even an average goalie, which means there wasn’t a single point of the season where he was helpful to your fantasy squad.

 

9. Cory Schneider

He wasn’t drafted as high as many other netminders on this list (he was the 19th goalie taken on average in Yahoo pools), but it’s still disappointing how bad his season went, especially down the stretch. He lost the starting job to Keith Kinkaid, and hasn’t won a game in 2018 (0-10-2 since Dec. 29). His .907 SV % and 2.93 GAA were the worst of his career, slightly worse than his 2016-17 year. It’s a little troubling knowing this is two poor seasons in a row.

 

8. Oscar Klefbom

Many poolies are hoping Klefbom’s poor season can be attributed to shoulder issues that began during the 2017 playoffs. He missed a few games here and there throughout the season to try to deal with the issue before undergoing shoulder surgery near the end of the season. Despite averaging almost 23 minutes a game, plus being on the ice for 63.1 per cent of the Oilers’ power play, Klefbom finished with five goals, 21 points and six power play points in 66 games.

 

7. Brandon Saad

Most of us would be lying if we said we knew Saad was going to be a flop in his return to the Hawks as big things were expected for Saad. He was the 10th left-winger taken off the board in Yahoo pools, ahead of guys like Jonathan Huberdeau, Nikolaj Ehlers and Taylor Hall. Outside of shots, Saad really underdelivered, despite top linemates such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Saad finished the season with 35 points, a minus-10, 14 PIM, one power play goal, one power play point and 29 hits. He was a bust all around.

 

6. Duncan Keith

It’s easy to forget how much fantasy general managers were counting on Keith this past season. On average, he was the seventh defenseman selected in Yahoo leagues. At the end of the year, he was the 108th-ranked defensemen in leagues that count goals, assists, plus/minus, PPP, shots and hits. He didn’t score his first goal until Feb. 15, in his 58th game of the season. It then took him 22 more games to score his second. In total, Keith finished with two goals (both on the power play), 32 points, a minus-29 (10th-worst in the league), 10 power play points, 187 shots, 41 hits and 165 blocked shots.

 

5. Cam Talbot

Much was expected out of the Oilers, and especially Talbot. After all, Edmonton was the sexy preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup. Talbot, who had a 3.02 GAA and a .908 SV %, did notch 31 wins, but needed to start 67 games to reach that mark. That games played mark is something that worries me going into next year. He leads the league with 140 starts in the past two years (not including playoffs), and he’ll be 31 years old at the start of next season. He should be seeing his workload reduced, not maintained.

 

4. Max Pacioretty

How disappointing was Pacioretty’s season? Many had him projected for about 35-40 goals. Instead, he finished with 37 points. Ouch. Not good for the fourth-left winger off the board in most pools. Pretty much, everything that could go wrong for Pacioretty did go wrong. He had zero chemistry with newly-acquired winger centre Jonathan Drouin, the defense had no one that could move the puck up quickly to allow him to score off the rush like he usually does, he was the subject of trade rumours all year and suffered a sprained MCL.

 

3. Matt Murray

This was a season that shouldn’t have been too disappointing. Last August, I listed Murray as my top potential disappointment for 2017-18. My theory was that Murray is injured too frequently to be trusted. Sure enough, a year later, and Murray was injured too often (three separate injuries) and finished with 27 wins. To make matters worse, he had a below-league average of .907 SV % and a 2.92 GAA. So, he wasn’t even doing well when healthy.

 

2. Braden Holtby

Holtby was the second netminder taken on average in Yahoo pools, but fantasy general managers basically wasted a high pick. He wasn’t completely hopeless, as his 34 wins was seventh in the league, but that was a product of the team, and not Holtby. His .907 SV % and 2.99 GAA were awful, he didn’t post a shutout and he lost his starting job down the stretch to Philipp Grubauer. You have to go all the way back to Nov. 18 to find the last time he had a game where he allowed less than two goals.

 

1. Carey Price

This past season was as ugly as it could get for Price. Coming into the season, Price had a four-year average of .928 SV %, a 2.16 GAA and 62.8 winning percentage. This year he posted a .900 SV %, a 3.11 GAA and a 32.7 winning percentage. He went from the number one goalie selected in Yahoo pools to finishing as the 43rd-ranked goalie. You truthfully would have been better off dropping Price immediately after the draft and picking up a couple of backups off the waiver wire.

 

 

 

  • Username

    Darling looked like the worst goaltender in the NHL this season. Three more years left at $4,15M. Lmao.

  • Wesley Ethan Solmon

    Niederreiter must have been on the bubble. Even excluding the injuries he was pretty atrocious across the board

  • Assmoses

    “Price, Talbot & Schneider! I’m gonna kill it this year.” Sadly, no.

  • NoDoughty

    So, 6 of the 10 are goalies, including 4 of the top 5. Never trust a goalie people.

    • Nathan

      To be fair, this was a particularly bad year for goalies, especially the elite ones and with the scoring increase across the league that almost no one predicted at the level it occured, very few forwards/dman failed to reach their projections, so almost all the big disappointments this year are goalies by default.

      But in fundamental fantasy hockey terms, you are right. It’s all situational, based on league settings, but there are very few leagues were it makes sense to use a top 25 pick on a goalie- and that’s even more true after a year like this. I’m not even sure I’d put anyone in the elite goalie category (tier 1 or whatever) next year except maybe Bob. No other goalie seems bereft of risk enough to call them an elite option.

      • Invictus350

        I’ve never been high on Bob and injury risks. Another year older..

        I’m tempted by Helly. I see no reason the Jets wont be a powerhouse again. See how his playoffs go. Tonight another solid performance!

        I tend to just take my goalies when there’s a lull in the draft on players (usually a mid tier goalie)