Expectations. That one word sums up everything to do with fantasy hockey.
Did the players you drafted/traded for live up to your expectations? If the majority of them did, you are probably celebrating a championship right now. If they didn’t, odds are you are in draft lottery.
Listed below are 10 players that didn’t live up to expectations. First, a little background. Last year, I compared projections of almost 300 players from 13 different prognosticators. To figure out who was the most disappointing, I looked at the average of all 13 predictions and compared them to the final point numbers of this season.
A total of 26 players finished at least 20 points lower than their average projection.
Also remember projections are not created equal. One list of projections was based on every single player playing all 82 games, while the majority of projections still listed Erik Karlsson in Ottawa.
For the list below, I eliminated players that were only disappointing because they missed too much time to injuries (so no Taylor Hall). However, injuries can still be an influence, just not the sole factor (think Max Pacioretty).
10. James Neal
My brother is a huge Flames fan, and at one point this season, I texted him asking if James Neal was the worst free agent signing of last summer, or the worst of the past 10 years? Neal has been an utter disappointment and is certainly not worth the five-year deal that sees him being paid almost $6 million a year. It’s not like fantasy general managers were expecting a 70-point season, but many were hopeful that he could flirt with 50 points. Instead, Neal had just 19 points (29 less than the projected average), played less than 15 minutes a game and was stuck in the bottom six.
Part of Trocheck’s issues this past year are related to his broken ankle, but even when he was in the lineup, he wasn’t producing as many expected. After he finished as the Panthers second-leading point producer in 2017-18, many prognosticators thought he was going to hit the 70-point mark (that was his average point projection). Instead, he wound up with 34. Just to show it’s not just the lack of games, his 0.62 points-per-game (51 points over 82 games) is his lowest in four seasons.
Let’s be honest. No one thought Schwartz was going to repeat his 2017-18 season, when he put up basically a point-per-game with 59 points in 62 games. However, most experts thought he would be able to reach the 60-point plateau. That obviously didn’t happen, as Schwartz finished with 36 points. However, it took a while for him to struggle. Schwartz had 14 points in his first 19 games, but the Blues were a mess. Eventually, the Blues started rolling, but Schwartz cooled off, with 22 points in his last 50 games.
7. Ryan Getzlaf
Almost everything about the Ducks was awful this year, and Getzlaf’s production of 48 points was a big disappointment. Sure, he missed 15 games, but he’s been injured many times throughout his career and he still managed to perform when in the lineup. His 0.72 points-per-game this year is the lowest since 2011-12 and the third lowest of his last 12 seasons. Projections for Getzlaf were pretty consistent with an average prediction of 69 points.
Starting the season as a holdout made it tough on projections (although the projections averaged 67 points), but many figured he would only be out a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Instead, he missed two months of action. Then when he did sign, it was assumed he was going to get back onto the Auston Matthews line. That didn’t happen with any frequency and Nylander struggled to put up points. His ice time (15:31) and points-per-game (0.5) are the lowest of his career, and he wound up playing more five-on-five minutes with Nazem Kadri instead of Matthews.
5. P.K. Subban
Nashville somehow got to 100 points while only one player cracked 60 points. It was a down year for many Preds, and Subban is easily the most disappointing of the group (although Filip Forsberg’s 50 points comes awfully close). Subban was injured for 19 games, but even when in the lineup, he only managed 0.49 points per game, his worst since 2011-12. His ice time was down 1:20 per game, and his power-play time was down 30 seconds per game. He wound up with 31 points, much lower than the 54 that was the average prediction.
Not much went right for the Coyotes this season. Max Domi was awesome in Montreal while Alex Galchenyuk was 16 points below his average projection. Nick Schmaltz was 29 points below his average projection but missed most of the season with a lower-body injury. Antti Raanta struggled at the start of the year and eventually missed most of the season due to injury. Then there’s Keller, the second-year player that took a major step back, finishing with 47 points, 25 points below his average projection. Much of his issues may have been that the team had trouble keeping a regular lineup of players, but one power-play goal from the Coyotes star isn’t going to cut it.
The Flyers top defenseman surely didn’t look like it this year. While it’s still early in his career, he has all the makings of a Vinny Prospal: Great one season and awful the next. This year was an awful season. Most thought he would see a slight decrease from his 65 points last year, but everyone was still bullish on him with an average points projection of 59. Just to break down how far he fell, in 2017-18, he had 33 power-play points. This year, he had 37 points total.
2. Jamie Benn
What a kick in the teeth it’s been for Benn owners this year. There’s been nothing redeeming about his fantasy play as he struggled in almost every fantasy category imaginable. His 53 points is his lowest non-lockout season since his rookie campaign in 2009-10 and his ice time was the lowest in eight years. Compared to 2017-18, Benn saw a decrease in goals, assists, plus/minus, power-play goals and power-play assists. His shot total was also ridiculously lower (he went from 241 shots to 189). Several had Benn pegged for 80 points and his average was 77. He’s the perfect buy-low candidate: An elite player that is getting older (he’ll be 30 when the season starts in October), so many will be looking away from Benn and focusing more on younger players.
1. Patrik Laine
There was a lot of uncertainty in Laine’s game this season. He spent some time on the fourth line. His shooting percentage was down. His plus-minus was an awful minus-24. Worst yet, he hit 50 points exactly, which made him basically droppable in most points-only leagues (seriously, you would have been better off with Phillip Danault). Everyone thought Laine was a shoo-in for at least 70 points, with one guide projecting 90 points. On average, 76 points was expected. His 30 goals looked to be decent, until you remember that he scored 18 of them in a 12-game stretch just before December. After that, he potted nine goals in 58 games. This year’s Dobby Award winner for Second-Half Swoon Award also tops the Biggest Fantasy Disappointment list.
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- The Journey: Prospect Trajectory Crossroads