Top 10 guys who will never live up to potential

by Tom Collins on May 26, 2014

Here are 10 guys who are never going to live up to their potential

Fantasy general managers, much like their real-life counterparts, have a tendency to become too attached to a player they drafted and have had on their team for years.

We always believe they can turn it around, that these players are just a break or two away from a huge season which will lead us to a fantasy hockey championship. So we hold onto these guys, refusing trades and not thinking clearly to the player we drafted.

At some point, we need to realize that these players are never going to take that next step. Here are 10 such players.


10. Zach Bogosian

We covered this one a few weeks ago when we were talking about players who need a change of scenery. But the fact of the matter is Bogosian hasn’t lived up to the billing of the third overall pick in 2008. Maybe it’s time to forget about his potential, and realize a 30-point campaign is as good as you’re going to get from this guy. It must be especially painful for Jets fans, knowing the next guy taken in the draft was Alex Pieterangelo.


9. Erik Gudbranson

When the Florida Panthers stepped up to the draft podium in 2010, players like Ryan Johansen, Jeff Skinner and Mikael Granlund were still on the board. Instead, the Panthers went with Gudbranson. It wasn’t the wrong pick at the time (most experts had Gudbranson as the third overall pick), but things haven’t panned out that great since then. In three full seasons, Gudbranson has just five goals and 21 points, to go along with a minus-48. There’s still time for him to turn it around, but with each game, it’s becoming less likely.


8. David Booth

It wasn’t too long ago that many poolies were thinking that if only Booth could get on a better team than Florida, he’d be putting up better numbers. After all, he had 60 points in 2008-09, and then 16 in 28 games the following season. But since then, he hasn’t been above 40, and his move to Vancouver hasn’t helped his offence (just 51 points in 134 games since the trade). It’s time to admit that the 60-point season was an anomaly, and Booth is a 35-40 point guy.


7. Michael Grabner

The 14th overall pick from the 2006 NHL draft has shown flashes of offensive prowess, especially shorthanded. But to date, his 52-point rookie season in 2010-11 has been easily his best season so far. As the Islanders get more prospects on the big club, Grabner is going to find himself struggling for ice time. 


6. Chris Stewart

Stewart shocked many in the fantasy world back in 2009-10, when he posted 28 goals and 64 points. The next season, the Avalanche shocked the hockey world by trading him to the Blues in the middle of a 28-goal, 53-point season. Maybe that deal affected Stewart harder than we realize because he hasn’t been the same player since. He had 36 points in the lockout-shortened season last year, but that’s been his highest since 2010-11. He can’t seem to find any consistency from season to season.


5. Magnus Paajarvi

Things were looking great for the Oilers in 2010. They had Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Ryan Smyth had just come back to the team. Their core had a good mixture of youth and veterans. And Magnus Paajarvi had just put up a decent rookie season, with 15 goals and 34 points in 80 games. A few years later, and the Oilers are even worse off than they were in 2010, and Paajarvi has only put up 17 goals and 36 points in the three seasons since then. He’s no longer expected to be a top-six in a dynamic offence, but instead appears headed for a career as a bottom-six player in St. Louis, or maybe even in the AHL. The wheels have fallen off the Paajarvi train pretty quickly in the last few years.


4. Erik Johnson

Johnson is one of those cautionary tales of why you take a forward with the first overall pick in the NHL entry draft (the #1 overall picks since 2000: DiPietro, Kovalchuk, Nash, Fleury, Ovechkin, Crosby, Johnson, Kane, Stamkos, Tavares, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov and MacKinnon). It’s also a bad sign that two of the players on this list are the first two players chosen in the 2006 draft, which actually turned out to be a deep draft (the next three players chosen: Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and Phil Kessel). Johnson has been okay as a defenceman, but that’s not what you want or expect out of a first overall pick.


3. Jacob Markstrom

Remember when he was going to be the next superstar goalie? Instead, he couldn’t hold down the number one job in Florida when his top competition was an aging Tim Thomas, Scott Clemmensen and Jose Theodore. Now that he’s been traded to Vancouver, it appears he’s going to be a backup once again, as Eddie Lack seems to be the #1 goalie on the Canucks. The 24-year-old has a career .898 save percentage and a 3.20 GAA. The future doesn’t look as bright for the Swede anymore. If he couldn’t beat out Clemmensen for a starting job, what hope is there for him?


2. David Rundblad

Perhaps no defenceman in recent years has been given as many chances without much to show for it as Rundblad. The now-Chicago Blackhawks dman was originally drafted by St. Louis 17th overall in the 2009 NHL draft. A year later, he was traded to Ottawa for a first-round pick that became Vladamir Tarasenko. Eighteen months later, he was traded with a draft pick by Ottawa for Kyle Turris. Just this past March, Phoenix sent him to Chicago for a second rounder. The thing is, Rundblad hasn’t show much since being drafted. He’s been underwhelming in the NHL, and at this stage, it’s better for fantasy owners to cut their losses.


1. Jordan Staal

It may be hard to believe, but the second overall pick in 2006 has already played eight seasons in the NHL, and it’s finally time to admit the guy will never be a great point contributor. His best season so far has been 50 points, but there have always been excuses by Staal fans about why he doesn’t contribute more. First it was because he was the third-line centre in Pittsburgh behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Now it’s that he plays with Patrick Dwyer and Nathan Gerbe. However, if he was a great point-getter, he’d be playing with better teammates.  And in his first season in Carolina, he most of the season with Jeff Skinner, and it didn’t help. It’s time to stop pretending what he can be, and accept him for what he is: An overpaid 50-point player.


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