A lot of times, we fantasy owners only look at the bright side of things.
If there’s a big trade or signing, we often look at how beneficial it is to the players around them. We often overlook the other side, the players — whether promising rookies or overpaid veterans — that get bumped down the lineup.
Below are 10 players that had their fantasy values affected this offseason.
10. Thomas Greiss
Greiss looked poised to become the Islanders’ number one goalie again despite an awful season as Jaroslav Halak went to Boston and Christopher Gibson hasn’t been good at any level of play. Signing Robin Lehner puts Greiss back into the exact same situation he was in last year, having to win the starting job. It’s quite conceivable Lehner gets 55 starts, relegating Greiss back to a backup.
9. Malcolm Subban
Any hope Subban had of being named a number one goalie in Vegas within the next couple of years went up in smoke with the signing on Marc-Andre Fleury last week. Fleury is going to get $7 million a year for three years, but the extension doesn’t kick in until 2019-2020. So, Fleury has the starter’s job for at least three more years, and Subban will be a backup until at least 2021-22.
8. Dustin Brown
Brown is coming off an amazing comeback year, one that saw him play with about 86 per cent of his five-on-five ice time with Anze Kopitar, play about four minutes more per game than his previous five years, and hit a career-high 61 points. L.A. then goes out and signs Ilya Kovalchuk. There’s no guarantee that Kovalchuk will take Brown’s spot at either even strength and on the power play, but it is definitely a possibility and definitely lowers whatever value Brown may have regained this past season.
Varlamov has one year left on his deal, paying him another $5.9 million this season, so he’s lost his Golden Boy status. He’s fended off challenges from other usurpers in the past (most frequently, Calvin Pickard and Reto Berra) but the Avs might be more serious with the signing of Philipp Grubauer to a three-year, $10-million deal. That’s not backup money. Varlamov will be on a short leash this year.
6. Justin Faulk
Faulk’s fantasy stock should have taken a hit way before Dougie Hamilton was traded to Carolina, but sometimes it takes a trade for fantasy GMs to realize what should have been obvious: Faulk is simply not a reliable fantasy option. Although he hit 49 points in 2014-15, it is the only time in his seven-year career he has ever been above 37 points and is also the only season he didn’t miss at least six games. He’s also been a minus player in every season except 2011-12, when he was a zero. Now Faulk’s value should take an even bigger hit with Hamilton running the Hurricanes power play, which has been Faulk’s bread and butter for the past four years.
Konecny had an excellent finish to the 2017-18 season with 37 points in the last 45 games and was moved to the top line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. Unfortunately, it’s quite conceivable that he finds himself on the second line to start the season, or possibly even the third line. Wayne Simmonds is healthy and the Flyers signed James van Riemsdyk, muddling up the top six in Philly and potentially leaving Konecny as the odd man out.
4. Young guys in St. Louis
I’m lumping all these guys together for now, but the offseason had to have been disappointing for the prospects that look poised to take the next step to the big leagues. The Blues traded for Ryan O’Reilly and signed Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Patrick Maroon. This just makes it tougher for guys like Robert Thomas, Ivan Barbashev, Jordan Kyrou and others to crack a top-nine role. Keep in mind for this selection that this would only impact their status in one-year pools, not keeper leagues.
3. Erik Haula
Haula had a banner year for the Vegas Golden Knights, notching a career-high 29 goals and 55 points while having excellent chemistry with James Neal and David Perron. He also took and won the most faceoffs for the Golden Knights. This offseason has not been kind for Huala. Neal left for Calgary and Perron is now in St. Louis. Meanwhile, Vegas signed Paul Stastny to a three-year deal that will pay him $6.5 million per season. That will bump Huala to the third line as a centre or shift him to a wing position, and thereby losing those faceoffs that gave him extra value in some leagues.
2. Josh Bailey
About 76 per cent of Bailey’s 5-on-5 time on ice last year came with Tavares on the ice, which helped lead to Bailey posting 71 points in 75 games. There may be an opening on Mathew Barzal’s line (Jordan Eberle looks to have one of the wing positions locked up there), but whether that goes to Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier or Anders Lee (more on him in a second) is still up in the air. Whichever one is not on that line is going to struggle mightily.
1. Anders Lee
Full disclosure, I own both Lee and Bailey in a points-only keeper pool, and I went from wanting to keep both of them to debating dropping them outright. About 83 per cent of Lee’s 5-on-5 ice time last year came with Tavares on the ice, and that led to Lee posting a career-high 40 goals. He also potted 14 goals on the power play, again thanks to Tavares. Lee should still be a fixture on the Islanders’ top power-play unit and will have top-six ice time, but there’s no way he gets back to 40 goals.
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