About five weeks ago, I ran a list of the biggest surprises and breakouts from this past NHL regular season. Now let us look at some of the biggest disappointments. This can be based on past stats not matching up to our expectations, or players not living up to their ADPs. Regardless of the reasons, this list of players will most likely be a bit cheaper in auction drafts or possibly fall a few rounds in snake drafts. Either way, we can hope that this list of players can right the ship for the next NHL season.
Jamie Benn (LW, Dallas Stars): After back-to-back seasons with nearly 90 points (87 and 89), Benn really laid an egg this past season with a 69-point year. It wasn’t just him though. The Dallas Stars laid the biggest egg of all after winning the Western Conference last season with 109 points, recording a paltry 79 points. Look for Benn and crew to amp it up next season under new/old head coach Ken Hitchcock. Benn went from an early first rounder to a late first rounder, and possibly second rounder, but he will return to 80-plus points along with stud teammate Tyler Seguin, who just missed this list.
Steven Stamkos (C, Tampa Bay Lightning): Another injury took down the Lightning super sniper, and cost plenty of fantasy players. He had 20 points in 18 games before he left for the year, and his draft stock will drop below that of teammate Nikita Kucherov. Stamkos will easily fall into the second round now, and possibly the third round. High Risk/High Reward is a term that best suits Stamkos and his future in fantasy hockey drafts until he plays a few seasons without any health concerns.
Anze Kopitar (C, Los Angeles Kings): The Kings seem to be sliding down the wrong side of success, and need an offensive boost. Is that going to happen next season now that Darryl Sutter is out of the picture? I’m not so sure. The talent is there, but are the players content with the two Stanley Cups they’ve already won? A lot of questions for Kings nation to answer, but for Kopitar, his point total dropped 22 points this past year and the Kings didn’t even make the playoffs, which is unacceptable for a team with this much talent. Anze will have to lead the charge, and get his fantasy stock back up to where it belongs, and with all the love for the rookies, Kopitar will be drafted at a discount. I’d take him as high as the fourth round right now. The Kings lack secondary scoring, so Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli will have to carry the offensive load.
Aleksander Barkov (C, Florida Panthers): A life member to the Gimp List, Sasha has never played a full season in his very young NHL career, which is sad because he is an amazing player. Almost a point per game player when healthy, Barkov cashes in with his line mates Jonathan Huberdeau, another Gimp List candidate, and the ageless one, Jaromir Jagr. The Panthers were the other huge disappointment in the league this past season besides the Dallas Stars, with an 81-point year, after getting 103 points the years prior. Sasha only played in 61 games this time around after seasons of 66, 71, and 54 games played. Should Barkov ever put together a couple of full seasons, his draft stock would be in the first round. Barkov and line mate Huberdeau are both included in this paragraph, and once they both can show that they can stay healthy, the already used High Risk/High Reward tag goes on both of them. Fourth round at the highest is where either of these two should be drafted until they prove that they can play a full season, but drafting them there is going to be a steal if Barkov and Huberdeau do play 80 games.
You can always reach me @PolkaPat to talk fantasy and read more of my rantings at Fighting Chance Sports.