Fantasy Hockey: Biggest Busts Of 2014

by George Kurtz

We’re going to start off today’s column by being a little pessimistic and look at a few of the more disappointing players in Fantasy Hockey this season; in other words, the biggest busts of the year to date. There are quite a few candidates. Some might think that Steven Stamkos is the biggest bust because he has missed a good chunk of the season with a broken leg. While this may be true, I’m going to eliminate any player that has suffered an injury from this list. If a player is hurt, especially with a long-term injury, you can replace him so the damage could be mitigated somewhat. However, a player who is healthy but still having a terrible season can be a real detriment to your Fantasy team.

Henrik Lundqvist came to mind as a possibility, and if I had written this column three weeks ago he might even be the winner. However, he’s won seven of his last 10 starts and is starting to look like the Vezina Trophy candidate he always is each season. Some Fantasy owners were complaining about Evgeni Malkin earlier this season because of his lack of goal scoring, even though he was one of the league’s leading scorers due to the number of assists he was piling up. Claude Giroux is another candidate for Fantasy hatred, as he got off to an extremely slow start; more than likely due to the hand injury he suffered in a golfing accident about a month before the season started. But like Lundqvist, Giroux has also been turning his season around of late. The same goes for Rick Nash.

Eric Staal is a strong candidate for this award, as he still only has 11 goals on the season. It’s incredible to think he may not even break the 20 goal mark. Maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, as he had only 24 goals in the 2011-12 season. If not for my injury waiver distinction, Loui Eriksson would be the hands down winner, as the trade to Boston has been anything but a boon to his success. He has a horrendous five goals and just 15 points. Hopefully, his adjustment to Boston will move along a bit quicker now that he has recovered from his concussion, if not, he will be the winner in April.

So, who is my choice for most disappointing Fantasy player so far? Well, I’m going to cheat a little bit and pick a pair of players, but a deserving pair nonetheless; the Sedin twins. It was just over a year ago that we were debating whom the better first round pick would be, Daniel Sedin or Alexander Ovechkin. The answer to the question is easy, as Daniel only has 13 goals on the season and none this calendar year. Life hasn’t gone much better for

Henrik Sedin is not getting it done.  Photo credit: Daniel Dobish

Henrik Sedin is not getting it done. Photo Credit:Daniel Dobish

Henrik. He also used to be a first-round pick, but it seems that as one twin goes, so goes the other. Although Henrik has four more points than Daniel does, he still only has nine goals on the season. That is just not getting it done. An honorable mention goes out to Alexandre Burrows. He still has not scored this season, although a pair of injuries has limited him to just 18 games played so far. Let us look at what else is going on around the NHL.

You really have to feel for Josh Harding. He won the starting job over Niklas Backstrom early in the season and was putting up Vezina type numbers before an illness derailed his season. He hasn’t played in a couple of weeks, but was scheduled to return at some point this week before suffering a setback Monday, as he reported to the team that he still isn’t feeling well. This is really a sad situation, as Minnesota won’t publicly come out and say it, but this is almost certainly a complication due to his MS. Harding may never be able to maintain a full-time goaltending job in the NHL. As for the Wild, they have turned to Darcy Kuemper in net of late, and he has responded favorably by going 4-1 in his last five games with a 1.36 GAA. He is the guy you want in net right now for Minnesota, but there really is no telling how long that will last.

So, what did you think of the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames line brawl Saturday night? For those that don’t know, the Flames (road team) submitted an opening lineup that featured their fourth line starting the game. The Canucks answered in kind, and .02 seconds into the game, it was fight night in Canada. One hundred and forty two penalty minutes later, order was somewhat restored. If you had any of these players in your Fantasy lineup, you might have won your head-to-head matchup solely due to this melee. Just another reason why I don’t understand rewarding PIM in Fantasy. One game, I mean one shift, can determine a winner. I’m just not a fan.

The Flyers signed Steve Mason to a three-year, $12.3 million contract over the weekend. Mason then went out, played terribly versus the Islanders, and Ray Emery replaced him. I was wrong about the Flyers goaltending situation during the off-season. I thought Emery would eventually be the starter, but that is not going to happen. That being said, though, just because Philly trusts Mason in net doesn’t mean you should.

The Penguins only had one game last week, which is more than likely why we didn’t see James Neal play last Wednesday, and also why Paul Martin wasn’t activated from the IR. Well they both should be good and ready to go this week. Neal, of course, is an automatic start, while Martin may be more of a wait and see. The reason for that approach is not because of anything that Martin has done, but more because of the play of Matt Niskanen. He has six goals and 25 points on the season, a decent chunk of which have come with Martin out of the lineup. There is no word yet on who will play the point on the power play, or which unit they will play on.

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