Injuries are a part of the game, but in the fantasy world, they do nothing but bring your team down a level, especially when the player you may have lost is a top caliber player. Losing Spezza or Karlsson was a tough blow in the early going, unless you were able to trade those pieces in a keeper league in hopes of salvaging your season.
With many leagues already in the playoffs, the days of scurrying the wire for steals is pretty much over. The time has come to review the season to date, and pick the top ten fantasy busts in this shortened season.
Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik:
Stats: 11 goals, 13 assists, -5, 125 shots
Gaborik was drafted by many between the late second to early third round, and were expecting something close to the 76 points in 82 games he posted last season. His tenure in New York ended with a bad relationship with head coach John Tortorella that ended up in a trade to Columbus on deadline day. He’s off to a good start in Columbus with 5 points in 4 games, but overall, not the production you were looking for this season.
Senators forward Jason Spezza:
Stats: 2 goals, 3 assists, +3, 12 shots
A back injury completely derailed his season, and in turn, killed your early fantasy buzz with news that he was likely out for the remainder of the season. A late first round to early second round pick gone that early in the season is just flat out bad luck. Keeper owners still have him stashed on IR, but it’s hard to believe he was an early drop in 70% of Yahoo Leagues.
Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson:
Stats: 6 goals, 4 assists, +6, 63 shots
Flyers forward Scott Hartnell:
Stats: 4 goals, 3 assists, -3, 61 shots
Coming off a career-high 37 goals last season, fantasy owners jumped all over Hartnell early in drafts only to lose him for a month with a broken foot. His return from the injury back on February 23rd was an encouraging sign, but the winger has only four goals mainly playing on a line with Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. Recently, the Flyers have moved him to the top line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog:
Stats: 8 goals, 5 assists, -4, 87 shots
Wild forward Dany Heatley:
Stats: 11 goals, 10 assists, -12, 83 shots
Heatley was drafted late in the fifth round on average after a 53 points season in 2011-12, and 64 point season in 2010-11, but now a shoulder injury has ended his season and with it the possibility of him being drafted any where near the top five rounds next season. His point production has now dropped the last four years 82, 64, 53 and a projected point total this year of 28.
Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul:
Stats: 8 goals, 6 assists, +9, 29 shots
When Lupul has managed to be in the lineup, he’s good, but the problem this season are the re-occurring injuries he’s suffered. Most owners felt he was a steal in the late seventh round to early eighth, but his inability to stay in the lineup has made him a fantasy bust in my mind.
Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski:
Stats: 8 goals, 7 assists, -8, 68 shots
At $5.5 million per season for the next four seasons, Grabovski just isn’t meeting expectations fantasy owners put on him this year. After being in Randy Carlyle dog house for most of the season, the former fifth round selection of the Canadiens finally saw some time on the top line near the end of the Rangers game last night. He recorded 58 points two years ago, and 51 last year, but his projected total of 20 this year in 48 games isn’t worthy of even drafting next season.
Panthers forward Stephen Weiss:
Stats: 1 goal, 3 assists, -13, 19 shots
His slow start this season, one goal in 17 games, was followed by a season-ending wrist injury, leading many to believe he was suffering from the injury all season. Owners of Weiss took a chance on him near the eight round, but were not rewarded with any value at all. In keeper leagues, owners hung on to the centre with his pending free agency, but Weiss’ stock definitely took a major plunge this year.
Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov:
Stats: 17-15-3, 2.88 GAA, .896 save%
Not much to say with this pick except yikes! Bryzgalov, who might just be an amnesty candidate this summer, has been brutal to say the least. He has allowed 4 or more goals in 11 of his 36 starts, and has been one the main reasons why the Flyers will miss the playoffs this year.
Almost made the list: Rangers’ Brad Richards, Blues’ Jaroslav Halak, Avs’ Ryan O’Reilly, Stars’ Erik Cole, Flyers’ Danny Briere, Canucks’ Roberto Luongo (due to the fact he wasn’t traded) and the Rangers’ Ryane Clowe.
Top 5 pickups in Yahoo!
1. Jake Allen (STL)
2. Brandon Saad (CHI)
3. Brian Elliott (STL)
4. Ryan Kesler (VAN)
5. Alexander Steen (STL)
Top 5 drops in Yahoo!
1. Patrice Bergeron (BOS)
2. Anton Khudobin (BOS)
3. Semyon Varlamov (COL)
4. James Neal (PIT)
5. Tobias Enstrom (WPG)
Top 5 players traded in Yahoo!
1. Nazem Kadri (TOR)
2. Sidney Crosby (PIT) *Keeper pools I’m sure!
3. Ryan Miller (BUF)
4. Logan Couture (SJ)
5. Patrick Sharp (CHI)
If you any fantasy questions this season, let me know in the comment section, and good luck this week.