Fantasy Watch: Five Hockey Players Who Lost Fantasy Value This Offseason
The other day I looked at 5 Fantasy hockey players who gained value based on various offseason moves made in the NHL. Today I will do the opposite, look at five players who lost value based on offseason moves by their teams. These players may be overvalued based on the one and three year projections of their value in Yahoo’s Pools, and with other fantasy hockey sites. This is not a top 5 list, nor a comprehensive list, just five players who have lost value in fantasy circles due to the various moves around them.
Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings, Goalie: Howard is still the Red Wings starting goaltender, and the Red Wings are still a good team, however some luster has been lost in Detroit. So far the Wings have made only minor moves in free agency and have struck out in attracting the major names they were after such as Ryan Suter. While I think they will be able to capably replace the offence lost with the departure of Jiri Hudler, the defence is another matter entirely. The loss of Nicklas Lidstrom has not been adequately addressed and there is no doubt that losing one of the greatest defencemen of all time must impact him. I would expect that Howard’s goals against average will rise, and he will not produce wins at quite the same rate. He’s still a starting goalie on a good team, so he’s worthy of being on a fantasy roster. However you should be careful not to draft him too high.
Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes, Right Wing: Vrbata had a career year last year scoring 35 goals and 62 points. He developped great chemistry with the Wizard, Ray Whitney, who is now in Dallas. Whitney’s replacement, Steve Sullivan, is not near the same caliber of playmaker and chemistry with Vrbata will take time to develop. Obviously Vrbata will still get quality minutes and will still be counted on for points on the Coyotes, but the best case scenario here is that Vrbata returns to his normal pre 2011-12 level of production, which is approximately 25-30 goals and 45-55 points.
Filip Kuba, Florida Panthers, Defence: Kuba had a bounce back season playing alongside Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson in Ottawa. Prior to last year’s 32 points and +26 rating, Kuba had watched both his points and his plus/minus decline for three consecutive years. Now in Florida Kuba won’t have the prodigious Karlsson beside him anymore and as such his offensive numbers may drop. Without being on the ice for all the offence that Karlsson produces, his +/- should also suffer. At 35 years old, Kuba would be the a player who I would avoid entirely on draft day. Let some other fantasy owner make this mistake.
Ales Hemsky, Edmonton Oilers, Right Wing: Hemsky had long been the best winger on the Edmonton Oilers. Thats all changed in recent years. The additions and maturation of Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle have greatly reduced Hemsky’s role. The latest addition of Nail Yakupov, another natural Right Wing (to go along with Eberle), further threatens the number of quality even strength and power play minutes that Hemsky will receive in Edmonton. Given his long injury history, he would be another player I’d avoid on draft day, allowing another owner to take this risk.
Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers, Defence: Campbell put up the second best numbers of his career with 49 assists and 53 points in his first season in Florida. It was only the third time in his 12 season NHL career that he scored over 50 points. With the loss of Jason Garrison and his huge slapshot the Florida powerplay has taken a hit, and Cambpell has lost the trigger man on his passes. He will still get number 1 minutes and should still score 40-45 points, you should be careful not to expect a repeat of his 2011-12 season.
I stress this is not to say that these players are worthless, they still have value in fantasy hockey circles. However this value is decreased from last season, and one should be careful not to overrate these players. In fact of the 5, I would still draft Campbell, Howard, and Vrbata, I would just downgrade their rankings… however I wouldn’t bother at all with Hemsky or Kuba.
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