The Goods: December Dud Watch

12/08/2010 2:29 AM -  Ian Gooding

So many of our features at – Player News, Fire on Ice, Looking Ahead, and other articles – cover who’s hot in fantasy hockey. However, what about those players who are languishing on your roster, putting up empty (or even negative) stat lines? Here are a few players that I’ve noticed on my rosters or on league waiver wires that could be pulling their weight a little more this season.

Ilya Kovalchuk, NJ

No article on underachievers would be considered legit without the inclusion of Kovalchuk. There are no two ways about it: Kovalchuk has been a bust of colossal proportions this season. Five goals and six assists in 26 games is bad enough, but a plus/minus rating that matches his jersey number (including a little dash in front) sinks his value like a stone. You know that you’re having a bad season when the running joke is that you have as many goals as AHL vet and tough guy Shawn Thornton. I still contend that your best option would be to bench Kovy, but you can weigh in at the Forums. Kovy’s linemate Travis Zajac, however, may not be so deserving of a roster spot anymore, depending on the size of your league.

Alexander Frolov, NYR

Frolov clearly couldn’t make it happen with Marian Gaborik, so he has been exiled to the Rangers’ version of Siberia: the fourth line alongside sniper extraordinaire Derek Boogaard. After a four-point game on November 14, Frolov has one goal and no assists in his last 12 games. As a result, Frolov has received less than ten minutes of icetime in three of his last four games. He reportedly told a Russian newspaper that he wasn’t happy with his lack of icetime, although he contends there is no problem with coach John Tortorella (Ranger Rants). It’s time for fantasy owners to move on, as it looks as if Frolov is playing his way into the KHL next season.

Patric Hornqvist, NSH

At this stage, it doesn’t look as if Hornqvist will match his 30-goal performance from last season. With just six goals this season and one goal in his past 13 games, Hornqvist appears stuck in neutral on one of the league’s worst offenses. To boot, Hornqvist was recently taken off the Predators’ top line, as Colin Wilson, Cal O’Reilly, and Steve Sullivan now form the Preds’ top line. Unless the Predators as a team can catch lightning in a bottle and start to score, it looks as if what you see is what you’ll get from Hornqvist this season. Feel free to drop in shallow leagues, while you’ll just have to hope for better things in deeper leagues.

Mike Knuble, WAS

Knuble might be sitting on your league’s waiver wire after a brutal start (11 points in 26 games). He may have been dropped in your league because of poor production or the broken jaw that he suffered recently that caused him to miss one week. However, he’s back and has scored points in three of his last four games. Age might be catching up to the 38-year-old late bloomer, but for now he’s still a decent waiver-wire pickup or hold on your team. After all, he plays for the Capitals and not, say, the New York Islanders.

Jason Pominville, BUF

The ugly hit from Niklas Hjalmarsson appears to have slowed Pominville considerably this season. A 60+ point player each of the last four seasons, Pominville has a miserable two goals and five assists in 19 games this season. This season’s production drought has earned Pominville a spot on the waiver wire in many leagues, but better days may be ahead. Pominville has points in three of his last four games, so he may be worth holding onto or adding very soon.

Steven Stamkos, TB

It might seem strange that I’m including Stamkos in a dud article, but the 50-in-50 talk now appears to be a thing of the past. Suddenly Steven (isn’t that a TV show?) has been held without a point in his previous three games and without a goal in his previous six. I’d say trade Stamkos while his value is high, but you probably can’t find anyone not named Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin with equal fantasy value. Maybe try for two elite players in return? Nah, I’d sleep easier at night hanging onto Stamkos. For the record, I don’t own him in any leagues – I rarely seem to get top-5 picks in drafts, for some reason. That’s just the Charlie Brown in me.

Daniel Alfredsson, OTT

After a strong start to the season, Alfredsson has now been held without a point in eight games and without a goal in ten games. After Tuesday’s game against Montreal, Alfredsson was speechless when asked about his recent inability to score. Yeah, we’re speechless too, since this is the longest pointless streak since Alfie’s rookie season. Could age be finally catching up to the 38-year-old? Or could it be the result of playing for a team that can’t seem to buy a win right now? I’ll give Alfie the benefit of the doubt here and tell you to hold onto him for now, although his point totals have gradually dropped off over the last five seasons.

P.K. Subban, MON

It’s now three games and counting for Subban as a healthy scratch. What was meant to be a one-game message by Canadiens coach Jacques Martin for poor defensive play has turned into the ol’ “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” With the Habs now reeling off three consecutive wins, Subban could very well be a healthy scratch for Friday’s game against Detroit. Either way, you’d have to treat this as you would a player with a day-to-day injury. That means that you should hang onto Subban unless your waiver wire is well-stocked with equal or better alternatives – I dropped Subban for Kevin Shattenkirk in one league, for example.

Shea Weber, NSH

Weber is another Predator who seems to be affected by the team’s inability to score. The new team captain has a Kovalchuk-like ten points (4g-6a) and (-10) in 26 games this season. Projected to be a top-10 d-man on many fantasy ranking cheatsheets before the season, Weber looks more like a modest third or fourth d-man who will get you 40 points and decent power-play time. I certainly had Weber projected for more than that, which means I’ll hold onto him in the hopes that he will turn things around.

Sergei Gonchar, OTT

It looks as if the Penguins were onto something by not offering Gonchar a three-year contract. As mentioned on the Tuesday TSN Senators/Canadiens telecast, Gonchar is another Ottawa member of the 0-fer club. It’s now eight games and counting that the Russian d-man has failed to record a point. The (-14) also resembles countryman Kovalchuk – I wonder how strong the Russian team at the World Hockey Championships will be this season? You might be wise to trade Gonchar to an unsuspecting owner, as he looks more Alexei Kovalev than Kris Letang right now.

Tyler Myers, BUF

After a 48-point rookie season and a Calder Trophy, Myers is finding his way to waiver wires in a minor percentage of leagues. With a helper on Tuesday against Boston, Myers was able to snap his eight-game pointless streak. Myers has been affected by not having last year’s defense partner Henrik Tallinder to take care of the defensive responsibilities in his own end, so some growing pains seem to be inevitable. However, grab Myers today if for some reason he happens to be available. After all, I’m willing to bet that his 6’8” ceiling is higher than any other d-man on your waiver wire.

If there’s any player that you think I should include in a future dud article, please type his name below in the comments section.

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