It’s a dreary rainy day here in Vancouver, and we need something to fit the mood. So here are some more duds, back by popular demand. I’ve got a few obvious names on here as well as some others that may just be off to a slow start. Thanks to Dan for making some player suggestions on our Facebook page.
Nicklas Backstrom (8 GP, 1g-3a, -3 ranking)
If these numbers belonged to most other players, I wouldn’t even bother including the player on the list. But we’ve come to expect point-per-game numbers from Alex Ovechkin’s setup man. A closer look at the stats reveals that Backstrom has failed to record points in six of the Capitals’ eight games this season. Who knows, an owner who possesses only short-term memory may be willing to part with Backstrom for less than his value, so make your move quickly.
Jiri Hudler (7 GP, 0g-2a, -6 ranking)
The Red Wings were hoping for big things from Hudler after his one-year trip to the KHL, but so far maybe he’s wishing that he stayed in Russia. Hudler was held to less than 12 minutes of icetime in Saturday’s game against Anaheim, while fringe top-6 forwards such as Todd Bertuzzi and Valtteri Filppula are thriving under Mike Babcock this season. Hudler has 60-point potential, but he has never received more than an average of 14 minutes of icetime per game. The icetime stat will likely need to improve in order for you to justify keeping Hudler on your roster.
Alexei Kovalev (8 GP, 0g-1a, -5 ranking)
Kovalev’s name seems to appear on many bust lists this season. No surprise, as he seems to miss playing in Montreal. To boot, he doesn’t seem to be a fit in Ottawa, as he now toils on the fourth line. Offseason surgery may be slowing him, but that’s not a viable excuse if the results aren’t there. Here’s a telling stat: since March, Kovy has just three points (1g-2a) and a (-20) in 25 games played while being a plus player in only two of those 25 games. If you somehow drafted Kovalev, please find a way to get him off your roster.
Nikita Filatov (7 GP, 0g-2a, -2 ranking)
Filatov isn’t just off to a slow start. According to the Columbus Dispatch, new Jackets coach Scott Arniel has placed Filatov on the fourth line in hopes that the young Russian scorer will attempt to be more “competitive.” So far, Filatov seems to be on board with Arniel’s program, which could not be said about previous coach Ken Hitchcock. Shallower leaguers may want to look for another option while Filatov rounds into form, but most other leaguers should be patient based on Filatov’s potential.
Wojtek Wolski (6 GP, 0g-3a, -1 ranking, 9 SOG)
I thought that Wolski would escape this list after his two-assist performance on Saturday against Carolina. However, a very telling stat of his slow start is his nine shots on goal – a woeful average of less than two shots on goal per game. Wolski shot the puck a career-high 195 times last season, and he does receive top-line minutes in the desert. But expect Wolski to be benched by coach Dave Tippett if he doesn’t start to shoot the puck more.
Taylor Hall (6 GP, 0g-1a, -3 ranking)
First overall pick rookies seem to hit that wall in their first season: just ask Steven Stamkos and John Tavares. Hall’s numbers are hardly Wayne Gretzky-esque, even if the uniforms remind us of the Great One, but now discussion in Edmonton seems to focus on whether Hall is ready for prime time. Those who drafted Hall in the earlier half of fantasy drafts may soon discover that he won’t be the impact player that he was hyped up to be until later in the season, at the earliest. But the good news is that he should stay. After all, he has nothing left to prove in junior.
Duncan Keith (10 GP, 0g-3a, -3 ranking, 4 PIM)
Is this the same Duncan Keith that won an Olympic gold medal, a Stanley Cup, and the Norris Trophy? I’m tempted to say that Keith will turn it around, considering he still nears 30 minutes of icetime per night. However, one look at his point totals shows that his 69 points from last season is 25 points higher than his career high from his previous four seasons. Watching Keith, I know that he is an elite defenseman. But my argument is that those who drafted him in the second or third round in fantasy drafts may have grabbed him a little too early based on one season’s results.
Drew Doughty (5 GP, 0g-1a, +2 ranking, 6 PIM)
I mentioned that I wouldn’t include injured players in here, but I’ll focus on Doughty’s production, or lack thereof, before his injury. Many fantasy teams used a third-round (or even a second-round pick) on the Kings’ d-man, who had not produced at last season’s rate. Now rumors are swirling that Doughty is dealing with a concussion, which simply lowers his value. Move him to your bench or IR at the earliest opportunity.
Kimmo Timonen (7 GP, 0g-0a, -3 ranking)
Timonen is one of those d-men that I tend to grab in the late rounds of fantasy drafts, since he can produce on the power play. But the simple fact is that you can’t produce power-play points if you can’t produce, well, points (am I stating the obvious yet?) There’s nothing really wrong: Timonen still gets his 25 minutes of icetime per game. But expect 40 points tops this season.
Jay Bouwmeester (7 GP, 0g-1a, +2 ranking, 8 PIM)
As much as Flames brass doesn’t want to admit it and Mike Peca does, J-Bo has not been the horse that Calgary fans and fantasy owners hoped he would be. J-Bo only needed his seventh game to notch his first point of the season, a 6-2 win over Columbus in which everyone in a Flames jersey managed to find the scoresheet. J-Bo might be one of the league’s most overrated players, and with 29 points last season, he’s pretty well a borderline fantasy option.
Martin Brodeur (2-5-1, 2.69 GAA, .906 SV%, 2 SO)
Is Brodeur on the decline? This respondent in the Forums seems to think so. The record is indicative of the Devils’ play so far this season, which even $100 million man Ilya Kovalchuk has not been protected from. It seems to have been all or nothing for Marty this season, as both of his wins have also been shutouts. The Devils are currently tied for last in NHL scoring, so when the $100 million investment starts to pay off, so will the goals for the Devils and the subsequent wins for Marty.
I’ll let David Satriano cover a few more goalie duds in his forthcoming installment of “The Net Effect.”
Do you have a question about your fantasy hockey team? Email Ian at email@example.com, and he’ll add it to the Fantasy Mailbag. Or follow fantasyhockey.com on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates, general hockey discussion, and any fantasy hockey questions that you have. You can also become a fan on Facebook.