Forgettable 2009-10 Fantasy Seasons: Part 1/5

Updated: April 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm by Brock Seguin

It’s always a difficult process making player projections at the start of a fantasy season but what happens when we think the world of a player and he falls completely short of his lofty expectations?  When making preseason projections, analysts take everything into account – past trends, a previous season’s playoff performance, their team, their age, and anything else we can justify.  We’re defining a disappointing season as a player who finished at a final season ranking about 100 off of their Yahoo! O-Rank.  Here are the notable ones:

Dion Phaneuf

O-Rank: 18; Final Rank: 112
Maybe we should have seen this one coming after he recorded career-low point totals in 2008-09 (up to that point) as well as his first minus rating (-11) and just 4 powerplay tallies, despite recording a career-high in shots (277).  Sure enough, he was still ranked higher than the likes of Dan Boyle and Zdeno Chara at the beginning of the season but failed to meet those lofty expectations.  The move to Toronto did little to boost his offensive numbers, as he was still scoring at the same pace as in Calgary, and he is yet to score a powerplay goal with his new club.  Phaneuf will still be a top-10-15 defenseman next season but if his O-Rank sneaks any higher than 90, he’s overvalued.

Niklas Backstrom

O-Rank: 21; Final Rank: 309
Another injury-shortened year for Backstrom resulted in another sub-par year for the Wild backstop in his 4th season.  It was a sub-par season for the Wild, too, and the shift from their defensive style of play in the past might have also hurt Backstrom’s performance this season.  However, given his age and play towards the end of the year, Backstrom could be a good buy-low candidate.

Marc Savard

O-Rank: 26; Final Rank: 386
Injury after injury kept Boston’s top scoring threat out of the lineup for half of their games.  2009-10 also marked the first time Savard hasn’t reached more than 1.0 point-per-game since 2002-03.  Savard signed a big extension this season and his spot as the B’s number 1 seems secure but unless Boston gives him some help on the wing, there will be many more options at center for your fantasy teams.

Cam Ward

O-Rank: 30; Final Rank: 189
Another star sidelined by injuries right off the bat.  Ward only started 45 games this season for a Carolina team that performed far below their Eastern Conference playoff form last season.  With a lot of those hefty contracts that burdened them this season off the books, Carolina has a chance to re-tool this offseason and put a better team infront of their goalie.  While he may not return to his 2008-09 form, Ward should at least help out fantasy owners with more wins and shutouts.

Simon Gagne

O-Rank: 31; Final Rank: 154
Why Simon Gagne was ranked this high after never passing 80 points in his career is beyond me but that’s where the fantasy game makers had him.  It seems apparent that no matter who Gagne lines up with, he won’t become an elite fantasy winger and his draft position should adjust accordingly.  However, keep in mind that he is in a contract year next season.

Patrick Elias

O-Rank: 37; Final Rank: 142
Elias gets bonus points for his dual-position eligibility and did enough in his 58 games to warrant some consideration but his injury risk and age, 34, will lower his O-Rank next season.  Elias will give you better plus-minus, powerplay points and game winners than other options at LW and could provide good value in later rounds if you can stomach the risk.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs