Lots of Love: Monaghan
It may come as a shock that my list is only five players considering I am usually the Debbie Downer ripping into players, but I am unnaturally excited about the 2011-12 season. However, there are still a few guys out there who grind my gears. Here they are!
Bobby Ryan, LW, Anaheim Ducks
Over the last three seasons, Ryan’s Power Play Points have gone from 23 (in an abbreviated season) to 21 to 10. Normally I could live with these numbers if I know I am getting a guaranteed 30 goals, but not from the player who is right now on average the 10th player off the board in Yahoo! leagues. Most forwards drafted in the first round rack up more PPA than Ryan’s PPP totals. When you combine his lack of production in this category with his middling assist totals, I just can’t justify selecting Bobby Ryan with my first pick and making him the centerpiece of my fantasy team.
Henrik Zetterberg, LW, Detroit Red Wings
I think I am going to catch some flack for this one, but I think it has gotten to the point where Zetterberg is overrated in purely a fantasy sense. I would take him on my NHL team in a heartbeat due to his strong two-way play and hockey sense. But the fact is, over the last three seasons he has put up 73, 70, and 80 points. Some of this is due to having a shooting percentage below 8% each of the last two seasons, but it can’t be ignored that his body has taken a beating going deep into the playoffs, and he is on the wrong side of 30. I still consider Zetterberg a top 50 fantasy option, but I won’t be taking him if guys like Ryan Kesler, Ilya Kovalchuk, Rick Nash, Eric Staal, Ryan Getzlaf and Alex Semin are still available.
John Tavares, C, New York Islanders
Tavares has put up 121 points in his first two NHL campaigns. This does not compare favourably to fellow recent first overall picks like Patrick Kane (142 points) and Steven Stamkos (141 points), especially when you take into account his -31 rating. This isn’t so much of a condemnation of Tavares as it is of the talent around him. For starters, the Islanders are not a good hockey team. Secondly, the players around him who are talented like Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner are, like Tavares, shooters by nature. Until he gets a legit set-up man, I have a hard time seeing Tavares breaking 75 points. And until the team shores itself up on the defensive end, his +/- numbers are not going to be pretty.
Daniel Sedin, LW, Vancouver Canucks
Hate is definitely the wrong word, as I think Daniel Sedin is an excellent hockey player, but there is no way he should be on average the first player off the board as is currently the case in Yahoo! leagues. Second overall? Sure I can buy that. But not before Alexander Ovechkin.
Last season, Ovie bulged the twine 32 times, good for the 14th most goals in the NHL. Sedin was tied for 4th with 41 snipes. The difference is Ovechkin had a horrendous shooting percentage – 8.7% to be exact. You have to go down the goal scoring list all the way to Henrik Zetterberg at 54 to find a player who was less efficient with his shots. As I have covered before, shooting percentage has very little year to year correlation, and we should expect a big rebound from Ovechkin with this number. As long as he continues to pile up 350+ shots a year, he is the only player in the NHL that is a threat to pop 60 goals. Daniel is an incredible left winger, and led his team to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but this is fantasy hockey, and you want the guy who isn’t afraid to launch the puck at the net.
Brenden Morrow, LW, Dallas Stars
My final pick is going to divert a bit from the philosophy I used regarding my other players. The first four guys are all legitimate fantasy options – I just feel they are overvalued given their ADP. Morrow is a different story. In a fairly standard league, I don’t know if he is even rosterable, let alone worthy of his current 88.6 ADP. This is a player who has scored more than 65 points once in his career, and over the last two seasons put up 102 points in 158 games. If he was the Brenden Morrow of old and putting up a +20 rating with 120 PIMS, these point totals would be perfectly acceptable. However, since the start of the 2009-10 campaign, he has been a minus player and averaged less than one penalty minute per game. It would be preposterous to draft Morrow when guys like Taylor Hall, Michael Cammalleri, Alex Tanguay and James Neal are still on the board.
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