When preparing for your fantasy hockey draft, the lazy man's plan is to pull out last year's stats and pick the guy who had the most points. Many bad assumptions go into that philosophy. You ultimately end up with a roster of one-hit wonders and miss out on rising players. The players identified below likely peaked last year or had a fluke of a great season. While most of these are still valuable players, they will get drafted far earlier than they should. Let your buddies make these mistakes, while you go for value.
Steve Downie TAM
Downie stormed the fantasy world by finishing 30th among forwards in total fantasy points last season. He did so by piling on the penalty minutes, while riding shotgun on the Stamkos bus. With Gagne and other new faces coming to Tampa, don't bank on Downie repeating his good fortune. He'll surely be overrated at your draft.
Brooks Laich WAS
Laich may be capping out his fantasy potential with the good year he had in 2009. He obviously benefits from the talent around him, but he's geared more for a 2-way role. The temptation is to jump on anything wearing a Capitals sweater, but don't jump too early on this one. 60 points is a fair expectation.
Mike Ribeiro DAL
Brad Richards DAL
Richards had a surreal season last year. After several years of decline, he was reborn in Dallas with a whopping 91 point performance. On the plus side, he's got one of the top stable of wingers to work with. On the down side, he's been very inconsistent from year to year and it seems extremely unlikely that he'll get close to 90 points again this year. He'll surely be drafted way too high by someone else.
Mikael Samuelsson VAN
Samuelsson had a career year, potting 30 goals along side the Sedins. As long as he gets his minutes with the twins, he'll have moderate fantasy value. Otherwise, he's a borderline roster player. After 8 seasons, he still hasn't topped 53 points, so don't overvalue him based on one season.
Jonathan Toews CHI
Despite having an incredible year, winning the Gold medal and being named top forward, followed by winning the Cup and the Conn Smythe, when it comes to fantasy hockey, don't let all that hardware blind you. In 3 NHL seasons so far, he has yet to reach 35 goals or 70 points. It's no knock on him as a player, he's clearly one of the best in the game, but unfortunately, responsible 2-way play isn't a stat in the fantasy world. Let someone else overpay for him in the first couple of rounds.
Stephane Robidas DAL
After nearly a decade of fantasy obscurity, Stephane Robidas stormed to a 10-goal, 41 point performance, ranking him in the top 10 in terms of fantasy points last year. Prior to last season, his cap was 26 points. If you're drafting purely on last year's numbers, you'll surely be overrating Robidas and will likely be disappointed when he doesn't get back to 40 this year. Let someone else make that mistake and look for someone with more upside.
Nikolai Khabibulin EDM
The good news is, he's the undisputed #1 on an NHL team. The bad news? Where to begin... First off, he's playing in Edmonton, if he's healthy, and can shake DUI charges. His stats have never been fantastic since leaving Phoenix almost a decade ago. If you're in a deep league and desperately need a guy who should at least log minutes, keep him on your list. Otherwise, take a chance on a backup with some upside.
Miikka Kiprusoff CGY
Kiprusoff had been in a steady decline for several seasons, but redeemed himself a bit last year with some solid numbers, particularly in the 2nd half. He finished with a strong 2.31 GAA and .920 save %. The Flames as a team have been in a freefall, so he may not get back to 35 wins next season. Kiprusoff generally gets drafted pretty high, so you may count him as overrated. You'll probably find better options later in the draft. He's worthy of a 3rd round selection.
Roberto Luongo VAN
It's hard to set expectations for Luongo right now. Last year, he topped most draft lists; however, if you took him in the first round, you probably cursed his name a time or two. After a disappointing season which saw all of his stats tumble, his value this fall has likewise gone down. The question is, how far? He's obviously still a good #1 option. Vancouver will be a Cup contender, and he's the undisputed starter when healthy. If he's around late in the 2nd Round, take your chances.