Looking back again at the 2008-09 NHL season, there were a number of players who failed to deliver on fantasy hockey expectations. We'll ignore the situations that were due largely to injuries (Zubov, Brodeur, etc.). That's a topic for another day. These guys tanked unexpectedly and can't blame the medics. Here are the top 11 fantasy disappointments of 08:
1. Vincent Lecavalier - After averaging 46 goals and 100 points over the last 2 seasons, expectations were high for Lecavalier. Some thought he was ready to challenge the league leaders in points. So, after registering only 67 points and under 30 goals, Vinny qualifies as the biggest disappointment of 08. Perhaps a trade could spark a rebound in 09.
2. J.S. Giguere - Giguere was on a steady climb over the past few seasons, peaking last year with a GAA of 2.12, while winning 35 contests. He tanked big time in 08, winning only 19 games with a 3.1 GAA, and he lost his job in the process. Hiller will be the #1 in Anaheim next season, so unless he's traded, Giguere's fantasy value has plummeted considerably.
3. Olli Jokinen - It was assumed that escaping from Florida will mean good news for Jokinen owners. It didn't prove to be the case. Jokinen dropped to a lowly 57 points, and didn't show any signs of life after being traded to Calgary. It's not time to write him off completely, but he certainly won't be getting drafted in the first 10 rounds next season.
4. Brian Rolston - Rolston scored 30+ goals in his last 3 seasons in Minnesota. So it was reasonable to think that going to play for a higher scoring NJ team would only help his cause. To everyone's surprise, it wasn't a joyous homecoming for the former Devil. He registered only 15 goals and 32 points in 08.
5. Wade Redden - After signing a big contract with the Rangers, Redden was expected to lead the power play and score some points. He racked up a whopping 3 goals, the lowest total of his career, and recorded only 26 points, another low.
6. Carey Price - After a sensational rookie year, all of Canada was hailing Price as the greatest goalie in the world. It didn't take long for the song to change when Price struggled. He finished the season with a 2.83 GAA, a .905 save %, and a whole host of critics on his back.
7. Michael Nylander - The Capitals expected Nylander to continue his point-per-game pace that he averaged over the previous 3 seasons. He fell off the map with only 33 points in 08. Nylander has been replaced by younger forwards and will not return to his former scoring pace.
8. Anze Kopitar - There was a lot of hype surrounding the amazing talent in L.A. There wasn't much living up to that hype in 08. Kopitar took a step back by scoring under 30 goals and totaling only 66 points in his 3rd NHL season. He's still very young and will most likely take a big jump back up in 09.
9. Miroslav Satan - Many people expected Satan's numbers to soar playing along side of Malkin and/or Crosby. It was the first time in his career he had a chance to play with top notch talent. Surprisingly, his production slipped to the point where he found himself in the minors for a month. Don't bank on him coming back to relevance at this point in his career.
10. Vinny Prospal - Prospal continued his amazing up and down pattern last year by dropping back to 45 points. If he holds to form, expect him to get back up the 70 point range next season. Here's his totals since 2002: 55, 79, 54, 80, 55, 71, 45…
11. Jonathan Cheechoo - Sure, he only fell 8 points from the previous season, but it was widely believed that his performance in 2007 was a fluke and that he would get back to scoring again last year. It never happened, and Cheechoo finished with a lousy 12 goals and 29 points. It's hard to recall seeing another guy with this much promise fade so quickly.