When it comes to draft time for your fantasy hockey season, there are certain players that require you to look beyond the numbers. For one reason or another, you ought to tread carefully with this list. Whether it's off-ice troubles or uncertain roles within a team, be careful to not put too much faith in this crew.
Jonathan Cheechoo - After seasons of 37 and 29 points, is it time to give up on the former Rocket Richard trophy winner? Hard to say. I'm keeping him on my list for a late round gamble that could pay off big time. Then again, I may drop him on October 12th like I did last year.
Paul Kariya - 15 points in 11 games makes it tempting to believe Kariya may bounce back and be a major fantasy factor now that he's back to good health. That has yet to be determined. Regardless of his injury status, his point totals have dropped steadily over the last few years, so don't go thinking you're pulling out the steal of the season by picking Kariya in one of your top 8 forward spots. Save him for a late round gamble.
Patrick Marleau - There is no way on earth to predict what you're going to get when you draft Patrick Marleau. At times, he's an amazing player who dominates the game. But his point history shows you may be dropping him a month into the season. Don't blow him off completely, but stick to the safer bets early in the draft.
Steve Sullivan - Sullivan seems to have overcome his back problems and may once again be a fantasy factor next season. He finished the year strong with 12 points in his last 10 games. Then again, when it comes to back problems, they could return at any moment. Proceed with caution.
Anton Babchuk - Babchuck was the hottest defenseman in the league down the stretch last season, scoring at nearly a point per game pace. That run was a washed away come playoff time, when he found himself scratched from several key games. Don't be fooled by his numbers, Babchuk will be drafted too high by a less astute GM this fall.
Brent Burns - Some were looking for Burns to become a fantasy stud last season. Those guys were a bit disappointed. Even without the injury, it was a very poor showing in 2008. He still is worth watching to see if he can bounce back, but spend your money elsewhere at the draft.
Pavel Kubina - Kubina had a reputation as a good fantasy defenseman. Every now and then he goes on a run to get GMs excited. The move to Atlanta won't make a lick of difference to his fantasy value. Most likely, you're better off avoiding the headache.
Sami Salo - Salo hasn't put in a full season. Ever. It's just not worth wasting a pick on a guy you know will spend 1/4 of the season on the bench. Stay away.
Jaroslav Spacek - Spacek's numbers are wildly erratic over his career. He peaked at 45 last season with Buffalo. Don't expect it again this year. Montreal is a downright lost team, and he'll be struggling to know his role. I'd pencil him in for 30 points.
Craig Anderson - Anderson has put up impressive numbers in limited action over the past several seasons, and had a terrific run in the middle of last year. He'll get his first real shot at the #1 job in Colorado. Others have tried and failed in this role. With a rebuilding Avalance, don't count on great things from Anderson in 2009.
Martin Biron - Biron was very good in 07 and fared well in 08. The biggest problem is his new address. Playing on the island should be enough to scare you away. Never mind the fact that there are 2 other #1 goalies to fight for playing time. Chances are, Biron will end up with most of the starts, but chances are his GAA will be a point higher in 2009.
Nikolai Khabibulin - Khabibulin had a big run at the end of 09 and kept that magic rolling through 2 rounds of the playoffs. His recent history as a starter is spotty, and Edmonton is more about scoring than defense these days. If he's you're #1 goalie, consider playing fantasy football instead.