If you're that guy
that drafts your team based purely on last season's stats, you're inevitably
going to waste early picks on players who won't give you the same return this
time around. Don't get caught up in the
hype. Sit back and let the less-informed GM's waste a pick, while you go for
value. Here is a bucket full of players
that may be worth drafting (eventually), but will likely be picked earlier than
Clarkson has never
been known for racking up the points, so try not to get too excited about those
30 goals he scored last year. That number, combined with a healthy dose of PIMs
was enough for him to finish ranked 56th in total fantasy value. Don't expect a
jump from there, or even a repeat. It's too much to look for Clarkson to get
back to 30 goals again this time around. Don't overpay for one good season…
Every few years
Elias shows up and has a crazy good campaign, only to slide down into average
for a couple years between. Last season was one of those crazy good ones. You
see where I'm going here... In other words, do not expect a repeat of those 78
points in 2012-13. 20 goals and 60 points is a safer bet.
For those who know
their history from the other side of the state, think Robbie Brown. Few players
in recent memory have had such dramatic success that is so clearly tied to
lining up next to a superstar. Hartnell pieced together a fantastic season,
finishing 4th among forwards in total fantasy value. None of this would have
been remotely possible on the 2nd line, but lined up next to Giroux, he was
money. Should he retain that sweet spot this season, he has considerable worth;
however, there are a handful of up and coming youngsters that will press for a
chance on the top line. Don't overpay based on one great season.
While he's a key
contributor the Penguins success, his style of play doesn't translate well to
fantasy success. Despite regularly playing with Crosby (when #87 is healthy),
the best he's managed in his 8 year career is 26 goals and 61 points, which he
did last season. It's tough to see him rising above those numbers at this
point. As long as Crosby is healthy, he'll have some value, but his upside is
Vrbata was perhaps
the biggest surprise of the year in 2011-12, coming out of nowhere to produce
35 goals. He was actually on pace for 40-45, before cooling off in the final 6
weeks. This came after a decade of 20-goal production. So where do we go from here?
Keep in mind, Ray Whitney will not be back to dish him the puck. Let others
draft him early and watch him slide back down to 20 goal territory again.
Every few seasons,
Whitney emerges with a solid point per game season on a new club. He did it
again last year, climbing all the way up to 14th in overall fantasy value on
offense. Entering the season at age 40 on yet another new team, it seems like a
crazy long-shot to expect it to happen again this season. He will be drafted
way too early. If he falls to round 10, give him a look. But he won't…
With Campbell, you
need to know your system to assess his value. If points are all that matter,
he's a valuable commodity. What holds him back is his goal production. He
averages about 6 goals a season, while his assists are near tops in the league.
At age 33, he's still a workhorse for the Panthers, averaging close to 30
minutes a game. Regardless of your point system, he obviously has value. It's
up to you to determine how much.
Garrison timed his
career-season perfectly. He cashed in with a big deal with his hometown
Canucks. As a fantasy GM, it's going to take more than one good season to sell
me. A look back at his college career, his minor season with Rochester and his
first few years with the Panthers shows little history of offensive production.
You can't completely overlook the fact that he was a beast for Florida last
season, racking up 16 goals, but he managed just 17 assists. Goal scoring is
harder to reproduce for defensemen, particularly in new environment. Don't
overvalue him until he repeats this success.
Due to the frenzy
that surrounded Suter over the summer, some GMs may be tempted to overvalue him
on their draft lists. He wasn't highly coveted for his fantasy value alone, but
he can contribute as a solid #2 option. He's been very consistent throughout
his career, producing a handful of goals and 30-some assists a year. His
situation in Minnesota should mimic what he was accustomed to in Nashville.
Both teams have a healthy respect for defensive play and lack superstars on
offense to help pad his stats. Another 40+ point campaign is all but certain
The Senators were
perhaps the most surprising team of the year, with Anderson racking up an
impressive 33 wins in the process. On paper, they still seem more likley to
miss the playoffs than to make it. It will be a challenge for Anderson to crack
30 wins again this time around. Besides, carrying a 2.83 GAA again last season
did little to help anyone's fantasy squad. Count him as a low-end #2 goalie for
your draft with more downside than upside.
A case could be made
that Brian Elliot was the best goalie in the NHL last season. The only thing
that held him back from serious Vezina consideration was his lack of games
played. 9 shutouts in 38 starts certainly raises a brow. So why not rank him
with the elite heading into 2012-13? At best, Elliot will split starts with the
team's true #1, Jaroslav Halak. At worst, he is remembered for that one great
season where he almost become a #1 goalie. Assuming Halak gets healthy and
stays hot, you can expect Elliot to take more of a backseat this time around.
Don't overrate his one great season.
Howard has been
remarkably consistent during his three years as Detroit's #1 man. He has hit
the 35 win marker in all 3 seasons. This year, Detroit threw Gustavsson into
the mix as Howard's backup, but don't expect that to bite into Howard's games
played. He hasn't topped 63 games played in his career to this date. Detroit
won't be the same team without Lidstrom, and nobody will feel that pain more
than the goalie. It seems unlikely that Howard will get back to 35 wins again
this time around. Overrated.
to exceed expectations. He's one of the few goalies who provide consistent
fantasy value on a consistently poor NHL team. One man can't continue to carry
the load forever and Calgary has done little to show they're serious about
turning the ship around any time soon. Kiprusoff tends to get drafted a bit too
early for my taste. Too much working against the aging veteran to trust beyond
a bench spot.
Pavelec remains the
#1 goalie in Winnepeg by default. He's done little in his career thus far to
get fantasy owners excited with career GAA of 2.99. On the plus side, he has
seen his playing time, and wins, increase steadily over each of his 5 NHL
seasons. He's entering his prime and faces only a slight challenge from Montoya
for the job. Draft him if you're in dire need of goalie starts. Otherwise, look
With Ward, it's
important to know your particular league's point system. If saves are heavily
rewarded, he's your man. Ward faces more rubber each night than most, playing
behind the pourous Carolina defense. However, if more traditional stats, such
as GAA and Wins drive your point system, Ward may be a bit overrated. Through 7
seasons, he has gone below a 2.5 GAA just once. Last season, his numbers
inflated to 2.74. His job in Carolina is never in doubt, so he will get his
chances. Consider him a servicable #2 goalie option.