Boom or Bust
The NHL is about one third of the way through the season and it is worth taking a look back at preseason fantasy drafts. You can see my preseason projection for the first two rounds here. A few players have drastically outperformed their average draft position in ESPN standard leagues and a few have severely under performed relative to their average draft position. This article does not take into account injuries because it is nearly impossible to predict injuries and no fantasy owner should feel bad about their picks not working out due to injury. Therefore, highly drafted players like McDavid, Couture, and Parise are not considered busts. That said, these are the players who can be considered great sleepers or huge busts thus far.
Daniel Sedin may be the fourth best fantasy forward this year so far after Kane, Benn, and Seguin despite being around a mid-fourth round fantasy draft pick. Daniel Sedin is producing above a point per game for the Canucks with 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points through 26 games this year. He also has 16 penalty minutes, 97 shots on goal, and 11 power play points while averaging nearly 19 minutes of ice per game. Daniel Sedin has been the total fantasy package this year and hats off to those owners that drafted him.
John Klingberg is a Norris candidate this year and for good reason. The young defenseman has five goals and 27 points on the year in only 25 games. Klingberg is incredibly skilled offensively and has 11 power play points while skating with the top unit. Add in a plus-9 rating and Klingberg was a fantastic draft pick with an average draft position of 110.
Jeff Carter is another player with an average draft position over 100 that is significantly outperforming expectations. Jeff Carter has 10 goals and 13 assists with 23 points in 24 games this year with an astounding plus-15 rating. Those are elite numbers for someone drafted in the tenth round or later.
Taylor Hall has 25 points in 25 games despite being in the midst of a”slump.” Taylor Hall is having a fantastic year and has managed to accumulate a plus-11 rating despite playing on an Oiler team that is being outscored by 15 goals on the year. Not bad for a player that was available in the seventh round.
Crosby has taken a lot of heat this year, but is starting to turn things around. Yet, even with three goals in his last five games he still only has 5 goals in 24 games. Worse, Crosby has a minus-10 rating this season which would be far and away a career worst. In fact, Crosby has had a negative rating only once in his career and that was a minus-1 in his rookie season. While I am fairly confident Crosby will turn his season around, he has been a bust so far for a second overall pick.
Voracek was a second round pick this year in preseason drafts, but had just five points in his first 16 games. He has also started turning his play around, but still only has 13 points in 25 games. For a player that nearly averaged a point per game last year, this has been a very disappointing start to the year.
Kucherov has one goal in his last nine games and only six goals on the year in 25 games. Kucherov had 29 goals last year so he is beginning to look like a bust for a third to fourth round pick. However, some of his struggles has been due to the Lightning juggling lines in response to injuries so it will be interesting if Kucherov can turn his season around when Palat, Johnson, and Paquette are fully healthy.
Jiri Hudler was a popular fifth round pick in the preseason, but has been a major bust thus far. Hudler scored 31 goals last year, but has only four goals this year through 23 games. He was even a healthy scratch last week and has begun to be dropped in many leagues.