Fantasy Hockey: Blues Studs and Duds
Many hockey fans compete in fantasy hockey leagues to further their connection to the NHL. The fantasy hockey season may have long since concluded, meaning it's time to look back and review how some players on the St. Louis roster panned out for fantasy owners.
If your fantasy hockey team was mostly comprised of St. Louis skaters, your season likely didn't go too well. Several skaters were selected in a majority of fantasy leagues and few lived up to their value on draft day while several disappointed.
Fantasy Hockey Studs
This list is a short one which indicates just how poorly most of the skaters performed in 2009-10.
Erik Johnson: Fans outside of the St. Louis market mostly overlooked the defenseman due to his injury and missed time in 2008-09. This allowed Johnson to tumble down the board on draft day, making him a bargain for the production he is capable of. Johnson was labeled as a sleeper by fantasy experts due to his offensive prowess, and he did a pretty good job of delivering during the season for owners that selected him. Johnson's finally tally on the year stood at 10 goals and 29 assists for a total of 39 points - a decent source of production from the blueline. Johnson had his ups and downs all season long and went long stretches without recording a point as he tried to readjust to the NHL level following his injury. Johnson should only continue to improve, but you won't be able to get him for as low of a price as you did coming into this past season.
Alex Steen: Steen remained off the radar of fantasy owners prior to the season and through the majority of the first chunk of the year as he only recorded 28 points through 48 games. However, following the Olympic break, Steen found his scoring touch and quickly became a hot commodity to add off the waiver wire in fantasy leagues. Steen notched 19 points over the last 20 games of the year and gave fantasy teams a nice boost in their hunt for fantasy gold. The forward should see his stock rise for next season thanks to his flurry of production late in the year.
Andy McDonald: McDonald quietly had a very solid season in 2009-10, and was a consistent source of production with 24 goals and 57 points. He likely served in a role off the bench for most fantasy squads and didn't disappoint by chipping in regularly for the Blues, giving depth to fantasy rosters.
Cam Janssen: Yes, the very same player that failed to record a point in 43 games made the cut as a Fantasy Stud. Most leagues record penalty minutes as a scoring category, which makes Janseen and his 190 penalty minutes in '09-'10 a great asset to own. With DJ King now healthy and back on the Blues roster, the team will have to decide what to do with two enforcers, which could spell a reduction in value for Janssen if he splits time. There is always the possibility that Janssen could find a new home, and we will have to examine his new surroundings before we can assess his new value.
Other Blues had decent seasons from a fantasy perspective - David Perron
, T.J. Oshie
, Chris Mason
- but no one really broke out or was a major player in the fantasy game.
Fantasy Hockey Duds
Unfortunately, this list is a considerable amount longer. However, instead of listing all the Blues skaters that carried little, if any, fantasy value last year, I'll highlight those that could clearly be labeled a bust from the fantasy perspective.
No shocker here. Owners selected him as a guy that should score between 30 and 40 goals for their side, but instead he only netted 14. An extremely disappointing year all the way around for Boyes. He makes a solid candidate for a bounce back season in '10-'11, but be wary of this skater as it still isn't clear where his scoring touch disappeared to for the duration of an entire season.
If toughness and grit were scoring categories, Backes would be highly ranked for his performance last season. However, they aren't and the former 30-goal scorer only managed to find the back of the net 17 times last year. Backes did make up for his lack of scoring with 106 penalty minutes, but even this category took a severe blow from his totals in 2008-09 (165).
: Ouch. Some owners spent a lot to land the former Mighty Duck man and unfortunately they received very little for their investment. Through 11 games in 2008-09, Kariya went off for 13 points, giving some the idea that Kariya was primed for very big things. This was not the case, as Kariya often was pushed out of the play and saw many of his opportunities either smack the goaltender in the logo or sail several feet wide. Kariya's contract with the Blues is up and it is yet to be decided where he will end up. Make sure if you grab Kariya next year that the price is right.
The regular season and the next fantasy hockey season feels like a ways off, but the preparation should begin immediately following the conclusion of the current season. Player movement over the summer will have an enormous impact not only on the players involved directly in the shift, but also on the teammates and line mates. Also, keep an eye on the youngsters that should be set to join the NHL roster. Lars Eller
for instance is a nice cheap skater to roster that has a very high ceiling.