NHL Fantasy Busts 2016/2017

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    Sometimes it’s not the player you draft but the player you don’t draft, or at least don’t draft too early. Every year fantasy owners jump the gun on players who are past their prime, just came off a career year or are boosted by the logo on their chest. Many of the players listed can be valuable pieces on your fantasy team, but deciding when to draft these players can be just as important as who to draft. Here are Blue Steam Hockey’s picks for this year potential NHL Fantasy Busts.

    For this piece, the definition of a NHL Fantasy Bust was pulled from ESPN.com. 

    Bust: A player who who is expected to be a solid starter in standard leagues but will fail to live up to those expectations this season. 

    In addition, to put more context into why we chose the following players, below are the listed fantasy categories that we were operating under.

    Player Fantasy Categories: Goals, Assists, PIMs, Plus/Minus, PPP, Shots

    Goalie Fantasy Categories: Wins, GAA, SV%, Shutouts

    NHL Fantasy Busts

    Spencer’s NHL Fantasy Busts

    Expectations should be lowered for these guys. Don’t be sold on a name or a logo. These two will cause you heartache until April.

    Tomas Vanek, DET, LW

    Vanek is only one year removed from scoring 21 goals and can still produce offensively. However, Detroit can’t. The Red Wings ranked 23rd with a 2.55 GPG last year and 6 members of its offensive core (Nyquist, Tatar, Abdelkader, Zetterberg, Helm, and Glendening) saw their goal production drop from 2014-15. Slotted on a third-line pairing with Darren Helm and Riley Sheahan, don’t expect too much from the 32-year-old.

    Mike Ribeiro, NSH, C

    Most of Ribeiro’s offence last year was produced on a line with Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg, good for 43 assists and 50 points. But since Ryan Johansen is now the team’s uncontested top centreman and newly-appointed captain Mike Fisher is battling for that second line spot, the 36-year-old Ribeiro could slip to the third or fourth line. His poor finish last season doesn’t help his cause: he only had 3 assists in his last 14 games and was a healthy scratch multiple times in the playoffs. The Pred’s roster could have 16 players under 26 this year, insinuating Ribeiro’s time in Smashville could be up.

    Honourable mention: Francois Beauchemin.

    Nick’s NHL Fantasy Busts

    John Gibson, G, ANA

    Gibson is one of the most talented up and coming goalies in the league and it looks like he will have a pretty good career ahead of him. Hell, he may even have a really good 2016/2017 campaign. However, he will not be so good that he is  worth taking 28th in the draft, which is where Yahoo Fantasy currently has him ranked. This is ahead of goalies like Corey Crawford and Henrik Lundqvist (who you should be taking ahead of him).
    Perhaps the greatest impact on this prediction is the return of Randy Carlyle to Anaheim. If there is anything we learned during his time in Toronto, Randy doesn’t mind letting his goalies out to dry, at least his systems don’t. Expect Gibson’s GAA to increase next year and for Anaheim’s win count to decrease.
    Gibson will be a fine goalie to be starting on your fantasy team, but don’t expect to be seeing all-star results like his projections suggest. 

    Zach Smith, C, OTT

    Smells like David Clarkson. If you’re in a league that values PIMs, Zach Smith could appear to be a potential solid late round pick. Last year, Smith tallied 25 goals and racked up 80 PIMs for the Ottawa Senators. Well, don’t expect to see that type of production again. In 2015/2016, Smith’s shooting percentage skyrocketed to 20.7%, hey, that’s great! Unfortunately, his career shooting percentage is 10.2% (the more likely scenario for 2016/2017).
    If you plan on using one of those later round picks on Smith, I suggest you pass and roll the dice on a different player.

    Andrew’s NHL Fantasy Busts

    Artemi Panarin, RW, CHI

    Don’t get me wrong, the Breadman is going to have a pretty decent fantasy season next year – he will probably still break 55 points if he stays on Patrick Kane’s wing. However, he is absolutely not worth where he’s going in the draft – ESPN has him ranked at 18 (!) and Yahoo at 27.
    Panarin benefited from a very high shooting percentage (16%) and playing on Kane’s wing all season. If either of those things changes, his fantasy stock will take an immediate huge hit. There are tons of players you should be drafting before you even look at Panarin – he’s simply not a player who’s worth taking before the 6th round. 

    Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL

    Kucherov scored 30 goals and 36 assists, with 25 PPP and 209 SOG. Why wouldn’t you want to draft this guy? ESPN has him ranked at 22nd overall and Yahoo has him at 29th- that’s just insane. If you draft Kucherov before you take guys like Phil Kessel, Nick Backstrom, Patrice Bergeron, Dustin Byfuglien, Max Pacioretty, Kris Letang (etc.), you’re going to have a bad time.
    Kucherov is an excellent hockey player and entering his prime, but as a projected 3rd round pick, he’s totally overrated as a fantasy player. If you can get Kucherov after the 6th round, go for it. Otherwise, you’re going to regret it.

    David’s NHL Fantasy Busts

    Auston Matthews, C, TOR

    Listen: Matthews is going to be a stud, just not yet. His average draft position (ESPN) has entered top-100 status and will likely rise given the Toronto hype post-World Cup of Hockey. That’s too high, especially considering his peripherals (PIM and +/-) likely won’t be great. There’s also a chance Mike Babcock doesn’t give him a ton of ice time, whether that’s a product of sheltering or sharing time with the other youngsters. Don’t @ me. 

    Loui Eriksson, LW, VAN

    Eriksson always had a tenuous grasp on the “elite fantasy hockey player” label. Now 31 and on the tire fire known as the Vancouver Canucks, don’t expect another 60-point season. Even if he’s on a line with the Sedins, they aren’t who they used to be. His +/- will likely be awful, as well.

    Brendan’s NHL Fantasy Busts

    Shea Weber, D, MTL

    There are three main reasons why I have Shea Weber listed as a bust this season:
    Marc Bergevin is a bad GM

    Shea Weber succeeded in Nashville for many years, and had developed some serious chemistry with Roman Josi. Then, Marc Bergevin decided to make a horrible trade, and now Weber is no longer in Nashville. Without the superior supporting cast, Weber will fail to meet expectations this season.

    Michel Therrien is a bad coach

    It is widely accepted in society today, that Michel Therrien does not know what he is doing. As long as he is in charge, the Canadiens are just treading water. With Therrien at the helm, Weber will likely not replicate the success of years past.

    Shea Weber is a bad player (well, not yet.)

    Let’s get this straight, Shea Weber has long been a defensive force in the NHL and has been widely accepted as the prototypical first pair shutdown defenseman. However, like all athletes, Weber’s performance has slowly begun to diminish as the years pass. Even though he is only 31, Weber is past the prime years of his career. Weber benefited from a strong defensive team in Nashville, and will be forced to carry more of the load in Montreal.


    While he will likely post respectable numbers due to an abundance of power play time, I have a hard time believing he will be worth a high round selection. Avoid selecting him too close to his ADP.

    Jaromir Jagr, RW, FLA

    I might be the only one betting against the future hall of famer this season, but I’m predicting the 89-year-old takes a step back in 2016-2017. After posting 66 points last season, Jagr will likely be one of the top 10 RW’s in drafts this season. However, with a shooting percentage of 18.9%, I prefer other, younger, options on the right side this year. I would love for him to prove me wrong, but I bet that father time catches up to everyone’s favourite old timer. I’m projecting 18 goals and 30 assists for Jagr this year.