Few things kill your fantasy cred or spike your blood pressure like underperforming draft picks or wire pickups. To help you keep your money, your hair, and your dignity this NHL season, we’ve made a list of busts we guarantee will make owners throw their remotes through their TVs. Don’t get caught with any of these guys in your lineup.
Bust: “A total failure, a complete waste of time” (as per urbandictionary.com)
To put our choices into context, our fantasy pool uses the following categories:
Player Fantasy Categories: Goals, Assists, PIMs, Plus/Minus, PPP, Shots
Goalie Fantasy Categories: Wins, GAA, SV%, Shutouts
Spencer’s Fantasy Busts
Michael Grabner (LW, RW) – New York Rangers
Every Leaf fan can confirm Grabner’s 2016-17 season was a one-off. The Austrian has only once surpassed 32 points in his six seasons prior to his 40-point performance last year where he barely played 14 minutes/game and was absent from both of New York’s power play units. His production wasn’t from a newly developed skillset or linemate Kevin “Mediocre” Hayes is quietly incredible; Grabner got lucky. Expect him to deflate and again produce at his career 0.45 PPG.
Artemi Panarin (C,LW) – Columbus Blue Jackets
I traded for Panarin in my keeper league so this one hurts. Artemi is the product of his environment. Alex Wennberg is an arguable improvement on Artem Anisimov, but he nor Josh Anderson nor Cam Atkinson can ever replace Patrick Kane. The Breadman is now a cornerstone of the Jackets’ offense but if you think he’ll surpass the 70-point plateau for a third straight year, you’re dreaming.
Andrew’s Fantasy Busts
Marcus Johansson (LW) – New Jersey Devils
Johansson is a good hockey player caught in a bad spot. While he drives play and has scored at a decent clip for the last few seasons in Washington, Johansson is going from arguably the best team in the league to the boring, awful, boring Devils. Furthermore, he scored his 24 goals on only 129 shots last year – 18.6 percent shooting compared to his career 13 percent! With his shooting likely to regress and playing with a far inferior group of players, Johansson is just not a wise investment in fantasy drafts this year.
Justin Schultz (D) – Pittsburgh Penguins
Taking Justin Schultz in your fantasy draft is really taking a bet against Kris Letang’s health this season. You could argue it’s a smart gamble, but it’s not a smart idea to draft a player in the first eight rounds whose success is conditional on another player sitting out half the season. Schultz had a good 2016/17 when he stepped into Letang’s spot, but with Letang surgically repaired and rested, don’t expect the same performance. Schultz is worth a flyer in late rounds but is not a safe bet at his current draft position.
Trevor’s Fantasy Busts
Evander Kane (LW) – Buffalo Sabres
It is upsetting to think that a player born with such talent and size never panned out the way he was expected to. Kane has certainly shown glimpses of elite skill here and there but he’s too inconsistent and unreliable for a top winger. His off-ice attitude is a distraction at times and it seems, for the most part, he is a ghost on the ice for the type of production he is capable of providing. Eichel now runs the show in Buffalo and if doesn’t feel Kane is a vital piece in a winning-franchise puzzle, Kane’s out sooner than later. Who might pick him up after that? Perhaps the KHL.
Sam Bennett (C, LW) – Calgary Flames
It is probably best to avoid anyone on the Calgary Flames this season. The team’s offseason acquisitions of G Mike Smith and D Travis Hamonic are big but are not enough to magically salvage this team from the depths of the Pacific division, let alone become a threat in the Battle of Alberta. Bennett seems to have never caught his stride in the NHL. He is undoubtedly a skilled and quick forward but he’s not the kind of offensive producer the team needs or expects him to be. There are too many players ahead of him on the depth chart and he is trending towards becoming a lifetime third-liner.
Brendan’s Fantasy Busts
T.J. Oshie (LW) – Washington Capitals
Hitting age 30 this year, TJ Oshie has likely surpassed his time as a top producer down the right wing. While his owners last year might have found success from Oshie potting 33 goals, he held the highest shooting percentage in 2016-2017 among all players who logged more than 60 games. If you applied Oshie’s career shooting percentage of 13.4% to his 143 shots last year, he would have put up a disappointing total of 19 goals and 23 assists. With so many strong players around him, there is a chance that Oshie puts up modest totals, but I find it unlikely he performs close to his ADP.
Vadim Shipachyov (C,LW) – Vegas Golden Knights
I want to apologize to our readership, it seems that the rest of the Blue Steam team has fell victim to the hype train and recommended Vadim Shipachyov as some kind of suitable fantasy player or “sleeper” for the 2017-2018 season. I am here to tell you that they are wrong. While Vadim has some notable offensive production that has been consistent throughout his KHL career, I see absolutely no fathomable reason why this individual would ever be recommended as a fantasy asset of any kind. On the other side of 30, with 0 years of proven experience in a talented professional league, and arguably on one of the worst teams in the NHL, avoid Shipachyov as if your life depends on it.