This is going to be a two part series looking back at the recently-concluded NHL regular season. To start, I’m going to look at the biggest mistakes in my rankings. Who did I rank too high compared to consensus? Who did I rank too low? More importantly, what was my thought process and where did it go wrong? Despite having the most accurate rankings on Fantasy Pros, there were some whiffs on my end that need to be acknowledged. Hopefully this review will prevent similar mistakes in the future. Let’s get right to it!
PLAYERS I OVERRATED
Taylor Hall (ranked 20th overall, ADP 39th) – Just like the next two forwards I have next, Hall ended up suffering from one major problem. The Devils were quite disappointing finishing dead last in the Eastern Conference. Hall maintained an elite shot rate but only 20+33 in 72 games comes nowhere near paying off value if you took him at the turn in rounds 2/3. I do think Hall still possesses plenty of value but he doesn’t get into the top 50 for me next season.
Nathan MacKinnon (ranked 33, 64th ADP) – Woof. I still love MacKinnon but he couldn’t overcome Colorado’s historically poor play. If they add some talent around him, I think he could be great, but thankfully you won’t have to take him anywhere near the top six rounds like you did this season. Here’s to hoping he’s a post-hype breakout.
Matt Duchene (61st, ADP 97th) – I don’t really have much to add for Duchene that I didn’t cover with MacKinnon. My guess is that he’s traded in the offseason which potentially gives him great bounce back potential. I’m taking a wait and see approach with Duchene’s future stock.
Jason Spezza (52nd, 67th ADP) – I wasn’t too far ahead of consensus here but I simply overrated all of the second-tier Stars players. Teams who make this huge jump from Wild Card team to top of the conference should have a red flag. Regardless, almost everyone thought the Stars would score plenty so I don’t feel bad about this one.
Dylan Larkin (66th, ADP 108th) – There were a couple mistakes I made with this aggressive ranking. The main thing that I had right was that Detroit is going to be a bad team. The problem is that their record has no bearing on the minutes distribution for the team. Henrik Zetterberg (more on him later) bounced back in a big way which really limited what Larkin did. On the other hand, Larkin simply wasn’t good enough to deserve more minutes. I think the recent success of first and second year players colored my judgment on this one. What those guys did is extremely rare where what Larkin went through is more of the norm for young players. I still believe in Larkin but I was way too far ahead of things in terms of his development.
Boone Jenner (74th, ADP 116th) – I don’t hate this as much as you would think. My biggest issue is that even in Jenner’s breakout season, he only had 19 assists. Even if that number went up to 25, it’s still not worth taking this high. I love my goals and penalty minutes guys and I can see Jenner bouncing back next season but he’s a middle to late round guy.
Brendan Gallagher (76th, ADP 112th) – This is another one I don’t mind from my point of view. The injury really set Gallagher back, he was unlucky with his shooting percentage and the power play points randomly disappeared.
Sam Bennett (147th, 210th ADP) – I feel like I’m watching the X-Files, I want to believe! I still think there’s an amazing offensive talent here but with the emergence of Backlund, Bennett was relegated to third line duty for most of the year. When he was up in the top six, he didn’t do much either. I still like the thought of taking him as a late flier next season.
Kris Letang (17th, 29th ADP) – Overall, I graded out extremely well on defensemen. You could add P.K. Subban here as well but I was closer to ADP on him than I was on Letang. The biggest thing is that Letang missed half the season instead of 10-15 games. I probably should have had him lower in retrospect just because that risk was so high.
Jake Allen (28th, 55th ADP) – My biggest whiff in the goaltending department was banking on an Allen breakout. The Blues suffered depth issues when players went down this season but Allen deserves plenty of blame for his struggles. Wednesday’s game shows you what he’s capable of but my expectations were simply too high given his lack of a full-time role before this season.
Connor Hellebuyck (94th, ADP 157th) – This looks worse because I moved up Hellboy late when he was confirmed as the #1. I still love him going forward but I was a year early on the Jets turnaround in the win-loss department.
PLAYERS I UNDERRATED
Artemi Panarin (43rd, ADP 27th) – Maybe I’m stubborn but I don’t feel bad about this one. He’s the type of player like Johnny Gaudreau (he’ll be in Part Two Monday) that I don’t like taking early. Panarin took a step back but it was very slight where I thought we’d see slightly bigger decreases. The power play points dropped as expected, his plus-minus jumped to +18 (is that sustainable?) and the penalty minutes fell off some. The good news is that the shot rate increased. I don’t expect to have him anywhere near season either but he does fall into that third round range instead of the fourth like I had him.
Nicklas Backstrom (50th, ADP 31st) – I made a few too many assumptions with Backstrom. One, I thought the shot rate would continue to go in the wrong direction (reasonable but turned out wrong). Two, I thought the shooting percentage was too high (it was but it was countered by the return in SOG). Most importantly, I put too much stock into Backstrom starting the season on the second line. It should have been obvious that Evgeny Kuznetsov and Backs could go back and forth between the first and second line and yet I punished Backstrom too much for that. I want to say that I do think he’s going to be over-drafted next season but like other assist first guys, I dropped him too far.
Henrik Zetterberg (157th, 118th ADP) – Everything was trending in the wrong direction and yet Zetterberg’s second half was absolutely astonishing. I don’t have much fault with myself given the trends in his numbers but I should probably have more faith in Hall of Fame players lengthening their career.
Ryan Kesler (164th, 112th ADP) – This comes down to something simple. I took into account what I thought Kesler’s role should be instead of what it was going to be. The minutes took a drastic jump up to over 21 per game and he played on the first power play unit the entire season. While he fell off a cliff in the second half, the first half was so outstanding that he still finished as the #21 forward on ESPN’s player rater.
Nick Foligno ( >200th, ADP 142) – Man, did I whiff on Foligno or what? I thought he was more of last season’s player than two years ago and while he didn’t light the world on fire, his 26+25 with 55 PIM and 185 SOG was worth holding almost the entire season.
Craig Anderson (215th, ADP 202nd) – I’m not that far off here from ADP but everyone whiffed on Anderson. We’d be looking at a #1 goalie if he didn’t get hurt. So what did everyone miss? Mostly, it was that Guy Boucher would help this team but regardless, I made a big mistake here. That mistake is that I didn’t rank the upside high enough. Anderson has plenty of bad years but he also had some outstanding years throughout his career. I mean, what’s the difference between him and a guy like Pekka Rinne? Sure, Rinne hits more often, say 50% instead of 40%, but that’s not worth a 10+ round difference. Anderson should have been going in the middle rounds for the upside.
That’s all for now guys. As mentioned in the opening, Part Two will be up on Monday morning where I look at the things I got right and what we can learn from it. As always, feel free to ask any questions or leave any comments below. Enjoy your weekend, hopefully you can take in some hockey. Thanks for reading, take care!