It’s time to look back at both of my posts about undervalued and overvalued players from preseason. I did ten players for both, and I’ll break down each player and what went right or what went wrong. I have to say that there were quite a lot of correct predictions, especially in the overvalued. Eight of the ten predictions were clearly correct, but oh boy was there one big miss! I will not hide that prediction in shame because that would serve no purpose. If you want to look back at this posts, you can find them here and here, but it won’t be necessary. Let’s get to it!
Note: These players are in particular order
1) Kevin Fiala – Another massive tear at the end of the season made this look reasonable. I said Fiala would be close to a point per game, and while 40 points in 49 games isn’t quite there, 20 goals in 49 games is nothing to scoff at. Add in 41 PIM and over three shots per game and Fiala is the 34th overall forward despite missing some time. You were able to get him in the 7th round or later making him a great value.
2) Shea Theodore – Despite Theodore not getting the small minutes boost I expected, everything else went according to plan. If he has a good last game of the season, he’ll finish as a top 5 defenseman. Either way, I’ll certainly have him ranked there next season. Clear victory here.
3) Tyson Barrie – “I’m not saying this is going to happen, but if somebody outside of the top tier is going to lead defensemen in points this year, my money would be on Barrie…” And that’s me quoting me! Well, Barrie needs one point in his last two games to tie for first in points from a defenseman, and two for the solo win. He was a slam dunk #1D which made him a big win for yours truly.
4) Victor Olofsson – The season was a disaster for the Sabres from their COVID break on. It’s a clear loss for me, but nobody saw the Taylor Hall experiment going that poorly, and Eichel missing most of the season.
5) Robert Thomas – Thomas missed half the season due to injury, and when he played, he wasn’t particularly good. He had two assists on opening night and four total in his first five games, but only 3+5 the rest of the way. He also had 21 shots in 31 games. Come on Matchbox Twenty, take some shots!
6) Andre Burakovsky – Despite not playing on the first line for long, Burakovsky ended up right in line with 2019-20’s performance, which people weren’t buying into. Burakovsky went incredibly late in drafts and was a hold for the majority of the season. Back on track!
7) Matt Grzelcyk – Injury limited Grzelcyk’s game time, but when he did play, he was close to my lofty expectations. The plus-minus and PIM remained solid, and the PPP were decent. He was the hold the whole time he was healthy which made this a successful prediction.
8) Devon Toews – Toews tied his previous career high in points despite playing 17 less games and finishing the season with a whimper. Even given that, he finished as a top 20 defensemen. Huge win for me on the defenseman front this season.
9) Anthony Duclair – It was a bit of a roller coaster ride, but if you were patient with Duclair, he was the best late pick of the season. A lot of it was unsustainable shooting luck with him on the ice, but we’ll take it! His fit in Florida was fantastic and now, he could be looking at a solid pay increase.
10) Dominik Kahun – I suggested taking Kahun with your last pick. “You can easily cut bait if things don’t look well after the first few games.” Well, that’s what happened. Despite getting a chance to play with Draisaitl, he didn’t get any PP1 time and Tippett played Draisaitl with McDavid a ton. I still like the theory of the pick, but it didn’t work out. At least it was easy to move on.
1) Carey Price – It blows my mind that Price gets ranked in the top 20’s every year, and usually towards 15th or higher. He’s simply not good anymore. He had a .901 sv% and won less than half of his starts. Even though goalies are voodoo, do not draft Price anymore. Ever.
2) Ilya Samsonov – While Samsonov won at a good rate, he only started 19 games with a 2.69/.902. He was going as a middling to bottom end #1 goalie which was an obvious disaster. Sure, injuries and COVID were a big factor, but even if he played normal volume, he would have been a massive save percentage drag.
3) Keith Yandle – While Yandle ended up playing every game, it wasn’t particularly good outside of PIM. He did pile up the power play assists to salvage his value. He was a bottom end hold or on the fringe most of the season which is not what you want from someone being drafted as a #2/#3. Odds are I’ll be out on Yandle once again next season as a lot of his value was salvaged by Ekblad getting hurt.
4) Ivan Provorov – Provorov was ranked as a solid #2 which I wasn’t buying. He ended up in the range that I expected. He’s a solid player and an easy hold, but his fantasy upside isn’t high enough to justify being drafted that high. I suspect that I’ll have Provorov ranked in the same spot again next season.
5) Seth Jones – Like Price, I’m the low man on Jones every season. He played every game and is still outside of the top 50 in overall value for defensemen. I wouldn’t have him that low because I think plus-minus gets weighted too high, but still, Jones was a massive disappointment. He’s simply not as good as the mainstream media wants you to believe.
6) Oliver Ekman-Larsson – I said I wouldn’t even draft him, noting that he has a natural replacement in Chychrun and he’s a plus-minus black hole. Somehow, the PPP turned around, but OEL is still trending in the wrong direction. Not to pat myself on the back too much, but I think this year’s rankings for defensemen was arguably the best I’ve ever done ranking a position. So many massive hits in terms of predicting breakouts, sleepers, and busts.
7) Johnny Gaudreau – Gaudreau is the other guy I’m always low on. Remember when he had 99 points and three shots per game? Well, Gaudreau is under two shots per game now and while 66 points over 82 games wouldn’t be bad, but leaves him closer to 100 overall than his consensus 38th overall. Perhaps a trade will help rejuvenate him, but even with shooting 18.6%, his season was a disappointment. You can argue I’m 7 for 7 at this point! And then…
8) Aleksander Barkov – Whoopsie! This is a bad of a whiff that I’ve had. In my post, you can see that I love Barkov as a player, but didn’t think ceiling justified his top 25 ranking. Well, he blew by that this season on the back of a massive jump in shot rate and simply dominating at even strength. Barkov was an absolute animal all season long and changed my complete outlook of him going forward.
9) Alexander Radulov – I can’t really take credit for this one as Radulov only played 11 games, and he was very good in those games. Sometimes, luck is on your side and for me, fading Radulov worked out.
10) Phil Kessel – I should have only made the list seven long! My last guys on the list were mistakes on my part as Kessel was a major bright spot with the Coyotes, scoring 20 goals. Granted, the shooting percentage was the highest of his career, but even still, I didn’t want to draft Kessel, and he was a hold for the majority of the season. That said, it wasn’t exactly encouraging for his future outlook to be barely over two shots per game and shoot 17.4%. If he drops down to even 12%, we’re looking at only 20 goals over 82 games.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday with a look back at my bold predictions, and then hopefully the bracket challenge will be set for Friday as well. Any questions or comments, please leave them below. Thanks for reading, take care!