NHL Fantasy: Biggest disappointments from each division from the first half of the season

As we are now in the second half of the NHL season, playoff races in fantasy hockey are starting to heat up. With only a handful of weeks left before the fantasy playoffs, fantasy managers will begin taking stock of their current teams to check for any possible improvements before the playoffs begin. It also gives managers a good chance to look back on players they drafted who may not have lived up to expectations thus far.

A couple weeks ago we took a look at the biggest surprises in fantasy from each division, and today we’ll take a look at the opposite. The biggest disappointments from each division so far. For every positive surprise player, there will be the exact opposite in a player who vastly underachieves expectations.

Here are the three biggest disappointments in fantasy from each division as we enter the final two months of the season. My condolences if you drafted any Montreal Canadiens.

Atlantic Division

Montreal Canadiens – Jeff Petry – D

Preseason rank: 136 | Current rank: 417

After a huge breakout and career year last season, Jeff Petry came into the 2021–22 with some lofty expectations. The Canadiens defender posted 41 points in 55 games last season, good for seventh among all defenceman. For that reason, he was being drafted as the 21st defenceman off the board in Yahoo! drafts coming into the season.

Like the rest of his Canadiens teammates, the 2021–22 season has been a train wreck for Petry. He’s posted just 11 points in 45 games thus far, which ranks 121st among defencemen league wide. That total actually ranks fourth among Canadiens defenceman, behind the likes of Ben Chiarot and Chris Wideman. To say it’s been a disappointing year for Petry would be an understatement.

Montreal Canadiens – Cole Caufield – RW

Preseason rank: 91 | Current rank: 362

Cole Caufield garnered massive hype coming into the season after his impressive playoff run last year. No one would’ve expected him to struggle this much in 2021–22. Up until February 9, Caufield had produced just one single goal and eight points in 30 games. A shocking total for a player being selected as the 59th forward in Yahoo! drafts. He was even sent down to the AHL at one point.

Under new coach Martin St. Louis, Caufield has posted six goals and 10 points in just six games so there’s still hope for him to provide some value down the stretch if you held onto him until now. Regardless, the fact Caufield had just one goal on the season until February 10 is a massive disappointment for fantasy managers who expected big things from him this year.

Montreal Canadiens – Brendan Gallagher – RW

Preseason rank: 127 | Current rank: 461

A clean sweep for the Canadiens as Brendan Gallagher rounds out the list in the Atlantic. Like Petry and Caufield, Gallagher is having a dreadful season. After posting 14 goals and 23 points in 35 games last year, Gallagher was being drafted as the 101st forward in Yahoo! drafts.

This season he has just 11 points in 35 games, which ranks 312th in the NHL. After being on pace for at least 30 goals the previous four seasons, Gallagher is on pace for a career worst eight goals this season. He’s also provided just 2.4 shots per game this season, after posting an average of 3.4 the last two seasons. He’s battled some injuries and plays for a terrible team, but his production is still a big disappointment.

Metropolitan Division

Carolina Hurricanes – Martin Necas – RW

Preseason rank: 90 | Current rank: 226

Martin Necas was one of the surprise breakout players of the 2020–21 season, as he posted a career-best 41 points in 53 games. As such, he was being drafted as the 55th forward in Yahoo! drafts. So far he hasn’t lived up to those expectations at all despite the Hurricanes sitting near the top of the league.

Necas sits with a respectable 27 points in 46 games this year, however that total is far off of what fantasy managers expected when they drafted him at his ADP of 99. His 27 points currently ranks fifth among Hurricanes forwards and he’s averaging 16:27 TOI this season after averaging 17:17 last season. He’s currently on pace to produce just 46 points in 78 games, which is a huge letdown from a forward selected with a top 100 pick.

NY Rangers – Alexis Lafreniere – RW

Preseason rank: 134 | Current rank: 342

To say the start of Alexis Lafreniere’s career has been a disappointment would be an understatement. After a rough rookie season with just 21 points in 56 games last year, fantasy managers clearly expected a better season for the former first overall pick, as he was being drafted as the 104th forward in Yahoo! drafts. The bet hasn’t paid off.

Lafreniere currently has just 15 points in 49 games which ranks 340th in the NHL. Yikes. His current points per game of 0.30 is actually worse than his total last year of 0.37. He’s on pace to produce just 24 points in 80 games this season, which isn’t even close to being fantasy relevant. Odds are if you took a gamble on Lafrieniere in your draft this year, he’s not even on your roster anymore.

NY Islanders – Semyon Varlamov – G

Preseason rank: 48 | Current rank: 574

After one of the best seasons of his career last season, it’s been a tough 2021–22 season for Semyon Varlamov. The veteran goalie has battled injuries and COVID-19 which has limited him to just 13 starts thus far. Even when he has played, wins have been tough to come by on a struggling Islanders team.

Last season Varlamov ranked 10th in the NHL for wins, first for shutouts, and second for save percentage (among goalies with at least 15 starts). Coming into the season he was being drafted as the eighth goalie in Yahoo! drafts. Four months into the season he sits with an ugly 3–9–1 record and ranks 65th among goalies for wins. At this point, he’s lost his starting role to Ilya Sorokin, and holds a fraction of the value he did coming out of the draft.

Central Division

St. Louis Blues – David Perron – RW/LW

Preseason rank: 110 | Current rank: 229

The St. Louis Blues David Perron posted the first point-per-game season of his career in 2020–21, so his stock coming into this season was expectedly high. He was being drafted as the 57th forward in Yahoo! drafts, but has failed to live up to that draft spot.

So far Perron has posted just 24 points in 37 games, a respectable pace but one that is way off his 1.03 points per game pace of last season. His current pace of 44 points in 69 games would be his lowest point total since the 2015–16 season when he posted 36 points in 61 games. Perron is still a useable fantasy option, but nowhere near the elite one he was last season.

Dallas Stars – Alexander Radulov – RW

Preseason rank: 77 | Current rank: 443

It’s been a brutal year for multiple Stars veteran forwards. In particular, Alexander Radulov has seen his offence completely disappear this season. Radulov had posted 72 point seasons twice in the past four years, and had 12 points in 11 games last year before getting injured.

This year however, he’s somehow only managed a measly two goals and 16 points 45 games. His 16 points rank 338th in the NHL. For a player drafted at an ADP of 88 and as the 48th forward in drafts, his production has been disaster for anyone that drafted him. He sits at just 36% owned in Yahoo! leagues now and is barely worth rostering.

Chicago Blackhawks – Marc-Andre Fleury – G

Preseason rank: 50 | Current rank: 60

Although his current rank isn’t far of his preseason rank, fantasy managers who drafted Marc-Andre Fleury can’t help but be disappointed. As the 7th goalie drafted in Yahoo! leagues, Fleury’s production hasn’t been anywhere close to what was expected of him.

So far this season Fleury sits with a losing record of 16–18–4, with a .912 save percentage and 2.80 GAA. His 16 wins in 38 games currently ranks 21st in the NHL. His GAA ranks 27th among goalies with at least 15 starts. The results aren’t all Fleury’s fault as the Blackhawks are not a good team, but for a goalie being drafted in the fourth round, his results have come up well short so far. Fantasy managers can hope he’s dealt to a better team at the deadline.

Pacific Division

Arizona Coyotes – Jakob Chychrun – D

Preseason rank: 86 | Current rank: 441

There may not be a more disappointing season in fantasy hockey in 2021–22 than that of Jakob Chychrun. Coming off a tremendous 2020–21 season in which he led all defencemen in goals with 18 and finished 10th for points with 41, Chychrun deservedly had a ton of hype coming into this season. Instead his offence has completely evaporated on a terrible Coyotes team.

So far in 2021–22 Chychrun has managed just two goals and 11 points in 40 games. His 11 points rank 127th in the NHL among defencemen, while his two goals rank 133rd. It’s not all his fault considering he plays for a team that actively tried to get worse this offseason, but regardless his production has been stunningly bad. The only hope for fantasy managers now is that he ends up on a contender at the trade deadline so his season isn’t completely lost.

Seattle Kraken – Phillip Grubauer – G

Preseason rank: 70 | Current rank: 217

After a huge season as one of the league’s top fantasy goalies in 2020–21, the hype was understandably high for Phillip Grubauer when he signed a huge contract to become the Kraken’s bonafide starter. He was being picked as the 14th goalie in Yahoo! drafts, which has backfired in a huge way for whoever drafted him.

Grubauer has had a terrible season, sitting with an 11–22–5 record, 0.888 save percentage and 3.17 GAA. Among goalies with at least 15 starts he ranks 29th for wins, 49th for save percentage, and 39th for GAA. His -29 goals saved above expected is 15 worse than any other goalie in the league. There isn’t much else to say. The Kraken have been a huge disappointment this season, and one of the main reasons for that has been Grubauer’s rough season.

Edmonton Oilers – Tyson Barrie – D

Preseason rank: 61 | Current rank: 314

After the best season of his career offensively in 2020–21, the expectation was that Tyson Barrie would continue to produce at the same rate after sticking around to play with the Oilers high-powered offence. Instead he’s seen his production drop as his role on the Oilers has severely diminished.

Last season Barrie put up 48 points in 56 games, which led all defencemen in the NHL. This year, he has just 21 points in 45 games, a total that ranks 54th among defencemen. In fact he even ranks third on his own team for points by defenders. He’s also seen his ice time drop considerably, from 21:54 last season to just 19:15 this year which ranks fifth on the Oilers. After being drafted as the 12th defenceman in Yahoo! drafts, Barrie’s had an incredibly underwhelming season.

Hit or miss

Just like real life drafts, fantasy drafts can be hit or miss. At times players who garnered big hype coming off career-best seasons see their draft stock rise only to fall well short of expectations. If you were unlucky enough to draft one of the above players, all you can do is take your losses and hope they still provide some value down the stretch.

Ahead of tonight’s Flames contest, the bookies have predicted the Flames as the underdog, with Betway Sports pricing the Flames at +175 and the Wild at -120 to win the game in regulation, with an overtime decision being priced at +380.

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