Last Thursday, I took a look at some players who are looking at a bump in production next campaign. But we need a Yin to that column’s Yang. So let’s take a look at some players who may be in a little over their heads right now. I’m not really sure how to best go about ranking a projected decline, so I’ll present these ones alphabetically.
10. Pascal Dupuis, Pittsburgh Penguins
Who would have thought Dupuis would be tied for 61st in points? Dupuis showed he had this kind of promise as a sophomore, when he tallied 48 points, but he got some bad advice and held out for the right contract after that big season. He was never able to get back on track, establishing himself as a 38-point player who brings lots of intangibles. But now he’s found that magic touch again, clicking nicely on a line with the talented Jordan Staal. That being said, Dupuis has been far too long in that 40-point range to be doing this well. And you should never pick a player who relies so heavily on his linemates.
9. Patrik Elias, New Jersey Devils
Elias, who turns 36 in a week, is polishing off the fourth-most productive season of his career (and with a strong finish, he could make it his third). At this stage, his comfort zone is closer to the low 60s than the high 70s.
8. Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils
Henrique is a promising young player who has proven to be clutch, scoring when the team needs it most. Within a few years he will have worked his way up to being a reliable 65-point player, but his hot start skewed this year’s numbers and Travis Zajac won’t be sidelined with Achilles tendon problems next year. Look for a 10-point drop from this year’s final number.
7. Olli Jokinen, Calgary Flames
Jokinen enjoyed a bit of a rebound once he returned to Calgary. But for three seasons prior he produced in that 50-57 range. If he doesn’t sign with Calgary again, which personally I don’t see, then on most other teams he’ll see a decline.
6. Milan Michalek, Ottawa Senators
This one is strictly injury-based. In the past four seasons, including this one, Michalek has missed five games twice and 16 games twice. Just play the odds here. You know he’ll miss time. If it’s five games, such as with this season, then getting back to 60 points is doable – even likely. But that’s the best-case scenario and you should never run your team based on best-case scenarios. Count on 10 games missed and 50 to 55 points.
5. PA Parenteau, New York Islanders
I like Parenteau, mostly because I like a good underdog. And is there a better underdog then a career AHLer who had only played 27 NHL games by the age of 27? If everything is equal, Parenteau will repeat his fantastic numbers. The problem is everything won’t be equal. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and on another team I don’t place a lot of stock in him thriving the way he is on the Island. If he re-signs with the Isles, it may not be quite as ideal for him in 2012-13. With Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo finally finding their mojo and Ryan Strome likely making the team in the fall, Parenteau won’t have ice time handed to him the way he does now.
4. Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres
Pominville is comfortable in that 60-point range, even though he’s had an 80- and now a 70-point season. When the Sabres need him to lead the way offensively, he’s there. When they need him to provide secondary offense while providing the intangibles, he does that, too. With the young guns taking over the team’s offense (later than I thought they would, I’ll admit), I suspect Pominville will go back to a secondary scoring/leadership role.
3. Vinny Prospal, Columbus Blue Jackets
His legendary up/down seasonal trends continue, but the ups are no longer getting as high. Still, it’s amazing how consistent he’s been. Check out his season totals, beginning with 2001-02 through to this year:
55, 79, 54, 80, 55, 71, 45, 58, 23, 51
Have you ever seen anything like that? Low-high, low-high…he’s looking at 40 points next year at best.
2. Michael Ryder, Dallas Stars
With a career high in goals (35 and counting) and almost there for points (62 – his best was 63 back in 2004), Ryder is certainly enjoying his new team. In Montreal, after that big 63-point rookie season, he never got there again. And in Boston, after a 53-point debut he never got there again, either. He makes an immediate splash with a new team and then fades.
1. Ray Whitney, Phoenix Coyotes
Whitney is creating chaos in my logical mind. If a player is pushing 40 and he’s never been in the top 15 in scoring, he shouldn’t be in the top 15 in scoring. But here we are. Father Time can make things right by turning Whitney into a mere mortal again and having his production slip back to a more fitting 55 points.
Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section. Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.