As we continue ‘Fantasy Week’ here at RLD, we take a look at five players that you should avoid in your pools that have red flags attached to them.
1. David Booth 09/10 Stats: 28 GP, 8 G, 8 A, 16 Pts, -3 Yesterday we had the comeback/bounce back fantasy players… and those players were on that list because I optimistic they’d return to form. I’m not on that same page with David Booth. I’d be really worried if I were a Panthers fan, after the 31 goal-scorer from 08/09 suffered two concussions last year. To use the old term, he is ‘one hit away’ from getting a third, which could have major complications. I don’t know about you, but I’m not picking Booth in any of my pools this season (unless he’s a late-round steal). But he’ll probably prove me wrong anyway and score 30 goals!
2. Sheldon Souray 09/10 Stats: 37 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 Pts, -19 Two things should make you want to avoid Souray on draft day. One, he has been injury prone since arriving in Edmonton, and missed 45 games in 2009/10. Secondly, his relationship with the Oilers is on thin ice, as he was even waived by GM Steve Tambellini earlier this summer in an attempt to find a suitor. If Souray stays in Edmonton, I can’t see him producing at a quality rate (especially with Ryan Whitney and Kurtis Foster in town); if he does get traded before the year to a better situation, he may be a better pick for your defensive depth. But I’d still avoid Souray given his age (34) and fragility.
3. Olli Jokinen 09/10 Stats: 82 GP, 15 G, 35 A, 50 Pts, +3 Last season, Jokinen put up the worst numbers of his career since the 2001/02 campaign. He quickly wore out his welcome in Calgary, and was dealt to the Rangers in February. Jokinen wasn’t much better on Broadway. Even though he is currently slated to center the top line in between Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay, the 31-year-old Finn couldn’t live up to expectations in his first stint with the Flames… so what makes you believe this time around will be any different? Jokinen will probably produce around 50 points (again), but don’t expect anything close to his 70-80-point seasons in Florida.
4. Kari Lehtonen 09/10 Stats: 12 GP, 6-4-0, 2.81 GAA, .911 SV% Lehtonen is getting his second crack at being a starter in the NHL. His first try in Atlanta didn’t go so well, as he was in and out with various injuries. Towards the end of last year, Lehtonen stole some starts from Marty Turco, and is the clear-cut number one in Dallas going into the 2010/11 season. Don’t let that fool you. Lehtonen doesn’t have much of a defensive core in front of him, and he won’t be racking up the wins by any means. You’d be better off drafting a 1B-type netminder hoping he’ll eventually become the starter (i.e. Jonathan Bernier, Brian Elliott).
5. Tim Connolly 09/10 Stats: 73 GP, 17 G, 48 A, 65 Pts, +10 Other than Ryan Miller and Tyler Myers, one of the bigger reasons why Buffalo won the Northeast Division was Connolly’s health. For the first time since before the lockout, Connolly stayed healthy for most of the season. He tallied 65 points and was a key power play contributor for the Sabres, and was probably a nice commodity to fantasy teams. In a contract year, I can see him staying in the lineup and having a similar year. However, will you count on him having a repeat performance? I won’t. He’s still a risky pick, and there are other centers like him that you can trust staying healthy. Connolly missed a combined 78 games in 07/08 and 08/09.
Honorable Mention: Rick DiPietro Alexei Kovalev Joffrey Lupul Milan Michalek Justin Williams
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.