Every year in fantasy hockey there are steals and busts. Here are a few potential busts that you should avoid when drafting unless they drop well below their average draft position (ADP). These players are either coming off of outlier seasons, are getting older and declining, are injured, or play for teams that aren’t great.
Chris Kreider – 26.8 ADP
At age 30, Chris Kreider had a career year that blew away every other season he’s played. He finished 2021-22 with 52 goals, 77 points, and 26 power-play goals – amazing for fantasy. He led the league in power-play goals and game-winning goals (11). In a season when everything went right, and he had a shooting percentage of 20.2, we can’t expect him to maintain that rate of production. He has a career shooting percentage of 14.9, which is still very good, but it should regress back to the mean.
Kreider nearly doubled his previous career high for goals of 28 achieved twice in nine seasons. Considering he almost scored as many power-play goals last season as his previous career high, that’s saying something. Though he may still score a fair amount of power-play goals, he’s not likely to touch 26 again. He would also do better with another top-six player on his line who is more productive offensively than Barclay Goodrow or Sammy Blais. Kreider will have a tough time reaching 40 goals this season, so he isn’t worth an ADP of 26.8.
Patrick Kane – 41.7 ADP
Patrick Kane is stuck in a bad situation after the Chicago Blackhawks had a fire sale this offseason. He has just one year remaining on his deal that includes a no-trade clause and can waive it if he chooses. He has looked out of it in the preseason and does not seem to be pleased to be there anymore. Depending on when or if he chooses to accept a trade, it could really hurt his fantasy stock.
Kane doesn’t have his regular linemate Alex DeBrincat anymore and is by far the most productive player on the team. The Blackhawks are going to be beaten on most nights, and he will likely drop to a point-per-game player or worse with no help at all. Kane regularly records a lot of assists to boost his point total, but with nobody to finish plays, points will be hard to come by. Be cautious about choosing him around this spot as he could spend a good four months on the worst team in the NHL.
Max Pacioretty – 53.7 ADP
For a player who is expected to miss a good four months of the season, Max Pacioretty is ranked far too high for someone sitting on the injured reserve for that long. He is now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes and should play in the top-six when healthy. The concern is health though. He played just 39 games last season and regularly misses time.
He was very productive last season when healthy, scoring 19 goals and 37 points. But seeing as he’ll have just a couple of months to produce, an average draft position of 53.7 is absurd. There are many top-line forwards who will be able to put up much better stats in a full season rather than wasting a high pick on a player who may only help your team late in the campaign without any guarantees.
Claude Giroux – 55.5 ADP
Claude Giroux has slowly been regressing since his career year in 2017-18. Last season, he scored just 18 goals and 42 points in 57 games with the Philadelphia Flyers before lining up beside Jonathan Huberdeau for 23 games with the Florida Panthers. Playing with someone who puts up 115 points will undoubtedly boost his linemates’ stats.
Now with the Ottawa Senators, Giroux joins a younger group still trying to become a playoff team rather than the Panthers who led the league in goals. His power-play production may drop off significantly as the Senators ranked 20th on the power play last season, and there’s no guarantee he will be playing on the top unit. There are a ton of players with more certainty than Giroux at his ADP. Unless he drops a couple of rounds, don’t bother risking a high pick on him.
Nazem Kadri – 66.8 ADP
Nazem Kadri joined the Calgary Flames after winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche last season. He was in a great position to succeed with such a strong team and great linemates surrounding him every night. He even spent a number of games in a much larger role when Nathan MacKinnon was injured.
Not only will Kadri have weaker talent surrounding him on the Flames’ second line this season, but it will also be very difficult to replicate an outstanding career year. He bested his career high by 26 points and doubled his offensive production from each of the past three seasons. It will take some time to develop chemistry with his new team, and it would be a long shot to think that Kadri will produce at a point-per-game pace. There are better options ranked lower than the centerman who are worth taking.
Rankings don’t fully take into account factors like weak linemates, career years, or poor teams, so players can be ranked and taken much higher than they will finish. Watch for these players and consider those factors when making your draft picks to maximize success.
ADPs courtesy of Yahoo Sports Fantasy Hockey.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with NHL Stats News and trade talks.
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