Fantasy Hockey 2013: Aging NHL Veterans to Avoid Drafting This Season
Every NHL fantasy sports season is partially defined by veteran players who don't meet expectations.
As 2013 is no different for fantasy hockey, there will be players who fail to meet expectations in the upcoming season.
Where will these players come from, and which teams will be most ill-affected by said underachievements?
Here are five aging veterans that you should avoid drafting this season.
1. Sergei Gonchar, Dallas Stars
Sergei Gonchar finds himself on a new team, the Dallas Stars, in the 2013-14 season. While there is nothing that would immediately go against drafting Gonchar in a fantasy draft, there are some details that must be considered.
Gonchar will become the No. 1 defenseman in Dallas.
That's a problem for prospective fantasy owners. It isn't a problem because of the ice time, but Gonchar is not exactly surrounded by people who can put the puck in the net while he is also on the ice.
Sure there is a top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney. But Whitney is aging, Seguin has yet to prove himself as a true superstar, while Benn has never been surrounded by any big-time talent during his career in Dallas.
Add into the equation that Gonchar (who shoots left-handed) could end up playing with the right-handed shot of Stephane Robidas (who had just 13 points in 48 games) instead of the left-handed shot of Alex Goligoski (27 points in 47 games last season), and it could be a rough season for him.
Gonchar also was exposed as a defensive liability in the Senators' playoff series against the Penguins last year. Gonchar combined to go minus-six over the last two games of the series.
If the 39-year-old Russian is forced to play the nearly 24 minutes per game that he did last season, it could be a long season for his fantasy owners' teams.
2. Derek Roy, St. Louis Blues
In terms of consistently putting up points, Derek Roy has been one of the most unpredictable players in the NHL over the last four seasons.
As a point-per-game player in 2010-11, Roy's stock likely rose despite playing only 35 games. He completely tanked in the next season with 44 points in 80 games.
This past lockout-shortened season, Roy wasn't much better. His 28-point output between the Vancouver Canucks and the Dallas Stars was respectable, but he only had seven goals on 85 shots.
2012-13 marked the second straight season that Roy had less than a 10.0 shooting percentage.
Roy will play with the St. Louis Blues in 2013-14. The Blues pride themselves in a stellar defensive game, but always seem to be challenged to consistently score goals. If Roy starts at the No. 2 center spot in St. Louis behind David Backes, Roy's numbers could continue to suffer.
In a typical 12-team Yahoo fantasy league, there are much more prolific options at center than Derek Roy, even with 24 center spots between those 12 teams.
3. Ray Whitney, Dallas Stars
Ray "The Wizard" Whitney has aged very well, now into his 21st NHL season.
But the magic may be running out for "The Wizard" as he now must deal with the pressure of being on the only real scoring line that the Stars have in Whitney, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
The Stars are deep at center with Benn, Seguin (assuming he's not on the top line), Cody Eakin, Shawn Horcoff and Vernon Fiddler. But unfortunately their top line seems to be the only line with any real firepower.
That firepower has yet to be realized, of course, as there is purely speculation when speaking about how Tyler Seguin will handle the pressures of potentially playing on the top line.
Ray Whitney has a fantastic career shooting percentage at 12.9 percent and did shoot 17.7 percent last season with the Stars. But he had just 11 goals on 62 shots in 32 games.
Will Ray Whitney have enough gas in the tank to not only "drive the bus" offensively for Dallas, but also avoid getting the line shut down by other teams?
Better take a pass on Whitney here.
4. Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings
If there was an NHL "all inconsistent" team, Johan Franzen would definitely make the cut.
Franzen shows up when he wants to, but usually ends up going M.I.A. despite being one of the biggest players on the ice.
While it is true that Franzen put up 28 and 29 goals, respectively, during the past two full seasons, the fact of the matter is that Franzen often ends up taking himself out of the play.
While he seems consistent over the course of a season, at some point Franzen's energy and compete level could very well end up playing himself out of a job.
If "The Mule" does not play on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, he will end up playing on the second line with Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss.
That second-line chemistry could potentially take a while to develop, and it would cost Franzen in the scoring sheet.
The "X-factor" of sorts will be whether Franzen starts the season on the top line or the second line. If he's on the second line, take a pass on Franzen until the later rounds of that fantasy draft.
5. Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey Devils
Jaromir Jagr has done it all in the NHL, from winning the Stanley Cup (twice) to winning the Art Ross Trophy (five times), the Hart Trophy and the Pearson Award—now known as the Lindsay Award—(three times). The 41-year-old Czechoslovakian native is eighth in the all-time NHL scoring list and first among active players.
But Jagr showed his true colors in the 2013 playoffs. He hasn't just lost a single step; he's lost a few steps.
While Jagr might end up passing the great Mario Lemieux with 36 more points this season, Jagr has signed with an offensively starved team in the New Jersey Devils.
If the Devils were hurting for goals last season with Ilya Kovalchuk out for an extended period and Zach Parise not with the team since its Stanley Cup Final run in 2012, the team's offensive future was bleak.
Jagr can now only provide support to a team. He cannot lead it.
Jensen then justifies himself by offering caution to prospective fantasy owners that Jagr is coming off of "the least productive playoff run of his NHL career."
While Jagr will almost certainly put up another 30-point season, the fact of the matter is that there are much better options in a typical 12-team setup. Drafting Jagr would only be ideal if he is eligible in fantasy leagues for a LW/RW designation.
There are much more promising players than Jagr. Take a waiver on "68" this time around.
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