I recently wrote an article chronicling the top 10 surprise players of the 2007-2008 NHL season. This article is a follow-up, listing the top 10 disappointing players of the past year.
Those of you who participate in fantasy hockey leagues know that anything can happen, which is why fantasy hockey is so much fun. I mean, who honestly expected Mike Richards to surpass Daniel Briere in points?
You'll always get surprises and disappointments. These are my top 10 disappointments:
1) Sheldon Souray
After having a career year in 2006-2007 during which he recorded 64 points (26 G, 38 A), including 19 powerplay goals, Souray made the move to Edmonton. He was expected to put up similar numbers there.
However, injuries limited Souray to just 26 games. Even in those games, he hardly looked like the player he had been in Montreal. With only 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in those 26 games, one must wonder if Souray was just a one-year wonder.
2) Maxim Afinogenov
The one they call "Baby Bure" had one of the worst seasons of his career in 2007-2008. Afinogenov was limited to 56 games, and he only put up 28 points (10 G, 18 A).
Surprisingly, he also appeared in just 56 games in 2006-2007, when he put up 61 points (23 G, 38 A). Fans accustomed to seeing Afinogenov going around defensemen at high speeds and scoring great goals were disappointed this year, when he just never looked quite right.
3) Philippe Boucher
Much like Souray, Boucher had a great offensive season in 2006-2007 and fell to injuries this past season.
He put up 14 points (2 G, 12 A) in 38 games, hardly making him worth keeping in fantasy leagues.
When he did play, I noticed that he and Sergei Zubov played on separate lines during even strength play and the powerplay. If they pair up next season, perhaps Boucher can find his offensive touch once again.
4) Vyacheslav Kozlov
"Slava" has been a proven point producer throughout his career with Detroit, Buffalo, and Atlanta. After putting up 80 points and 71 points in the past two seasons, Kozlov managed only 41 points (17 G, 24 A) while playing in all 82 games in 2007-2008.
He may be getting tired at the age of 36, but I still think that he has a few years left in him and that he can bounce back with his usual solid numbers.
5) Jonathan Cheechoo
While Cheechoo did score 56 goals two years ago, I always thought to myself, "Anyone can put up numbers like that when Joe Thornton is feeding him the puck."
It looks like I was right, as Cheechoo only scored 23 times this year and added a measly 14 assists. I doubt we'll see him reach anywhere near his numbers from 2005-2006 anytime soon.
6) Jordan Staal
He tallied 29 goals in his rookie season, including a league-best seven shorthanded goals.
Much was expected of Staal in his sophomore season, but he didn't deliver. With only 12 goals and no "shorties," Jordan sits firmly behind his brother Eric as the number one Staal for now.
7) Bryan McCabe
Never mind all the dumb plays and giveaways McCabe made that led to goals against for the Leafs. In past seasons at least you'd be able to say, "Hey, he puts up good point totals."
Now that remains to be seen, as McCabe put up just 23 points (5 G, 18 A) in 54 games.
With Pavel Kubina having a pretty solid season, he should get more ice time with Tomas Kaberle.
8) Lubomir Visnovsky
Visnovsky is already the fourth offensive defenseman on this list, but these statistics can't be ignored.
Visnovsky's numbers have dropped dramatically over the past few years, from 67 points (17 G, 50 A) in 2005-2006, to 58 points (18 G, 40 A) in 2006-2007, to 41 points this past season.
He only found the back of the net eight times this year, and a move to Edmonton may be just what he needs.
9) Kari Lehtonen
The future looked bright for the Atlanta Thrashers after they made their first postseason appearance in 2007 while being backstopped by Lehtonen.
Last season was a nightmare from start to finish. They started the season 0-6, Lehtonen played poorly, Kozlov's production dropped big time, and once Marian Hossa was traded, all that remained for offense was Ilya Kovalchuk.
10) Miroslav Satan
Satan certainly made a statement with nine consecutive seasons scoring 20 or more goals.
This season, however, Satan only tallied 16 goals with the Islanders. To be fair, he didn't have much to work with as far as offense goes.
In Pittsburgh, he'll get to play with guys like Malkin, Crosby, and Gonchar, which means we should see an improvement next season from the Slovak.