Fantasy Hockey: Expectations Are Sometimes Too High

Craig HContributor IOctober 17, 2008

It's always hard to resist the hype of a player who explodes at the end of a season or during the playoffs.  It’s just as hard when a player with great potential is finally put in a line where he has the opportunity to shine.

The forwards listed below are those who have been talked about during the offseason, and who many think may have a huge year.  Am I a hockey expert? No. 

But we all can pretend, can't we?


Mikko Koivu

The younger brother of Montreal's Saku was an early draft choice of Minnesota.  After suffering several injury-plagued seasons, Koivu has finally been handed the first-line center job. 

Anyone playing next to Marion Gaborik will see an increase in points, but if you've been paying attention this season you will notice that he has been scoring without the oft-injured star. 

Look for Koivu to put up 20 goals and anywhere from 35 to 45 assists.  But beware—the injury bug tends to find him sooner or later.


Johan Franzen

The “Moose” exploded at the end of the regular season and during the playoffs for the Red Wings.  In the last 16 games of the regular season, he netted 15 goals.  During the playoffs, he netted 13 more in only 16 playoff games.  For a person who has been around for a few years and played for a dominant team, he's never put up more than 38 points but it seems many expect him to double those numbers.

With the addition of Hossa, I don't think he will get as many power-play minutes, but his numbers should pass 50 points (at least).  He can easily reach 30 goals and 30 assists. 

But will he? If people are asking for him in your league and are offering a solid player(s) in return, it may be worth a look. 


R.J. Umberger

Plain and simple—Columbus is not where you want to go if you want to score a lot of points.  With the exception of Rick Nash, no one has had much success there.  The team is young and shows promise for the future, but there really is no real reason to expect much from a team with only one elite playmaker and a solid goaltender. 

Umberger comes from Philly where he played on the second and third line, and had some success.  Many said he would play next to Nash on the first line—but, so far, no good. 

He should see decent numbers this season, in the range of 50 to 55 points, but don't expect him to become the next great power forward—at least not in Columbus. 


Alexander Semin

This kid oozes with talent.  Finally coming back from Russia, he exploded for 73 points playing with Ovechkin in 2006-07.  Last season he suffered through injuries, and his point total dropped.  Expect a rebound season that will show that he is for real. 

Ovechkin is the face of the franchise, but Semin is right behind him.  He will put up at least 80 points this year, but I wouldn't be surprised to see 90.  My guess is 40 goals, and 47 assists.


Dustin Penner

Penner made a name for himself because he signed a big restricted-free-agent deal.  As a rookie, he put up impressive numbers and looked to be a soon-to-be-great power forward. 

After he went from Anaheim to Edmonton, his goal numbers went down—but his assists went up, to produce a very similar total of points from the year before. 

His PIMs also stayed very consistent.  Is there room for improvement? Sure.  But on a young and exciting team in Edmonton that has a nice handful of young, skilled players, Penner will find it hard to get top-six forward minutes.  Personally, I'm not impressed by him. But hey, I could be wrong. 

I let Brad Boyes go into free agency in hopes to get him for slightly cheaper, I missed getting him, and then he put up 43 goals the next year.  Greed is a terrible thing.  Expect very similar numbers for a third year in a row—45 to 50 points and 50 PIMs.


The Rest

Jiri Hudler: Lots of potential, but can't seem to hit the net. Expect 45 points.

Jason Williams: On a line with Kovalchuk, but not in the same league.  55-60 points.

Phil Kessel: Young sniper who will continue to improve. 45-55 points.

Nikolai Zherdev: New team, fresh start, look out for a big year.  70 points.

Daniel Carcillo: If he can stop getting suspended, he'd be a great fantasy player.  45 points and 175 PIMs.

Jeff Carter: Should be the second-line center in Philly.  Good things to come.  60-65 points.

Corey Perry: Anaheim expects big things.  Me? Not yet.  60 points.

Patrick O'Sullivan: I do expect good things from him.  60-70 points on the Kings. 


This is my first article, so it's pretty rough.  I promise they'll get better.