We are at about the quarter pole of the season in Fantasy Hockey. It is at this point that you should be taking stock of your team. You should start thinking about players that are playing much better than expected. Will they continue to perform above expectations or should you be thinking about selling high on that player? The opposite holds true as well. What will you do with your struggling players? Will that player rebound? What do you believe is the reason they are struggling? Should they be a mainstay in your lineup or is it time to bench them? The last question you need to ask may be the most difficult one. Is it time to move on from a player if you have received a trade offer you like. Let’s look at a few struggling players.
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks: How does this man have zero goals? He had 29 and 27 markers the two seasons prior. I’m not sure anyone would’ve believed you if you had stated that just before Thanksgiving, Burns would’ve played 19 games, averaged the second highest time on ice in his career, the most power play time in his career, yet he still has not hit the back of the net. He is shooting as much as ever, so that’s not the problem. There doesn’t seem to be an injury that we have to worry about. So perhaps it’s just bad luck. The problem is, his assists and plus/minus are also down significantly from last season. You can’t trade him right now for anywhere near full value, so you’re just going to have to wait and hope that Burns is just off to a slow start this season, and about to turn it around.
Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars: We kind of knew that he was going to have a difficult time this season when the Stars acquired Alexander Radulov via free agency. The Stars had wanted to move Spezza away from center, and the addition of Radulov meant first line right wing was no longer an option. This put Spezza on the second line, and when Dallas has played Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Radulov on the top line, that hasn’t left much offensive talent for Spezza to play with. Throw in that he just may not be as comfortable at right wing as he was at center, and you can see where the problems are. If Spezza qualifies at wing in your league, I can see keeping him on your bench, but it he’s only a center it’s time to move on.
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks: Burns isn’t the only Shark that hasn’t found his scoring touch this season. Pavelski has scored 145 goals over the past four seasons. That averages out to a little over 36 goals per year. So far in 2017-18, he is on pace for 17 goals; less than half of what we have come to expect. He has yet to score on the power player this season after averaging 13.5 PP goals the past four years. Right now, your second or third round pick is killing your fantasy team. You’re not trading him as you can’t get equal value, but after this week (Sharks play four games), he’s on my bench if he hasn’t turned it around.
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks: Fantasy owners were up in arms after last season when Perry only scored 19 goals after three straight seasons of 33-plus tallies. Well this season it’s even worse. He’s only on pace for 17 goals and won’t have a top center to play with for at least another few weeks (Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler both on IR). It seems years of physical play have zapped Perry not only of some speed, but also his scoring touch. I would move on from Perry. You can try and trade him, and you should, but you’re likely to get much less than what you paid for him.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens: Price has been out with a lower body injury but is traveling with the team and should return shortly. Whether or not this is a good thing for Fantasy owners remains to be seen, as Price was awful when starting for Montreal in the early part this season (3.77 GAA, .877 save percentage). If you’re a Price owner, you’re not looking to move him now. You won’t get much for him but once he returns to the crease, proves himself healthy and has a few good games under his belt, move him in a trade if you can get a respectable offer. This team is not very good, and the best bet for Price to truly pay off his draft value would be if the Canadiens also try to trade him.