Now that most NHL teams are on the 10-game mark of the season, Fantasy GMs are trying to get a feel for where they stand with their team.
It is not easy. It looks like there are more than the usual number of top-star injuries this year, and the Covid protocols are eliminating quite a few players as well.
Add in a few disappointments, and it’s easy to see why some fanciful CEOs find themselves full of pessimism. Anyone with a bad game is awful and you curse yourself for even thinking about owning that player.
Some other CEOs are still optimistic; even though their team are currently in eighth place they believe they can come back as they have been very lucky so far with injuries and slow starts.
Below are 10 players who have had disappointing starts so far. Instead of the usual list of poor player performance, we’ll look at each player from the perspective of the optimist and the pessimist.
10. Thomas Chabot
The pessimist might say: Chabot has three points in 11 games (a pace of 82 games of 22 points) and zero points in his last five games. He’s the best powerplay quarterback since taking on the role four seasons ago, but he’s not producing with the man advantage.
The optimist might say: His 27:11 average ice time is the league’s longest heading into Sunday’s action, and there’s no one to usurp this men’s advantage unit this season. He’s a career-high 2.9 shots per game and is a bit underrated when it comes to hits and blocked shots. Offensive defensemen are notoriously marked, but there’s a reason Chabot has clocked an 82-game pace of at least 45 points in each of the past three seasons.
9. Roope Hintz
The pessimist might say: Hintz has one point in 10 games heading into Sunday night’s game, and his ice time has come down to 4:17 PM a night, almost two minutes less a night than a season ago. His power play time is also down by one minute per night.
The optimist might say: He’s shooting the puck more than ever, averaging 2.6 shots per game. His ice time was actually down in the first few games, but he hit just over 18 minutes a night in his last six games. He’s also been with Jason Robertson for those six games, as opposed to Jacob Peterson.
8. Ivan Provorov
The pessimist might say: The Flyers never trust him to execute a power play, always preferring to call in specialists and relegating Provorov to second unit. With zero goals and two assists in 10 games, he’s just not performing well. His 1.5 shots per game are also detrimental to fantasy hockey.
The optimist might say: He’s still averaging nearly 25 minutes per game and resumed his role with the top power-play unit throughout November, so don’t expect that slow start to continue for long. He also has 28 blocked shots in 10 games, which was the league’s top 10 heading into Sunday’s action (everyone else in the top 10 has played more games) and just four from the league lead.
7. Kaapo Kakko
The pessimist might say: The guy is a tramp. After two mediocre seasons, Kakko showed no offensive flair. He doesn’t shoot the puck, hit or block shots. He does not accumulate any points and is pretty much useless in fantasy hockey.
The optimist might say: While he’s clearly struggling, the coaching staff believe he has a ton of perks and talent, as around 90% of all of Kakko’s five-on-five shifts have been with Artemi Panarin. The Rangers also had a rough start to the season, with nine of their first 12 road games. The ability to match the lines that comes with the home ice advantage and keep playing with Panarin could help lead to a Kakko breakout soon.
6. Jakob Chychrun
The pessimist might say: The Coyotes are vying for one of the worst teams in the salary cap era. Aside from Shayne Gostisbehere, the other members of the team take little offense. The team’s three power play goals are tied for second. With one point in 12 games and a minus-20, Chychrun will end up with the worst minus / points ratio in NHL history at this rate.
The optimist might say: He’s still a beast in the grain categories, with 20 PIMs, 35 shots, 21 hits, and 15 blocked shots in 12 games. It’s averaging 24 hours a day per night, and you have to understand that the team’s offense can’t be this putrid all season.
5. John Klingberg
The pessimist might say: Even though he missed a few games early in the campaign, Klingberg has just two points in six games since returning to action on Sunday night. His average ice time is down one minute per game from a season ago, and his power play ice time has dropped from 3:01 a year ago to 1:53 this season.
The optimist might say: His ice time is actually down a bit thanks to the season opener, when he played 10:21 before leaving with a lower body injury. Since his return, he has averaged 23:42, his highest since 2018-19. He has amassed points in each of his last two games before Sunday night. Not only is his shot rate slightly higher, but he’s also seeing a slight increase in the average number of hits and blocked shots per game.
4. Jeff Petry
The pessimist might say: He’s not scoring, the Habs are a mess, they can’t produce on the power play and Petry doesn’t shoot the puck. In 13 games, Petry had two meager assists and a minus-two to go with two PIMs and 15 shots. He’s averaging 1.2 shots per game, nearly half of his 2.3 average a year ago and the lowest since being traded from Edmonton to Montreal.
The optimist might say: He still provides hits (25) and blocked shots (15), so at least he’s producing in a few categories. It also averages 24h11 per night, so it gets the minutes. There’s also no one else in Montreal who can produce, so Petry doesn’t have to worry about someone else taking his time.
3. Elias Pettersson
The pessimist might say: The guy has to be one of the most excited young players in the game. Despite the initial promise, his points-per-game score has dropped over the past two seasons, and this year he’s on track for a 37-year campaign. points. He has also stopped producing on the power play for the past two years.
The optimist might say: Last year, Pettersson collected two points in his first eight games before scoring 19 in his last 18, so he is not excluded from continuing a crazy streak. The 22-year-old Vancouver forward (who turns 23 next Friday) is enjoying career highs in average ice time per game and power play time per game this season. His 2.8 shots per game heading into Sunday night’s game are also the highest he has ever recorded.
2. Alex Pietrangelo
The pessimist might say: He has five points in 12 games, which puts him on an 82-game pace of 34 points, the worst 82-game pace of his career. Vegas is stuck playing Nicolas Roy and William Carrier in the top six because of all the injuries, which means the offense has dried up.
The optimist might say: Despite its slow start, AP has five points in its last five games. He’s still a beast for shots, as he has at least two shots in 10 of 12 games and at least five shots in four of them. His average ice time has increased by over a minute per game compared to a season ago, and both Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty are expected to be back in a few weeks which will help elevate both the game. power and the score five to five.
1. Kevin Fiala
The pessimist might say: After a few years where he was underrated, great things were expected from Fiala this season. But with just one goal and five points in his first 11 games, he has been extremely disappointing and is still a long way off Kirill Kaprizov evenly.
The optimist might say: The slow start of Fiala is quite normal. Two seasons ago he had one point in his first eight games, then 53 in his next 56. Last season, he started with 14 points in his first 28 games, then had 26 in his last 22. His average ice time is two minutes longer than a year ago and he is still in the best PP unit. He also averages three shots and surprisingly one hit per game.