Campkin recaps what went wrong with his Hockey Geek predictions, and what lessons we learned.
Last week, I took a look at some of the biggest “hits” that we had in this year’s Geek of the Week feature with the 2013 All-Geek Fantasy Hockey Team. By and large, it was a very successful season for the players profiled here and a lot of the players helped propel me to a championship in two of the four leagues I am in. As always though, there are going to be some misses and to balance things out today I am going to take a look at some of the Geeks who didn’t pan out quite so nicely.
Over the course of the season we profiled 28 players, 22 of which I would classify as a hit or at least a push (fair value). Three of the players (Lupul, Morris and Kulikov) I would rank as an N/A due to injury, although they did show promise in the games that they played. That leaves only three misses, which is a respectably low number although admittedly the ones that missed did so pretty badly.
I was tempted to cop-out on this one and classify Kipper as an “N/A” due to injury but he was just so bad that I couldn’t possibly do that and look myself in the mirror. He started 24 games, winning only 8 of them while sporting an abysmal 3.44GAA and .882sv%. Looking through his game log he only had 12 games that I would consider “good starts” in most leagues (a win with 3GA or less/ a loss with 2GA or less). Three of those starts came in April, when it was likely far too late to help your fantasy hockey team anyway. If you were smart enough to hand-pick the 12 good games Kipper actually had then good for you because in his other 12 games he combined for 54 goals against. Viktor Fasth let in two less than that in ALL 25 games that he appeared in.
What Went Wrong?
Kipper was bound to hit the wall eventually and he did it in spectacular fashion this season. I personally believe that the combination of his injury and pending retirement caused him to “check-out” early. He had a rough start to the season in the first seven games which wasn’t entirely a surprise and I expected a bounce back but then he got hurt. When he came back he showed flashes at times, but as soon as it was evident that Calgary was going nowhere he literally had nothing to play for. This theory is backed up by the fact that in his last two home games he managed to step it up for his farewell tour, allowing only three total goals and stopping 68 of 71 shots.
As I mentioned in my original article, Kipper’s value stems from his durability and the fact that he played almost every game for the flames, making him a huge contributor to cumulative stats. Both of those things changed this year as Kipper got hurt and then lost playing time to Joey Mac. Kipper was probably the worst performer of all Geeks of the Week, the only saving grace is that you likely wouldn’t have had to waste a high pick on him.
What Did We Learn
Goalies are extremely unpredictable. I am going to have to do a full write-up one day on the conundrum of goalies – they can be so extremely valuable to your team but at the same time they can be so unpredictable. Just look at the 2013 numbers for guys like Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne compared to the likes of Sergei Bobrovsky, James Reimer, Craig Anderson etc. Anybody see that coming?
The other key thing to take away from the Kipper fiasco is to always be careful about age and contract situation. Kipper (36) is a spring chicken compared to Martin Brodeur, but he has a lot of mileage on him and clearly doesn’t have the drive that Marty does and with only one “fake” year left on his contract, we could have seen the drop off coming.
This one hurts a lot as I own Cole in my main keeper league. He has been a 30goal, 180hit, 240shot stud for me over the past couple years. In the original article I suggested that Cole’s average draft position (ADP) in the 14th round was tremendous value, even if his production slipped by 10 points or so. What I didn’t see coming was just 9 goals and 13 points in 47 games.
What Went Wrong?
The season started poorly for Cole in Montreal with reports that he was very turned off by the lockout and that he was considering retirement. He started slowly and was promptly removed from the Pacioretty line which had been such a good fit for him last season and his powerplay time was reduced. Despite his challenges in Montreal he was still playing at a 185 hit, 175 shot pace which holds some value in a lot of leagues. I thought that if he could ever get some good playing time back then his offensive production might step back up. When he was first traded to Dallas, I thought that this might be exactly what the doctor ordered, but unfortunately I was wrong again. Cole has bounced between various roles on the Stars, never fully securing a top 6 position, and his powerplay time was spotty. His hit output remained solid but his shots dropped to a putrid 132sog pace.
What Did We Learn?
Again with Cole, he is at that tough age (34) where things could begin to really drop off at any time. I think that the bigger thing to learn with the Cole situation though is the importance of opportunity. I have talked a lot in my columns about finding guys who are being put in good opportunities early and jumping on them. The reverse concept should be applied to for guys who are being removed from ideal situations. It would have been very hard to recognize this before the season started, but you may have been able to sell on Cole before other managers took notice. Generally though, I wouldn’t have had any huge regrets drafting Cole in the 14th round. He was a bust to be sure, but he didn’t cost a high pick and his upside in terms of value was huge. I might even recommend taking a flier on Cole next year and drafting him with one of your last couple picks. If put in the right position, Cole could again provide some depth value to your team.
Jokinen is another guy who I identified that you could draft in a later round to fill a hole at centre and the drop off may not actually be that big compared to some of the other names out there. He has historically been a good shooter and hitter while contributing on the powerplay. I mentioned that he is “just a guy” and that I actually expected a slight drop in production, but I certainly expected this “guy” to get more than seven goals and seven assists in 45 games.
What Went Wrong?
You could copy and paste almost everything I said for Cole and apply it to Jokinen. Olli is at that 34 year age where things can take a steep turn downwards. He also saw his opportunities reduced when he was traded, going from the first line/first PP in Calgary to spotty PP time and second/third line duties in Winnipeg. The other thing to note is that Jokinen was in a contract year last season when he performed so well and it was his best output since 2007-08. A drop off was sure to come.
What Did We Learn?
Again with Jokinen (as with Cole) we need to be wary of a player’s age, contract situation and the opportunities being afforded to him in the current year. I would say with Jokinen that he also may have been worth the risk as a 14th rounder at the time, but he clearly did not pan out. Going forward, I am not sure I would even take a flyer on this guy as I suggested with Cole unless his situation drastically changes (trade, buy out or WPG being unable to retain other top 6 forwards) but it is worth noting that next season is another contract year for him.
So there you have it, the biggest fails on the season and all of them were pretty epic. Hopefully we can all learn from these misses and move on. When trying to find value in later rounds -- looking for guys with upside who could turn into possible gems -- you are bound to miss on a few and I missed on these three by a large margin. Hopefully you were able to avoid some of these three and take advantage of all of the other hits that we provided this year.
Overall, the hits this year far outweighed the misses and I would classify it as a successful inaugural season for our Geeks of the Week. I look forward to continuing to do deep dives using the incredible tools at Fantasy Hockey Geek in the offseason while preparing for some more success in 2013-14!