Zach Bogosian — Bogosian made the Thrashers in his draft year. He went pointless in his first eight games before a broken leg forced him to miss 28 games. Bogosian came back from that injury and finished the season with nine goals, 19 points and a +14 rating in the final 38 games.
After such a strong finish, the Thrashers were counting on Bogosian to take his game to the next level. Unfortunately, he was hit by the jinx, scoring only 10 goals and totaling 23 points and a -18 rating over 81 games.
Bogosian has a booming shot and a ton of offensive ability, and he is sound defensively. Bogosian went long stretches last season without scoring, two six-game stretches without points before Christmas, and four six-plus game stretches after Christmas, including two stretches over 10 games without points.
In order for Bogosian to take his game to the next level, he needs to show more consistency. Bogosian has the potential to be a 20-goal and 50-point defenseman who doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game, but he could be a couple years away from that point.
Steve Mason — Heading into his second season, there was a lot of pressure surrounding Mason after such a spectacular rookie season that saw him backstop the Blue Jackets to the franchise’s first playoff series. No one expected Mason to beat his remarkable rookie numbers, but they were hoping for him to be good.
Instead, he was nowhere even close. In his rookie year, Mason started 61 games and won 33 of them. More impressive were his other stats: 10 shutouts (first in the league), a goals against average of 2.29 (second) and a save percentage of .916 (ninth overall).
Last year, Mason won only 20 games and saw his save percentage drop and GAA go over 3. The only bright spot was that he finished with five shutouts; only six other goalies had more.
Mason has the potential to be an elite goaltender that can rack up a lot of wins and shutouts. Fantasy-wise, a goalie that gets shutouts can be the difference between winning and losing your hockey pool. In most hockey pools, shutouts can be worth anywhere from two to five points. Five shutouts, therefore, is a 10-25-point swing.
Mason is a player you should be able to get at a reduced price because of the jinx. He should get his win totals back up to 30-plus this season, and he has the potential to be a 40-win goalie that averages seven-plus shutouts a season.
Blake Wheeler – Wheeler scored 21 goals and 45 points in 81 games with the Boston Bruins in his rookie season. Wheeler finished the 08-09 season with a whopping +35 rating. He saw his production drop to just 38 points in 82 games during his sophomore season, however.
The biggest stat drop was his plus/minus, as it dropped 39 points to –4. Granted, part of the reason for the drop was that Boston scored 68 fewer goals last season than the previous one.
Wheeler needs to show more consistency in his third year, and can’t go long stretches without producing like he did last season. Wheeler scored 29 points in the first 53 games but only scored nine points in the final 29, which included an 11-game stretch without a point.
Wheeler has a ton of offensive talent and power forwards tend to take longer to develop. Wheeler makes a great sleeper pick this season, as the Bruins are healthy and look ready to make a run at another division title.
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