It really is the most wonderful time of year. The only thing missing here is the snow.
This year has brought us a lot of bizarre fantasy occurrences and a crazy Injury Ninja bent on destroying the whole fantasy hockey structure. Today’s post will reflect on the destruction and resurrection of fantasy teams based on a variety of occurrences.
What pace are certain players on? These may not mean much but based on the numbers, this is what we have attempted to come up with. Our math is not that bad, honest.
We also made sure the eggnog was not consumed until after this post was finished to ensure proper adding and multiplication. Ah, my third grade math teacher would be so proud.
Now for our list…..
WHAT THEY ARE ON PACE FOR:
Dustin Byfuglien (ATL) – Has 37 points in 37 games, therefore according to crack theory and projections, he should have 82 points at the end of the season, right? WRONG! Who in their right mind thinks that Big Buff is going to play all 82 games?
Yes I know it is possible but I just see something happening where he does not get 80 points this year. Slumps do happen and we did some homework here. Byfuglien has had two three-game stretches where he went without a point. One of them was when he was not paired with Tobias Enstrom at the start of the year.
Basically Big Buff is due for a longer slump of say 8-10 games at some point this year and if he does not then he does have a shot of potting at least 70 points. But, 80? That seems out of the question to me. One never knows however.
Brian Rafalski (DET) – Rafalski has 23 assists in 24 games. Currently Rafalski is projected to play about 65 games which would put him on a pace for about 63 assists and no goals. Does this sound crazy as well? Yes it does to be honest. Remember when Brian Boyle was scoring goals without assists and even John-Michael Liles was doing this with assists, Rafalski went under the radar.
The Michigan native does have 31 goals in his last three seasons so you think he has to score at some point. The question becomes when. Also a player that has eight assists in his last five games cannot really be nitpicked too much. Likely Rafalski will get five or six goals this year and get 50-plus assists.
Michael Del Zotto (NYR) – This is really true? He only has nine points in 34 games?
Yes ladies and gentlemen, Del Zotto has been neutered by John Tortorella and barely rushes daringly into the offensive zone like he did in the early part of his rookie season. Del Zotto is on pace for only 22 points on the year and that is not a misprint.
Alex Ovechkin (WAS) – Ovechkin has only scored twice in his last 18 games and has 12 tallies on the season in 37 contests. This puts him on a pace for about 28 goals on the year.
At some point this kind of has to stop or does it? The 7.5% shooting percentage is a career low as teams have found a way to neutralize Ovechkin on his shooting angles. The two power play goals are a career low nearing a half point as well. Ovi is entering unchartered, and next to Ilya Kovalchuk, Ovechkin’s case is becoming nearly as baffling to fantasy hockey owners.
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJD) – We had to include him as he is on a pace for a -60 season with only 45 points at the moment. This is what you would call extremely scary numbers for a guy who easily gets 15% of his shots to find the back of the net career.
Some of the numbers do not lie and that shooting percentage around 8% is disturbing. That is the real number to zero in on because all of the other numbers play off that. When Kovalchuk finds the back of the net, every other part of his game is more efficient.
Will he get that back? That is a question that will play out throughout the second half.
Next week we will do a goalies version of this list. Send us your nominees and we will try and throw out some of the most surprising numbers out there.
Merry Christmas everyone! And to all a good day of presents, family, and eating. Be safe out there.