This was a very delicate questions by many, including Randy Holt and so many others. Why did we decide to hold off on our fantasy projections here on Rant Sports? The answer is blunt and simple. Hockey on the NHL level is nowhere near close to starting as of yet. Simply that means we have to wait. Tom Petty said it best, “Waiting is the hardest part”.
It is even funnier to see what some publications will put out as numbers. There are just too many to mention them all but we can give people an idea of what has been going on. The goal here is not to call publications out. Our message is forthright. One should be vigilant as opposed to jumping in. What we are going to do is list a few players and their numbers then we will analyze just a bit.
Let us do one forward, one defenseman, and one goalie for argument’s sake.
Anze Kopitar — C — Los Angeles Kings
This is never an easy process but when we saw a projection that had Kopitar at over 40 goals and at near 100 points, red flags were raised. Why? His three year average is around 28 goals and 49 assists for 77 points. Kopitar is so close to around a point a game. However to say he will spike by almost a quarter point a game at this stage of his career was asking a lot. This is considering that the Los Angeles Kings had some issues scoring last year to say the least. When a publication has a guy at 96 points for 80 games with the surrounding cast Kopitar has, then there are issues. While Kopitar does have 90 point potential, it will obviously not happen this year even if there was a full season.
Bryan Campbell — D — Florida Panthers
Campbell had an incredible year with 53 points including 31 on the man advantage last season with Florida. The problem is that Jason Garrison signed with the Vancouver Canucks during the free agent frenzy. This means someone has to flank Campbell on the first power play unit that has a shot and although Dmitri Kulikov has a good shot, he is not quite at that level just yet. Campbell is still projected to get his 45-50 points despite all odds. That may be a tough sell but at least this one will not be too far but look for Kulikov to start breaking out in the second half. Both defensemen could end up close to 40 points in a full season.
Ilya Bryzgalov — G — Philadelphia Flyers
This simply is a goalie who sometimes has it or sometimes does not. Also, the inconsistency was enough to drive people nuts. Yet fantasy pundits still think the Philadelphia Flyers could finish right behind the New York Rangers led in the nets by Ilya Bryzgalov. Some fantasy pundits are projecting 36-38 wins for the goaltender and this has many perplexed. His 2.48 GAA and .909 save percentage were hiding the fact that his save percentage climbed to a .923 from January 1st on. The question is can this goalie find a way to play the way he did as a Phoenix Coyote for a whole year in Philadelphia. The honest numbers are around a 2.45 GAA and a .910-.915 save percentage at best with 32 or 33 wins. That could change for the better actually (not the wins) if the lockout lasts a bit longer.
Ladies and gentlemen this is why fantasy hockey projections are an inexact science because even the experts can err because we are human. The best bet is always to consult and mix and match. The more you know, the better off you are. By all means, fire away your questions and I will try my best to answer them. Thanks again for reading.