In fantasy hockey, there are players who severely outperform their preseason expectations and players who severely underperform their preseason draft rank. For players coming off a disappointing season, but with a good track record, this is a perfect opportunity for fantasy hockey owners to capitalize on the lower draft ranking of these players and draft a player that will severely outperform his preseason rank.
In this article, we will go through four players who had disappointing seasons last year but have a good chance of bouncing back for the 2020-21 Fantasy Hockey campaign.
Note: This article will be based on Yahoo Fantasy Sports rankings and involve the categories used in Yahoo Public Hockey Leagues.
Vincent Trocheck – Carolina Hurricanes (C)
After getting traded from the Florida Panthers at the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline to the Carolina Hurricanes, Vincent Trocheck struggled mightily, posting only one goal and one assist in seven games before the season concluded.
This led to his pre-draft ranking falling tremendously to 209, making him a perfect buy-low candidate for this season. Before suffering an ankle injury in the 2018-19 season, Trocheck was coming off three consecutive seasons with at least 53 points and 173 shots on goal, posting 75 points and 287 shots on goal in one season of the three seasons.
While Trocheck is unlikely to pass the 70-point mark this season, a return to his 50-point pace is within his abilities, especially with him becoming more comfortable with his new teammates entering his second season in Carolina. Currently projected by DailyFaceoff to play on the second line and on the first power play unit, this should give Trocheck a great opportunity to produce as he did with the Panthers while also chipping in the shots on goal and hits categories.
Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames (LW)
Posting a monster 99 points in the 2018-19 season, expectations for Johnny Gaudreau were sky high after producing back-to-back seasons with over a point-per-game.
However, in the 2019-20 season, Gaudreau disappointed most fantasy owners, putting up only 18 goals and 58 points in 70 games. This has led to his preseason rank falling to no. 47 in Yahoo public leagues, giving a pretty good value for a potential top 10 point producer.
One of the reasons for Gaudeau’s decline in points may be attributed to his shooting percentage, as he scored on only 8.6% of his shots on goal compared to his career average of 12.2%. Assuming Gaudreau returns to his 12.2% career shooting percentage, he has a great opportunity to surpass a point-per-game pace, and become a top 15 option for points, while also providing plenty of shots on goal.
Sergei Bobrovsky – Florida Panthers (G)
Coming fresh off of a seven-year, $70 million contract, Sergei Bobrovsky was expected to be a top goaltender in the NHL as well as fantasy leagues.
However, Bobrovsky severely underperformed compared to his usual averages, posting a 23-19-6 record with a 3.23 goals against average (GAA), .900 save percentage (SV%), and one shutout. These numbers are an anomaly compared to his career averages of 2.54 GAA, .917 SV%, signaling that he has a great chance to bounce back and produce far better numbers than his 2019-20 campaign.
Pre-ranked at 168 in Yahoo Public Leagues, Bobrovsky has a great chance to be a mid to late-round steal for the goaltending position, especially with so many teams around the NHL splitting starts between goaltenders. With another year of familiarity in Florida, the former two-time Vezina trophy winner is a great option for fantasy owners looking for goaltending options later on in the draft.
Matt Dumba – Minnesota Wild (D)
After putting up a 50-point campaign in 2017-18, Matt Dumba followed up that season with an impressive 22 points in 32 games, including 12 goals.
This made his past season of 24 points in 69 games super disappointing, as Dumba showed 20-goal and 50-plus-point potential just the season before. His shooting percentage also dropped tremendously last season compared to his career average, as shot only 3.6% compared to his career average of 7.7%.
Related: Matt Dumba: Injury, Luck or Outlier?
This has led to his fantasy stock dropping tremendously, as his preseason rank stood at 200 in Yahoo Public leagues. Projected by DailyFaceoff to play on the Wild’s second defense pairing and the first power play unit, Dumba has tons of opportunity to return to the 50-point pace seasons he posted just two seasons ago. As a mid to late-round pick, he has a chance to greatly outperform his preseason rank while also providing a good amount of shots on goal from the back end as well.
In fantasy, picking players coming off a poor season can be risky given their most recent performances. However, if they have shown a terrific track record in the past and maintain a solid role on the team, a bounce back to their previous production is not out of the question. All four players mentioned above have shown in the past that they have been able to produce at good to elite levels. And they also have a great situation to play in, making a potential bounce-back season within the realm of possibility.