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The Man Advantage: Top 5 Power Play Disappointments

Mark McLarney

Mark McLarney

Mark McLarney writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

In our previous column, we looked at the Top 5 Power Play Surprises of the season thus far. This time, we visit the other end of the PP spectrum - biggest disappointments. If you own some of these guys and your league pays a premium for PP points, it might be time to either bench them (if you haven't already) or drop them outright and look for more viable alternatives.

Top 5 PP Disappointments

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, EDM. Last year in his rookie debut, RNH tore up the NHL for the first three months of the season and was virtually a lock for the Calder trophy before a series of shoulder injuries knocked him out of the race. He finished the season with 52 points in 62 games, with roughly half of those coming on the power play (3PPG, 20PPA). This season, through 21 games he has just eight points, including three PP helpers and no goals. A recurrence of last year's shoulder problems could be partly to blame, or it could be just the dreaded sophomore slump. Either way, it's hard to recommend dropping this kid, since at 19 years old he still possesses incredible upside. In the meantime, he's still seeing first-line PP duty, so if you can stomach the possibility that his slump continues indefinitely, keep him rolling and pray for a turnaround.

Brad Richards, C, NYR. Over the years, Richards has gradually developed a reputation as one of the streakiest players in the NHL - the kind of player that makes fantasy owners cringe whenever his name gets mentioned. Remember 2009-10? 91 points. The next two seasons? 77 and 66 points, respectively. You just never know what you're going to get with this guy. And that's currently what we're dealing with now. Overall, Richie's bagged himself 13 points in 20 games thus far, which admittedly isn't too bad, but he also has just two PP assists to his name, and zero goals - a pace of  0.11 PP points per game, compared to 0.29 last year (7PPG, 17PPA in 82 games). Part of the problem is clearly the fact that he has not shown a heckuva lot of chemistry with newcomer Rick Nash, acquired in the offseason from Columbus. This is another case where you may be forced to just keep trotting Richards out there for fantasy purposes, as long as the Rangers do.

Shea Weber, D, NAS. Admittedly, you don't get to be runner-up for the Norris trophy the past two seasons if you don't have the markings of a great offensive defenseman. However, Weber, who placed second in Norris voting in both 2010-11 and 2011-12, is currently in what one might call a "massive tailspin". After registering a career-best 22 PP points last season (10PPG, 12PPA), Weber currently sits with just three assists through 23 games this year. Mind you, we can't drop all the blame solely on Weber's shoulders, since the Preds as a team have fallen from 1st overall in PP efficiency last year (21.6%) to 23rd this year (14.3%). However, one has to wonder how much of an effect the departure of Weber's longtime defensive partner - Ryan Suter - to Minnesota in the offseason has had, or maybe Weber just really wishes he was playing in Philadelphia instead of Nashville.

Jason Pominville, RW, BUF. Pominville's game really rounded into form last season as he led the Sabres with 73 points in 82 games, including 26 points with the man advantage. Though not quite a career season - that came in 2007-08 (80 points, 27 on the PP) - he did manage to turn around a string of declining point totals (66, 62, 52) over the previous three seasons. This year, however, although his overall points are not too shabby (19 in 24 games), he's suffering a major power outage on the PP, with just one goal and four helpers thus far. The Sabres are dead last in the league in PP efficiency right now (11.4%), so Pominville is not getting a lot of help from his teammates. The good news is, injuries are rarely an issue with Pominville, who has played a full 82-game schedule in five of the past six seasons. His consistency may be a little off right now, but his durability sure isn't. In addition, Pominville currently ranks 14th out of all RW's in the NHL in PP time on ice per game (3:40) so he'll continue to get his chances.

Olli Jokinen, C, WPG. Like Richards (see above), Jokinen is another box-of-chocolates type player…you just never know what you're gonna get. Last year with Calgary, Jokinen put up his best point total in four seasons:  61 points, including 24 on the power play (9PPG, 15PPA). This year, his first with Winnipeg, Jokinen has just seven points through 22 games, including a single PP assist and no goals. It could be that Jokinen is getting used to his new surroundings, however the Jets are Jokinen's seventh team in 15 years, so you'd have to think that changing teams should not be a problem for this guy anymore. And despite having a ton of solid talent surrounding him - Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler - Jokinen is once again showing his incredible knack for being the guy who just can't seem to fit in. He continues to see first-line PP duty for now, but given his long track record of inconsistency, you have to wonder how much longer that will last. Out of all the guys mentioned here, this is probably the one guy fantasy owners should drop in favour of a more reliable scoring option.

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