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The Man Advantage: Top 10 PP Disappointments

Mark McLarney

Mark McLarney writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

The Man Advantage
February 15, 2011
Mark McLarney, RotoWire Writer

In my last article (Jan 30), I looked at the Top 10 Surprise PP performers of the season thus far, with a brief synopsis of how and why they've managed to overachieve this year. In this article, we look at the other end of the scale - the Top 10 PP Disappointments of the year. (NOTE: For the sake of this analysis, I ignore those players who have missed more than 10 games due to injury.)

Top 10 PP Underachievers:

Name Team POS PPP On pace for PPP last year DIFF
Mike Green WAS D 10 17 35 -18
Anze Kopitar LOS C 14 21 38 -18
Sergei Gonchar OTT D 17 25 40 -15
Drew Doughty LOS D 10 16 31 -15
Matt Stajan CGY C 1 2 15 -13
Kurtis Foster EDM D 8 13 26 -13
Alex Ovechkin WAS LW 16 23 36 -13
Daniel Alfredsson OTT RW 12 18 31 -13
Bobby Ryan ANA RW 6 9 21 -12
Matt Carle PHI D 1 2 14 -12
Green: Yes, I know - Green has been injured a lot this year, having missed nine games already and will probably miss a whole lot more by the time the season is done. That aside, how can you not list this guy as your #1 power play letdown of the year thus far, even when healthy? Here's a guy who had 35 PPP's last season, and 38 PPP's the year before that. This year, he'll be lucky to get 20. Mind you, it's not all on Green's shoulders, as you could argue that the entire Washington Capit

Green: Yes, I know - Green has been injured a lot this year, having missed nine games already and will probably miss a whole lot more by the time the season is done. That aside, how can you not list this guy as your #1 power play letdown of the year thus far, even when healthy? Here's a guy who had 35 PPP's last season, and 38 PPP's the year before that. This year, he'll be lucky to get 20. Mind you, it's not all on Green's shoulders, as you could argue that the entire Washington Capitals team - who scored a league-leading 79 PPG's last season, and currently sit 23rd out of 30 teams with just 32 this season - has been suffering one huge power outage all year long. As Ovechkin goes (see below), so go the Capitals, I guess. But still - let's see a show of hands - how many of you out there took Green as your top overall d-man pick this year?...Uh-huh. And how many of you are regretting it today?...That's what I thought. Ok, you can all put your hands down now.

Kopitar: So riddle me this, Batman…how does a guy who racked up a point per game last season (81 points in 82 games, including 38 on the PP) score at pretty much the same clip this season (53 points in 56 games thus far), but figures to score 18 fewer points on the PP? Yeah, I didn't get it at first, either. Kopitar's playing with pretty much the same group of guys he did last season, and his PP ice time per game is roughly the same (3:34 vs. 3:54). However, after further inspection, the answer must have a lot to do with Drew Doughty - who, oddly enough, also happens to be on this list. With 31 PP points last season (9G, 22A), Doughty was in on roughly half of the Kings' 64 total PP goals last season, and Kopitar happily went along for the ride. This year, Doughty hasn't been nearly as productive (see below), and Kopitar's PP output has fallen off as a result. The good news is, Kopitar has discovered newfound chemistry with Jack Johnson, as the two are one of the top PP duos in the league this year.

Gonchar: This one's easy. Playing for the woeful Senators, Gonchar doesn't have anywhere near the supporting cast he did last year playing in Pittsburgh. Last season, the Pens tied with three other teams for the ninth-most PP goals in the NHL (56). This year, only four other teams have scored fewer PP goals than the Sens, and only two of Gonchar's teammates (Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Karlsson) are in double-digit PP point territory. The other factor at play is this: Last season, the Pens had pretty much one line that got the lion's share of PP minutes. This year in Ottawa, Gonchar's PP ice time is about a minute less compared to last year (5:07 vs. 4:07) because Sens coach Cory Clouston spreads out his PP ice time more. No one else on the Sens sees more PP time than Gonchar, but the #2 unit averages at least a minute more per game compared to last year's Pens, and that's eating into Gonchar's productivity.

Doughty: As mentioned above, Doughty is suffering from a massive case of the yips this year after setting the league on fire as a sophomore last season. It's interesting how many experts - us included - had Doughty pegged for another monster season this year after just two NHL campaigns under his belt. Doughty is certainly an elite talent, no question, and his long-term fantasy value remains very much intact. But we have to keep in mind that he's just 21 years old, and still has a ways to go before he enters his prime. A slow, steady progression is to be expected, and he's bound to hit a few bumps in the road along the way - like he has this year. However, he has a solid nucleus of young players around him in Los Angeles (Kopitar, Johnson, Brown, etc.) and big things will continue to be expected of him.

Stajan: Stajan looked to finally be coming into his own as a PP scorer last season, scoring seven goals and six assists in 55 games with the Leafs before getting traded to Calgary in mid-season. After the trade, Stajan would add just two more PP points with the Flames to finish the season. The Flames did give him a brief look in the #1 center position alongside Jarome Iginla, but the experiment didn't last. In the end, the team wound up going out in the offseason and bringing back Olli Jokinen, which didn't bode well for Stajan's role as a member of the power play. He would finish the season with an average of almost three minutes per game in PP ice time, but again, most of this was recorded in Toronto. This year, he's seeing about half that as a part time second-liner for the Flames.

Foster: Foster is currently on pace for just 13 PP points this season - about half of his total output last year. However, when you go from one of the best PP teams in the league last year, teeing it up for the likes of Stamkos, St. Louis and Lecavalier in Tampa Bay, to the worst PP team in the league this year - Edmonton - what do you expect? With the absence of Sheldon Souray this season Foster was brought in to be the Oilers' #1 PP defenseman, and he has been - leading the team in PP ice time with an average of 4:02 per game - however, he's surrounded by guys who just can't find the net most nights. The upside is, if Foster sticks with the Oilers over the next few years while guys like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle develop, you could be looking at a top-10 PP defenseman down the road. Skill-wise, Foster has all the tools. All he needs now is a supporting cast.

Ovechkin: It's hard to believe that a player of Ovechkin's caliber has only scored three - count 'em, THREE - PP goals so far this season. However, assuming he remains on his current pace, this will actually be the third consecutive season in which Ovie's PP goals have declined - he went from 22 in 2007-08 to 19 in 2008-09 to just 13 last year. However, no one really noticed because his overall point totals remained about the same (112, 110, 109). So what's going on? Is it suddenly a case where he no longer has any chemistry with teammates Backstrom, Green, Semin et al? Is coach Bruce Boudreau somehow to blame? We suspect the only one who can really answer that is Ovechkin himself. One thing's for sure - whether he scores 80 points this season or 100-plus, he will not be the consensus first-overall pick at most fantasy drafts next season. Instead, look for Crosby, Stamkos and the Sedins to give him a run for his money in that department.

Alfredsson: At 39 years old, we all knew a dropoff in production for Alfie would come eventually. But after scoring 71, 74 and 89 points the past three seasons, respectively, we just didn't figure it would come this quickly. With 31 points in 54 games, Alfredsson will be lucky to hit the 50-point plateau, a level he hasn't fallen below in 11 seasons. As far as the power play goes, Alfie has always been more of a setup guy than a sniper, but there's simply no one to pass the puck to this year - proven guys like Jason Spezza and Alex Kovalev look like they're going through the motions out there most nights, and there's no secondary scoring to speak of. Not even the addition of proven PP quarterback Sergei Gonchar helped this year. In fairness, Alfie is now out with a bad back that may have been hampering him all season, but that's likely cold comfort to fantasy owners. He likely won't be back in Ottawa next year, and may very well decide to retire.

Ryan: Another guy who falls into the same category as Kopitar. Overall, he's still as productive as he was last season (on pace for about 65 points), but figures to score about half as many PP points. So what gives? His PP ice time is about the same as it was last year (2:52 vs. 2:37), and he's still playing mostly on the second PP unit with Saku Koivu. However, if you look at the PP goals Ryan scored last year, more than a handful of them were notched with the help of defensemen Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Whitney and James Wisniewski, all of whom have since moved on. Bottom line for Ryan, he really needs to be playing the Ducks' first PP unit with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to be productive. That will happen sooner or later, of course, as the ageless Teemu Selanne can only continue his amazing run for so long. Once Selanne finally rides off into the sunset, you should see a huge jump in Ryan's PP output - bet on it.

Carle: Another case of good overall production, just not enough of it coming on the PP. Carle has 25 points on the season, and has an excellent chance to top the 35 he posted last year. However, of those 35 points, 14 came on the power play. So far this year? He has one measly assist. That's it. Bottom line with Carle, there are just too many guys ahead of him on the Flyers' depth chart eating up all the PP minutes. For starters, Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen are the top two PP defensemen on the team, followed by superstar forwards like Briere, Richards and Carter, not to mention up-and-comers like Giroux and Leino. On top of that, you also have a guy like Andrej Meszaros competing for Carle's minutes. On just about any other team, Carle is probably a top-two, or top-three PP blueliner, but in Philly there's just too much depth.