There are players in the league with a bagel under the goal column. Some high err higher profile players are included on this list of shame. It makes sense with Thanksgiving coming to spotlight some of these as fantasy hockey turkeys of a sort.
Below are a few of the more surprising names we could muster. Surely, this cannot continue too much longer? Right?
Fantasy Hockey Bagels
Brent Burns — San Jose Sharks — Defenseman
This may be the most shocking name of all. Consider that all the San Jose defenseman has done is score goals. Burns has tallied 95 of them in the last four seasons alone. That is almost 24 per campaign.
However, 2017-18 has seen Burns sitting with a bagel under the goal column and just seven assists to boot. This is at press time and through 18 games played. So, what could be wrong? It is funny that some always ask that instinctively.
Besides the zero, many would think Burns was doing alright. He has 75 shots on net and 173 shots attempts. These are all among league leaders for defensemen and forwards too. Fantasy hockey pundits have joked that too much of San Jose’s power play and offense gravitates toward Burns and his shot. That may be true.
On the other hand, it seems that Burns is on the ice for every goal against. This is not true but those goals seem to pour in. His on-ice save percentage is below 90. The shooting percentage when he is on the ice is at only 4%. For fantasy hockey owners, the sleepless nights have been many. He does not have a point in his last seven contests.
Possession numbers have been solid, but the puck just does not go in. The strange part is he is not the only high profile defenseman with this problem.
Dustin Byfuglien — Winnipeg Jets — Defenseman
Another high profile player who has a bagel under his goal column is Byfuglien. The defenseman had 70 goals in his previous four seasons for the Winnipeg Jets. This season has been an odd one for the physical defenseman who loves to hit and shoot.
For one thing, his shot output is down. He is only averaging about 2.33 shots per night. Despite his zero percent shooting percentage, it seems like everyone else is doing fine around him. Some of the numbers are mind-boggling. When one sees a PDO around 105, that is extraordinarily high. This includes an on-ice shooting percentage over 13%!
Byfuglien’s team relative possession metrics are around 4% higher than the rest of the team, but about 3-4% off his usual numbers. That tells a tiny part of the story. His shot velocity is noticeably lower (about three or four miles per hour less). It does look like he is trying to aim shots instead of just letting it rip.
Ryan McDonagh — New York Rangers — Defenseman
McDonagh is a mild surprise only because his numbers have been going down each year. He had just six goals last season. This year in 21 games, the Rangers defenseman has zero. He does have 12 assists and three via the power play.
His shot rate has been somewhat erratic but is close to two shots on net per night. McDonagh’s shot hit to miss ratio is right around 50% as well. What is missing? Simply, part of it is shot selection. McDonagh is like the other two, aiming more than just shooting. Another aspect is his role has changed. He is not the primary offensive threat anymore. That has to be considered.
Okay fantasy hockey fans, who breaks through first? The odds on choice has to be Burns and don’t be surprised if it is very soon — like Monday night soon. The hashtag #moregoalsthanBurns should be retired soon enough. Finally, all of these cases have been curious in one form or another. There are always a few in the early months of the fantasy hockey season.