First off, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins on their seven game Stanley Cup victory over the dynastic Detroit Red Wings. This was the most entertaining NHL playoffs I have had the pleasure of watching, featuring some close battles, fantastic goals, and likely and unlikely heroes (ahem, Maxime Talbot).
The 2008-09 NHL awards ceremony kicks off in Las Vegas in two days, and this past season’s stars will be rewarded for their efforts. However, as a fantasy hockey guru, I would much rather criticize this year’s fantasy busts – the players who were supposed to propel your team towards victory, but performed well below their projected standards. That’s why we have the “Busties” – the NHL awards for the biggest busts!
For the sake of identifying as many different underachievers as possible, no nominee or winner of a “Busty” will be eligible for an additional award. The “Busties” will be awarded parallel to several of the NHL awards, but commended for reverse results. For example, the first Busty award given will be the Art Ross Trophy (for the most points during the regular season) but will be awarded to a player who should have been in contention for the award, but fell far below expectations. Injured players are cut some slack such as Marian Gaborik. Without further ado, I would like to present to you this year’s winners of the 2008-09 Busties.
The Ottawa Senators have received little secondary scoring the past few seasons, but usually were able to stay in contention thanks to their dominant top line. When that line stopped scoring at will this season, the team went downhill quickly. And now Dany Heatley wants out of town. GM Bryan Murray will certainly have his hands full this offseason putting together a competitive team for 2009-10.
Perhaps it was the shoulder surgery, or maybe the constant trade rumours, but Vincent Lecavalier wasn’t the same scoring threat in 2008-09 that we’ve grown accustomed to. While Jokinen and Zetterberg had mediocre campaigns, they too had trouble piling up goals.
While there were several others who could’ve made this list (Braydon Coburn and Brent Burns), these three really stood out for me, as they’ve all been models of consistency in the past, when healthy. While 47 points may not seem like a bad year for a defenseman, Dion Phaneuf is capable of much more. Look for a bounce back year for him in 2009-10.
Though he shone in the playoffs, Chris Osgood had the worst regular season of his 15 year career in the NHL, losing the starter’s job to back-up journeyman Ty Conklin for much of the year. Marty Turco wasn’t especially sharp for the Dallas Stars either, as they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02. Vesa Toskala was little more than a humanized sieve for the Toronto Maple Leafs, playing with an ailing groin for much of the season.
Chances are if you had more than one of the previous players, you didn’t fare too well in your pools. Which players drove you to the brink of insanity this year? Go ahead and share your frustrations with us.