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- With a $5 M cap hit, Sergei Gonchar is one of the most expensive d-men in franchise history. The only ones higher are P.K. Subban ($9 M), Andrei Markov ($5.75 M), Mathieu Schneider ($5.75 M), and Roman Hamrlik ($5.5 M).
2011-12 wasn't the best of years stats wise for many of the Montreal Canadiens although there were a few who exceeded our expectations. A dismal 15th place finish in the East had many of the Habs put up numbers lower than we projected last August. Before we kick off our Fantasy Focus series for the upcoming season, let's take a look back at our thoughts from last year and see where we were close and where we went terribly wrong.
Matt Dilworth: Given that I didnít win a single hockey pool last season, it isnít too surprising that none of my Canadiensí fantasy projections were tremendously accurate. That being said, the ďXĒ factors that affect any sport seemed to be abundantly present with the players I profiled, and in my opinion, significantly affected my projections.
Carey Price: (65 GP, 26-28-11, 2.43 GAA, .916 SV%)
My projections for Carey fell quite short, as he earned 13 less wins than I anticipated, despite only playing 3 less games. But with my close prediction of a 2.33 GAA, it seems that I assumed that Carey would have a) more goal support, and/or b) more shootout wins. An increase in either might have resulted in a closer prediction.
Andrei Markov: (13 GP, 0G, 3A, 3P, -4)
When it was announced that Markov would miss the start of last season, I immediately had a sinking feeling that my predictions would be way off. Even then, I had no idea that 'the General' would miss all but 13 games, making my prediction of 46 points somewhat ludicrous. Furthermore, Markovís rusty return (with limited minutes) to the ice coincided with most teams in playoff mode, so he was nowhere near as productive as he has historically been; his 0.23 points per game were a career low. Hopefully Markov will bounce back this year and represent a nice sleeper pick.
Tomas Plekanec: (81 GP, 17G, 35A, 52P, -15)
When I made my predictions for Plekanec last summer, I did so with the firm belief that he would remain Montrealís number one centre. Instead, Plekanec was given the top defensive assignments, the most PK time, and for the most part, a rotating set of impotent wingers while David Desharnais was given Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty. Thus, it is no surprise that Plekanecís numbers dropped significantly, and goes far to explain why I had him scoring 7 more goals and finishing with 19 more points.
P.K. Subban: (81 GP, 7G, 29A, 36P, +9)
A cursory glance at P.K.ís statistics might lead one to believe that he suffered the sophomore jinx last season. The reality of the situation was that P.K. became Montrealís de facto #1 defenceman when Markov missed the beginning of the season, and he was slotted into a role more focused on the defensive side of the game. Nevertheless, this doesnít excuse the fact that I was off in virtually every projected category, and had Subban scoring 13 more points. Perhaps an entire season with Markov may have made a difference; hopefully we will see this next year.
Yannick Weber (60 GP, 4G, 14A, 18P, -7)
Despite playing in 12 fewer games than I had predicted, Weber (sadly) was one of my closer predictions. Although he seemingly never played in the same position in consecutive games, Weber only scored 1 goal less than I predicted, and 8 points less overall. In fact, his actual PPG average of .30 was close to the .36 average that I had anticipated.
Brian La Rose: Of the 16 players we profiled, three in total were traded. I guess I had the 'magic touch' as all three were ones I covered. I had Mike Cammalleri being a catalyst for the offence, a player who could put up 60 points. Instead, he was a non-factor far too often before being dealt. His numbers were a bit better in Calgary but my 62 point projection was well off of his actual 40 point output. I was, however, only one goal away from correctly predicting his correct GWG total.
I was conservative with Andrei Kostitsyn's predictions. Even though he was in a contract year, something told me he wasn't going to have a big boost on the scoresheet. He wound up with 36 points between the Habs and the Predators, which was only five shy of my prediction for him. I expected Jaroslav Spacek to miss a fair bit of time with injuries. Missing 36 games wasn't what I had in mind. Despite that, I was only four points over what his actual output was (prediction of 19 versus an output of 15). In terms of points per game, I was only 0.03 off while my plus/minus prediction of +6 was correct as well. Of the picks I made, his was my best.
In terms of players who spent the full year in Montreal, I certainly didn't save my best prediction for last. I figured Chris Campoli, a late offseason signing, would be a nice addition to the second powerplay unit and could chip in with some slightly above average offensive production. Him being hurt/scratched for nearly half the season wasn't what anyone expected, meaning my predicted point total was more than double of what he actually produced. Is there anyone that is surprised that he remains unsigned?
Back in August, I thought there was a chance David Desharnais could be a factor in the Canadiens' offence. In fact, I wrote in his profile, "If there are injuries, Desharnais will have a shot at powerplay time and perhaps a top-6 role, which would be a boon for his numbers." I then used that as justification for predicting a 34 point season. There were injuries, he did get a shot at seeing regular powerplay time, and he did earn a top-6 role, and I still missed guessing his production (60 points) by a country mile. Somewhat miraculously though, I managed to correctly guess he'd pot a trio of powerplay markers.
Staying healthy was something I didn't see Max Pacioretty doing in 2011-12; I figured his injuries from the year before would come into play which wasn't the case. As a result, my 45 point prediction (in 66 games) was well off the mark. I did, however, correctly predicted 56 PIMS while the shooting percentage I had him at (11.9) was only 0.4% over his actual production so there was some good mixed in with the bad there.
Louis Moustakas: The Good - Lars Eller: This was by far my best prediction, with the Danish centre's 28 points coming very close to the projected 31 points. Of course, his famous four goal night certainly helped in that respect. However, my initial logic that Eller's totals would increase due to the presence of more gifted linemates also held true. Eller benefited from playing large portions of the season with an offensively resurgent Travis Moen and sniper Andrei Kostitsyn.
The Bad - Mathieu Darche: Darche had turned into a fairly consistent secondary contributor and I expected those contributions to continue in 2011-12, projecting 27 points ó including 11 goals ó for the Quebecois winger. While Darche missed significant time, playing only in 61 games, he still fell well short of that prediction, totaling just 12 points in spite of getting the opportunity to occasionally line up next to Tomas Plekanec on. A far cry from his 2010-11 campaign, where he produced twice as much in about the same amount of games.
The Ugly - Scott Gomez: It does not get much uglier than this. At the onset of the season, I thought Scott Gomez would at least regain his 50 point form, predicting a finish of 11 goals and 44 assists for the Alaskan native. After all, he was due for a bounce back year and had hit the 55 point mark all but twice in his career. Well, now you can make that three times. Gomez had a miserable season, finishing with a pitiful 11 points in an injury shortened 38 games.
If you'd like to take a closer look at our predictions from last season, check out the link below which has a summary of our guesses plus links to each players' fantasy profiles. Our 2012-13 Fantasy Focus will start later this week.
- HabsWorld 2011 Fantasy Focus posted by B. La Rose