All good things eventually come to an end. When it comes to drafting a winning fantasy hockey roster, it’s important to know when the end has come, or at least, know when it’s approaching. As much as we hate to acknowledge it, hockey players can only stay on top for so long before they start to slide. If you draft with your heart and pay too much attention to history and career numbers, you may miss the writing on the wall. The players on this list may still offer a good bit of fantasy value, but you shouldn’t expect them to perform at their historic levels going forward. Here are a host of players who will be trending down in 2010-11:
Daniel Alfredsson OTT
We’re starting to see the slow decline of Alfredsson as a top notch fantasy forward. His totals have sunk in each of the last two seasons, though he still played at a point-per-game pace last year. At age 37 and coming off hernia surgery this summer, it’s a big stretch to imagine Alfredsson playing at that pace again. He’s still worth a mid to late round pick, but the glory days are behind him now.
Jarome Iginla CGY
Iginla is still the cornerstone of the Flames team, but if you’re banking on him being the cornerstone of your fantasy roster, prepare for disappointment. He’s past his prime in terms of fantasy production and has seen his stats fall steadily for a few seasons now. He still has plenty to give – just not as much as he once did. 70 points and a respectable share of penalty minutes should be in store this season.
Teemu Selanne ANA
Selanne will be back in a much lesser role than he’s played thus far in his career. It’s amazing that he has put up the stats that he has in the past couple of years, but between his age and recent injury history, he’s lost most of his fantasy value. 25 goals may be the ceiling in 2010. UFABET
Jason Spezza OTT
After a few years of centering one of the most dominant lines in hockey, Spezza has been on a steady descent towards ordinary. The loss of Heatley clearly hurt his numbers, as he has yet to find that kind of chemistry with the other forwards in Ottawa. Speculation over his desire to stay and Ottawa’s desire to have him may hurt his confidence and numbers even more this season. He’s still got the gift, so don’t give up completely on him. Figure on a 65 point season, heavy on the assists.
Pavel Kubina TAM
Age is catching up to Kubina, as he makes his return to Tampa Bay. 35 points would be a high in terms of expectations this season.
John-Michael Liles COL
Liles has been on the decline over the past couple seasons, but remains a servicable option as a depth defenseman. He missed a chunk of time last season, but still put up 31 points in 59 games. The Avalanche doesn’t have many offensive threats on their blueline, so he should still get some power play time, but don’t count on him getting more than 40 points again.
Dennis Wideman FLA
Wideman’s value dropped like a rock last season. Moving South to the Panthers rubs salt in that wound. Don’t bank on much fantasy value here.
Niklas Backstrom MIN
For the past few seasons, Backstrom was considered a fantasy stud. Last season, the Wild made it public that they were tired of boring hockey and wanted to open up the ice a bit. Backstrom’s stats took it on the chin. How much of his previous success was due to the system versus his skill is the question to be answered this year. The other factor is Josh Harding may be pressing for more playing time this season, as Backstrom has faced injury woes. Don’t write him off, but he’s obviously no longer a clear cut #1 option.
Martin Biron NYR
Biron can’t seem to land on his feet. He crossed the river to other side of New York, but you won’t see him on the ice much, as Lundqvist will swallow up the bulk of the playing time for the Rangers. No fantasy value at this point.
Chris Osgood DET
Yes, he’s still around, and yes, he will play. If Howard struggles in his sophomore season, as goalies often do, the Wings won’t be afraid to ride Osgood for a week or two. Still not worth drafting though.