2023-24 Fantasy Hockey Busts

by Justin Cheng
2023-24 Fantasy Hockey Busts

Nothing is worse than drafting a player who proceeds to crap the bed. It makes it that much worse if you reach for that player, taking a chance when other solid players are available. Avoid the disappointment this year by avoiding the 2023-24 Fantasy Hockey Busts.

Players skating head-first into the brick wall known as negative regression headlined last year's class of busts. Chris Kreider and Matt Duchene led the way as some of the most disappointing players. This year, a couple of players on the list might struggle to find their stride on new teams in ways that their draft stock has not yet taken into consideration.

Below, you will find three of the greatest "bust candidates". These players are set to disappoint after stellar 2022-23 campaigns put them on the radars of casual Fantasy GMs heading into this year's draft.

If you are looking for additional help come the draft, check out the 2023-24 Fantasy Hockey Sleepers here.

2023-24 Fantasy Hockey Busts

Tyler Toffoli, RW, New Jersey Devils (ADP: 73.1)

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It is normal for players to see their draft stock rise precipitously after a strong season. It is even more common if that player has name recognition in the way that Tyler Toffoli does. No player has seen their draft stock rise as much as Toffoli has going into this season.

Last year, Toffoli had his big breakout year in his age-30 season. However, it may have come one year too early as he still has one season left on a four-year deal before he can look for a pay raise. In 2022-23, he put up a career-high 73 points, shattering his previous career-best of 58.

Looking forward to this season, I would not expect Toffoli to repeat this success. While he currently is lining up alongside Jack Hughes, I would not be surprised to see Timo Meier slot into that position pretty early on in the season. This would bump Toffoli down to the second line alongside Nico Hischier. While Hischier is a great player in his own right, he is of a different offensive ilk than Elias Lindholm and Jonathan Huberdeau, whom he spent most of last season with.

It would be reasonable to expect a 55-60-point campaign from Toffoli, along with 3+ shots per game. While this would definitely provide value in standard fantasy leagues, there are other players I would rather draft in the fifth or sixth round. (Consider that Chris Kreider and Johnny Gaudreau are being drafted immediately after Toffoli. The upside of either of these players outpaces Toffoli.)

Roope Hintz, C, Dallas Stars (ADP: 25.8)

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Roope Hintz has been one of the most underrated centers over the last few seasons. Last year, astute GMs could pick Hintz up at an ADP of 135. However, after a second strong season, Hintz has seen his ADP rocket up to 25.8 for the 2023-24 season.

To put this into perspective, this means Hintz is being drafted around the tail of the second round, or the start of the third round in most drafts. He is being drafted ahead of guys like Elias Pettersson, Artemi Panarin, and Jack Eichel. Despite his strong results over the past few years, this is lunacy.

Over the past two seasons, Hintz has put up 147 points in 153 games. Compare that to Pettersson who has put up 170 points in 160 games, or Panarin who has eclipsed the 90-point plateau in each season as a Ranger. It is hard to justify reaching for Hintz with guys of this caliber still available.

If that was not enough, I would expect Hintz to take a small step back this season. His regular linemate, Joe Pavelski, is getting older. While the 39-year-old has fended off Father Time thus far, he will drop off eventually. I do not want to be left holding the bag when that eventually happens. Hintz will be one of the first to feel any decline in Pavelski's production.

Tyson Barrie, D, Nashville Predators (ADP: 108.3)

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It is often hard to find quality defensemen on the fantasy draft floor. This is especially true in the middle rounds when the gap between an elite defenseman and the next tier is massive. Usually, GMs who attempt to shoot for the middle by drafting a "mid-tier" defenseman in the seventh or eighth round end up burning themselves. Meanwhile, GMs who hold off and take late-round flyers on breakout candidates reap the rewards (consider Josh Morrissey last year).

Tyson Barrie was once in the elite tier of fantasy defensemen. However, his value is dropping by the game, and the 32-year-old is barely worth rostering in many standard leagues. It is mind-boggling that he remains drafted in that mid-tier defenseman range. He is precisely the kind of defenseman that will burn GMs. I would expect to see him on the waiver wire by late October.

Not only is Barrie's personal production declining faster than a snowman in June, but he is not in a position to succeed. Nashville as a team has no offense to speak of. Half of the team's top-six saw considerable time in the AHL last season. And Barrie is not likely to get any meaningful powerplay exposure with Roman Josi maintaining his grip on that position.

Check out more Fantasy Hockey advice from the F6P team.

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