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Fantasy Friday (the 13th): The unlucky players

by Matt Cubeta /

Friday the 13th is a day considered to be an unlucky day by those who are superstitious. And considering most NHL players are extremely superstitious (from what they eat on game days, to how they get their equipment on, to how they warm up before games and much more), I felt it would be appropriate to look at some of the unluckiest players in fantasy hockey from this season.

Here are five players that have experienced bad luck in some fashion:

Most shots on goal in a game in NHL history
Ray Bourque BOS 1991 19
Marian Hossa ATL 2006 16
Alex Ovechkin WSH 2015 15
Alex Ovechkin WSH 2006 15
Dave Andreychuk TOR 1993 15

1. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin registered 15 shots on goal during Tuesday night's game against the Detroit Red Wings. Those 15 shots are tied for third most in a single game in NHL history (see table to right).

The unlucky part: That's the most shots on goal in NHL history by a player that did not score a goal. Ovechkin now has 79 shots on goal in 14 games and is on pace for 457, which would be the most he's had in a single season since having 528 in 2008-09.

2. I mentioned it a bit last week, but Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek still has no goals this season despite having 58 shots on goal.

The unlucky part: He has the most shots on goal of any player this season without scoring a goal. Voracek has a career shooting percentage of 9.8 percent, but right now it's at 0. Voracek came into the season as the 18th-ranked player in Yahoo leagues and is currently ranked 403rd. With just five assists and a minus-7 rating in 16 games, fantasy owners are likely in high panic mode. Don't be. He'll come around. He might not deliver quite like he did last season, but I wouldn't be shocked if he was a point-per-game player from now until the end of the season. The luck has got to change at some point, right? Buy low, buy low, buy low.

3. James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs is currently third in the NHL in Shot Attempts (SAT) with 81 during five-on-five play. He's had 261 Shot Attempts For (SATF) versus 180 Shot Attempts Against (SATA).

James van Riemsdyk
Left Wing - TOR
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 8
SOG: 47 | +/-: -2
The unlucky part: Despite being among the League leaders in SAT, van Riemsdyk still has a minus-2 rating and only eight points through 16 games. The Maple Leafs (4-8-4) aren't exactly the best goal-scoring team (27th in the League in goals per game), but van Riemsdyk is clearly playing a terrific two-way game and should have better numbers to show for it. Yes, the team you play for matters, but van Riemsdyk has deserved better regardless. Like Voracek, he could make for a decent buy-low option in fantasy leagues.

4. Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard has been outstanding this season. In seven starts, he has a 2.07 goals-against average (GAA) and a .932 save percentage (SV%). He's currently ranked 93rd overall in Yahoo leagues.

The unlucky part: He has just three wins. When you're posting numbers like Howard's, you deserve more than three wins in seven starts. Just take a quick look at his counterpart Petr Mrazek and you'll realize my point even more. Howard and Mrazek have nearly the same stats (Mrazek has a 2.07 GAA and .938 SV% in eight starts), yet Mrazek has five wins. This has simply been bad luck for Howard. With the assumption that Detroit will continue to roll out the hot goalie until one starts to falter on a regular basis, Howard makes for an excellent fantasy goalie that should see more wins in time. He's available in 30 percent of leagues.

5. Arizona Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker averages 4:59 of power play ice time per game, which is more than any other forward in the NHL.

Mikkel Boedker
Left Wing - ARI
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 12
SOG: 41 | +/-: -1
The unlucky part: Boedker has just one power play point in 16 games this season. The only player to average more man-advantage ice time than that is his teammate Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and he's got three power play points. On the plus side, Boedker does have 11 even-strength points, but considering his heavy usage on the power play, you'd think he would have more than one point. The Coyotes are the second-worst team in the League with the man advantage having converted just 12.5 percent of their power play opportunities. If they can improve as a team, Boedker should see a spike in fantasy value, though I'm not sure his even-strength production will continue.

Extra one for fun: In 16 games with his new team, New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri has six goals, eight assists, a plus-3 rating, 13 penalty minutes, eight power play points and 40 shots on goal. He's ranked 13th among all players in Yahoo leagues.

The unlucky part: He's owned in just 53 percent of leagues. His 53 percent ownership is the lowest among all skaters ranked inside the top 50 overall fantasy players (excludes goalies). Palmieri, who has never had more than 14 goals or 31 points in a season, is off to a fantastic start in his first season with the Devils. He's averaging 16:52 minutes of ice time per game and 2:26 of power play time per game. While he might not maintain his current pace of 30 goals and 71 points, I wouldn't completely rule it out. Palmieri has become New Jersey's top offensive weapon this year and he's still just 24 years old. Perhaps he's coming into his own with the Devils? Either way, the fact that he's owned in just 53 percent of leagues is a shame. Give him some love.


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