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Seguin, Voracek join 'Saul' as popular spin-offs

by Matt Cubeta

According to Wikipedia, a television spin-off is defined as, "a new series which contains either characters, a different character or theme elements from a previous series."

Nick Bjugstad

Photo courtesy of AMC Networks (Click to enlarge)

AMC's "Breaking Bad" was considered one of the better television shows of this generation. It won countless awards during its five seasons from 2008 to 2013. This past Sunday, AMC released a spin-off from the critically acclaimed "Breaking Bad" called "Better Call Saul." Not every television spin-off is successful and clearly, the verdict is still out on "Better Call Saul" (only two episodes have aired).

But throughout television history, we've seen tons of spin-offs. Some turned out to be effective, like the hit show "Frasier," which was a spin-off from "Cheers," and "The Jeffersons," which was a spin-off from "All in the Family." And then there were also some misses, like "Joey," which was a spin-off from "Friends," and "Joanie Loves Chachi," which of course was a spin-off from "Happy Days."

I'm not here to ramble on about TV, though. I'm here to discuss the best and worst fantasy hockey spin-offs in recent years. I'm talking about players that once had a small role on one team, and then joined another team for a larger, more prominent, leading-type role, if you will.

And just like with the television industry, we've seen some hits and some misses. Here are five of the most and least successful fantasy hockey spin-offs in the past five years (feel free to add some of your favorite fantasy hockey spin-offs in the comments section below):


Tyler Seguin -- Boston Bruins ---> Dallas Stars

Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin
Center - DAL
GOALS: 29 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 59
SOG: 224 | +/-: 0

Seguin was selected second overall in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Bruins. He had plenty of hype around him. He racked up 56 goals and 121 points in 203 games with them from 2010-2013. But since joining the Stars after a trade, he's become one of the best fantasy players in the game. He has 66 goals and 143 points in 134 games and currently ranks as the third best fantasy player in Yahoo leagues. From a prospect in Boston to a pure superstar with the Stars, Seguin has run away with his lead role in this spin-off.

Jakub Voracek -- Columbus Blue Jackets ---> Philadelphia Flyers

Like Seguin, Voracek was a highly touted prospect selected seventh overall in the 2007 NHL Draft by the Blue Jackets. And he was a solid player for Columbus in his first three NHL seasons. He was then traded to the Flyers with expectations of developing into a star. Fast forward to his second season with Philadelphia and you could see Voracek was following the script. He finished with 46 points in 48 games during the shortened season. And now in 2014-15, he is officially a superstar, ranking as the No. 2 player in Yahoo fantasy leagues. This spin-off has paid off for the Flyers and for fantasy owners.

Ben Bishop -- St. Louis Blues/Ottawa Senators ---> Tampa Bay Lightning

Bishop had high expectations with the Senators organization from 2011 through 2013. And in his 13 games for Ottawa during the 2012-13 season you could see something begin to develop (.922 save percentage and 2.45 goals against average). During that season, the Senators opted to trade Bishop to the Lightning where he was expected to eventually take over as the team's No. 1 goalie. And that's exactly what's happened in his three seasons with Tampa Bay. Bishop was one of the best fantasy goalies in the league in 2013-14, and while he hasn't been quite as good this season, he still sports a solid 2.47 goals against average and .910 save percentage with 27 wins.

Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd -- Chicago Blackhawks ---> Winnipeg Jets

Dustin Byfuglien
Dustin Byfuglien
Defense - WPG
GOALS: 14 | ASST: 24 | PTS: 38
SOG: 172 | +/-: 9

Byfuglien and Ladd were fresh off of winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, but everyone knew Chicago was going to have make some trades because of their salary cap restraints. Enter the Atlanta/Winnipeg organization. They jumped on the opportunity to add Byfuglien via trade and then days later made another trade to acquire Ladd. Both players were primarily considered role players for Chicago, but now look at how they've progressed in their lead roles for Winnipeg. Ladd is the captain of the team and hasn't scored fewer than 45 points in any of his five seasons with the organization. Byfuglien has shifted positions and has become one of the most reliable fantasy defenseman in the game, and ranks as the No. 1 blue-liner in Yahoo leagues this season. This spin-off duo has been as successful as you could have imagined.

Nick Foligno -- Ottawa Senators ---> Columbus Blue Jackets

Foligno's spin-off success has taken a little bit of time. He started out with the Senators and recorded 148 points in 351 games over his first five NHL seasons. In the summer of 2012, Foligno was traded to the Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Marc Methot. Foligno's first season with Columbus didn't go according to script. He posted 19 points in 45 games. His second season was slightly better as he totaled 18 goals and 39 points in 70 games. But this season, his third since being traded, things have clicked. He has 50 points in 51 games, was named a captain in his first All-Star appearance, and ranks as the No. 24 player in Yahoo fantasy leagues. Welcome to an official leading role, Nick.

Honorable mentions: Wayne Simmonds, Brian Elliott, Blake Wheeler


Alexander Semin -- Washington Capitals ---> Carolina Hurricanes

Alexander Semin, who has 11 points in 31 games and has been a healthy scratch a number of times this season, just hasn't been the same player since joining the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo: Getty Images)

Granted his first season with the Hurricanes was fantastic (44 points in 44 games), things have completely fallen apart over the past two seasons after signing a massive deal with Carolina. Semin's high-point with the Capitals was when he scored 40 goals and 84 points in 2009-10 and this season, he has two goals and 11 points in 31 games after posting 42 points in 65 games in 2013-14. He was expected to be a dominant goal scorer alongside Eric Staal, but this spin-off just hasn't panned out.

Brian Campbell -- Buffalo Sabres/San Jose Sharks/Chicago Blackhawks ---> Florida Panthers

In four seasons from 2005 through 2009 while playing for the Sabres, Sharks and Blackhawks, Campbell averaged 0.63 points-per-game in 326 games. In his four seasons for the Panthers since 2011, Campbell has averaged 0.51 points-per-game in 265 games. If you take away his 53-point season in his first year with Florida in 2011-12, he has averaged 0.44 points-per-game in 183 games. He never quite lived up to fantasy expectations since joining the Panthers.

Ilya Bryzgalov -- Arizona Coyotes ---> Philadelphia Flyers/Edmonton Oilers/Minnesota Wild/Anaheim Ducks

Bryzgalov developed into one of the more reliable goalies in the NHL in his four seasons with the Coyotes from 2007 through 2011. He had a save percentage higher than .920 in three of those four seasons. But in June of 2011, he signed a massive contract with the Flyers and things were never the same. In his next four seasons spanning 139 games with the Flyers, Oilers, Wild and back with the Ducks, Bryzgalov never finished with a save percentage higher than .911. Maybe it was the defensive-minded system with the Coyotes, or maybe it was the larger media presence in Philadelphia. Either way, Bryzgalov never was able to run away with the lead role when he left the Coyotes.

David Clarkson -- New Jersey Devils ---> Toronto Maple Leafs

In the latter years of his Devils tenure that lasted 426 games, Clarkson slowly developed into a really valuable fantasy player capable of scoring a decent amount of goals while racking up loads of penalty minutes. In two seasons since joining the Maple Leafs, Clarkson has 26 points in 114 games and has become fantasy irrelevant (his ownership stands at 3 percent currently). This spin-off who was supposed to be a vital player for a Maple Leafs organization has been a complete failure to this point.

Martin St. Louis -- Tampa Bay Lightning ---> New York Rangers

St. Louis didn't exactly have a small role for the Lightning (he racked up 953 points in 972 games for them), but he did come to New York in a big trade with high expectations. And for the most part, he's disappointed, in the regular season anyway (which is all that counts in fantasy hockey). After being a point-per-game player for the better part of his Tampa Bay career, St. Louis has 45 points in 72 regular season games with the Rangers (0.63 points per game). It was a nice attempt at a spin-off under the bright lights in New York, but it hasn't exactly worked out for fantasy owners.

Dishonorable mentions: Christian Ehrhoff, Matt Moulson, Ryane Clowe


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