Premature evaluation. It's a problem for all fantasy players sometimes. You can shrug it off like it's no big deal, saying you "just weren't feeling it," but it's better to address it, admit it happened and move forward.
For whatever reason, sometimes you just get too excited by a player's development and you see the great potential and latch onto it too soon. Most of the time, it's OK that you bailed too early, because, more often than not, you will still have some interest in the player and have shares -- even if it doesn't make perfect sense coming into a season.
The key to remember here is that you were right ... eventually. You were just a little premature in your evaluation.
Who are some of my personal "a little too early on the hype train" players?
Ivan Provorov, D, Philadelphia Flyers: I thought Provorov was a Calder candidate in 2016-17, and I've been waiting for and wanting him to overtake the Flyers' quarterback duties ever since. Shayne Gostisbehere was fine, but Provorov always had elite upside. Gostisbehere, once again, started the season as the chief blueliner on the power play, but the job has fully transitioned to Provorov -- and we are seeing the elite results. He's a top-12 defenseman for fantasy over the past 30 days, trails only nine other defensemen for power-play points this season and is on pace for 50 points. This, finally, looks his D1 season, and, at just 22 years old, it should be the first of many.
David Perron, W, St. Louis Blues: I still remember thinking Perron, T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund would be one of the great all-time Blues lines once they developed together. Obviously, that was a long time ago (like more than 10 years ago), and Perron has been a slow burn ever since then. Always on the periphery of fantasy value, struggling with injuries and traded into fantastic situations, yet never truly capitalizing. It wasn't until three seasons ago, at the age of 30, when he truly had a standout fantasy campaign in his 11th season. But boy, oh boy, has he been good since then. And, I would argue, a little overlooked throughout that period. Over that sustained two-plus season period since he started out with the inaugural Vegas Golden Knights franchise, he sits tied for 39th in the NHL in points per game. He's just ahead of names like Filip Forsberg, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Radulov and, his current linemate, Ryan O'Reilly. Perron is on pace for his best season, and the road has been cleared for continued success with Tarasenko sidelined for the majority of the campaign.
Ryan Strome, C, New York Rangers: I actually don't have a lot of Strome shares despite being one of his biggest cheerleaders for quite some time. I continued to list him as a sleeper every season from 2012-13 (he didn't even play in the NHL that year) until 2016-17 with the New York Islanders, and then, just as I was ready to bail, he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers and I was in all over again in 2017-18. But after failing to hit during several chances to play with John Tavares and then Connor McDavid, I had enough. I didn't have interest in him playing on the New York Rangers. But here we are, 21 points in 21 games, and I was outbid on him in free agency in most of my leagues. I have to watch with bemused excitement as he finally makes good on his potential. Of course, most of his breakout this season has come with Mika Zibanejad on the sideline, so we'll have to wait and see how that plays out.
Andre Burakovsky, W, Colorado Avalanche: I probably spent three seasons too many drafting Burakovsky in the late rounds thinking he could click in the Washington Capitals' top six with either Alex Ovechkin or Evgeny Kuznetsov. I still blame it on his October 2014, when he scored eight points in nine games as a rookie. He scored 17 goals and 38 points the next season in 2015-16, but those remain his career highs, as he settled into a third-line role for the Capitals. Now, make no mistake, his current pace stems entirely from the injuries suffered by Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog that cleared the way for Burakovsky to play on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon. But, with so much success in their absence, you have to wonder if the Avs mix up their lines a little even after the other heavy hitters return. Either way, Burakovsky should blow past those career highs this season and there is a path to sustained scoring on this team.
Forwards on the move
Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (up 19 spots to No. 42): Looks like 'ol Geno still has it in him for whenever Sidney Crosby is forced out of the lineup. Malkin has eight points in six games since Crosby was hurt. Perhaps more importantly for many leagues, he's also not trending toward the minus in his plus/minus; His minus-25 rating last season was a big drawback in leagues that count it. The big tell that things are different than last season, though? Shots on goal. Malkin fired 187 shots on goal last season, which is a shot per game lower than his output so far this season. We'll have to revisit him once Crosby is back, but that won't be for a while yet. A fringe benefit here is that Malkin looks like he'll sustain Jake Guentzel's fantasy output as well.
Mika Zibanejad, C, New York Rangers (steady at No. 63): This has been a frustrating injury to deal with this season, as Zibanejad has seemed a game or two away from returning since he was hurt on Oct. 27. So it's been a month of day-to-day status for the Rangers' center. It's been described as a neck injury and he's skating on his own again, but his status is still not clear. Zibanejad started the season with eight points in his first two games and 11 points in his first nine before being hurt. However, since his injury Ryan Strome has performed extremely well as the top-line center for Artemi Panarin. So, this could be a tricky return to action as it likely means Zibanejad or Strome takes a hit in potential value. Keep a close eye on how he's trending and what the Rangers do with their top lines and power play.
Defensemen on the move
Tyson Barrie, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (up 15 to No. 128): Things didn't look good for Barrie out of the gate this season, but that is all changing with the firing of Mike Babcock. The first thing new coach Sheldon Keefe did was install Barrie on the top power-play unit alongside Morgan Rielly on the blue line. While the Leafs didn't get a power play in Keefe's debut on Thursday, the script played out Saturday with Barrie on the top unit. Sure enough, he scored on the power play, his second goal in two games under Keefe. Of course, this doesn't end well for William Nylander, as the return of Mitch Marner likely bumps Nylander off the top unit.
Goaltenders on the move
Carter Hutton, G, Buffalo Sabres (down seven spots to No. 145): The bloom is off the rose for Hutton, who started the season among the top goaltenders for the bulk of October. But after losing six straight with 23 goals allowed, Linus Ullmark has started the past three games for the Sabres. If you haven't sold already, it's probably too late. In the meantime, snatch up Ullmark, as the Sabres do have the potential to be a decent team defensively and Ullmark has shown well this season. I don't think there's massive upside, but he could be a No. 2 goalie for fantasy with enough of a workload.
New to rankings
Anders Nilsson, Bryan Rust, Ryan Pulock, Joonas Donskoi, Anthony Duclair, Robby Fabbri, Yanni Gourde, Zdeno Chara, Morgan Frost, Barclay Goodrow, Patric Hornqvist, Anthony Cirelli, Joel Edmundson, Troy Terry, Tyler Bozak, Nick Suzuki.
Jonathan Drouin, Viktor Arvidsson, Sammy Blais, Justin Schultz, Casey Mittelstadt, Justin Faulk, Wayne Simmonds, Paul Stastny, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Galchenyuk, Ondrej Palat, Shayne Gostisbehere, Corey Perry, Mats Zuccarello, Matt Niskanen, Juuse Saros.