By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Can you really be disenchanted with a forward who has three goals and 19 assists in 22 games, a defenseman who has six goals and five assists in 21 games or a goaltender who has a 2.38 GAA and a .918 SV%?
You can if they are Pittsburgh Penguins C Evgeni Malkin, Nashville Predators D Shea Weber and New York Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist, respectively.
Disappointment is relative to expectations.
Those three players have produced above-average numbers for their respective positions, but fantasy owners did not pay for above average. They paid for elite.
In yahoo.com leagues, Malkin was selected at an average draft position of 3.6, Lundqvist went at 7.6 and Weber at 62.
Malkin currently ranks 31st overall, Lundqvist is 97th and Weber is 146th.
Malkin's 19 assists are tied for second in the NHL, but he hasn't been the goal-scoring threat owners expected.
The center has attempted a career-low 2.68 SOG per game and has put up a scoring percentage of .051, also a career low. He also has a -4 differential.
Malkin has 12 assists in November, but he has attempted a paltry 17 SOG this month and hasn't scored a goal since Oct. 17.
His shooting percentage will improve, but if he's taking fewer shots it won't result in a goal explosion.
Like Malkin, Weber has been taking fewer shots than we are used to. He has 42 in 21 games, which puts him on pace for just 164. He finished in the 220-250 range from 2008-2012 and took 124 in 48 games last season.
He's managed to score six goals because he has put up a career-high .143 scoring percentage and picked up five of them on the power play.
Lundqvist's biggest issue is that he hasn't received much support from his teammates and is just 6-9-0. He's gone 5-6-0 over his last 11 games despite posting a 1.74 GAA and a .934 SV% in that span.
Of the three players, I'm holding onto Malkin and Lundqvist and shopping Weber.
Even if Malkin doesn't revert to his 2011-12 form, he is still a strong contributor in assists, power-play points and penalty minutes. He also isn't a complete nonfactor in SOG despite the dropoff in volume, and his goal-scoring should pick up. He's too talented to continue to miss his mark so often.
Lundqvist has been excellent in the cage after a disastrous first four games, and the Rangers offense should improve now that Rick Nash is back from a concussion.
While Weber's six goals tie him for second in the NHL among blueliners, his meager assist total isn't likely to improve due to Nashville's dearth of offensive talent.
And if Weber isn't attempting close to 3.0 SOG per game, he's no better a fantasy option than the dozens of other 40-point, 150-SOG defenseman such as Chicago's Brent Seabrook, Anaheim's Cam Fowler or Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa.
If you can recoup most of Weber's draft day value in a trade due to his six goals and big name, go for it.
11/21 16:00:35 ET