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The Week in Fantasy: Devils in Freefall

New Jersey hasn’t been too swift lately. Is it time to ditch your Devils?

NHL: New Jersey Devils at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Devils have only won two games in December. They committed grand larceny against Nashville and won in overtime and beat the Canucks, possibly the worst team in the NHL. They’ve gotten obliterated by the Rangers, Blues and Canadiens in recent weeks. In a related story, the team isn’t exactly putting up great fantasy stats either.

This hasn’t been a banner or even mediocre year for Cory Schneider and that didn’t just start with the last four or five games. He’s got an AHL-caliber player’s .905 save percentage on the season, down from his career .923. That’s not even bad; that’s something Peter Budaj would scoff at right now.

That may be due to the defense being a few steps worse sans-Adam Larsson or the aging of Andy Greene, or a litany of any number of reasons. He may just not be that bad and facing a smaller sample of higher quality shots. But whatever the reason, his fantasy numbers are currently in the toilet.

But he’s been so good for so long that it’s almost certainly a mistake to get rid of him now. Selling as low as you can on a top 20 potential fantasy player who’s going to keep getting those starts and not be completely useless until he finds his way is a bad idea.

Ditto on Taylor Hall. He hasn’t done a super large amount recently, but he’s nearly a point per game player, even if he hasn’t lived up to his potential top 40 value, primarily due to a lower plus minus, which correlates with nothing useful. It’s no indictment on how he’s actually played; it’s a dumb fantasy stat that is hard to predict unless you’re on a goal scoring juggernaut.

Kyle Palmieri and Adam Henrique, the two fantasy darlings of last season may be a little easier to get rid of, however. Palmieri has 3 points in his last 5 games, but is barely still on pace for 40 points. His shooting will probably rebound from 7.5%, but is it going to completely circle back immediately? Probably not, which makes him a potential guy to trade while you still can.

Henrique was always sort of a fantasy fraud in some respects (no qualms with him as an actual player to be fair), but as high a shooting percentage as he had last year was unsustainable for anyone, even an Ovechkin or Stamkos. So Adam Henrique of all people wasn’t going to shoot around 20% year after year. He’s still having a better season than Palmieri, but the winger will probably have a better chance of rebounding with his low shooting percentage. I’d bank on Kyle over Adam.

Severson has been a surprise in real life and a horror in fantasy. He has a team-destroying -14 due to his deployment with Greene and lack of even strength scoring opportunities. He still has 15 points and will get you some powerplay points, but is that worth it for the +/-? And his career best is -8 so don’t think it’s going to rebound too much, there (no matter how unpredictable the stat is).

Point of this whole article is that the Devils are water trash right now and it’s showing up in fantasy. But Schneider has too low a value to get rid of right now, unless you find someone who believes in him rebounding sooner rather than later. Hall has been fine and will stay fine, even if his +/- won’t be helping too much. Palmieri and Henrique were having poor seasons before this skid and Severson is either a boon for PPP or a killer in +/-.

If you can get value for any of them, I’d go ahead because all of them are with their warts. But Hall and Schneider have places on good, solid fantasy teams right now but the other three are just too flawed right now to contribute too much value.