Under Achievers From Around the League
The NHL season never shakes out exactly as expected; good teams struggle, and sometimes great players land in terrible funks. Below I will lay out a list of players from around the league who have gotten off to poor starts.
Perry is probably the most recognized under achiever thus far because he’s usually next to unstoppable in front of the net. Perry has been better as of late but that doesn’t change the fact that the big winger has just 12 points in 21 games so far this season. To put that in perspective ESPN projects him to score 20 goals by seasons end, last year he tallied 33. There is still time to get his season together, but he has to get red-hot.
Also in the middle of some scrutiny is the big center in Anaheim. Getzlaf is on pace to score 41 points which is a staggering drop from the 70 he posted last year. The Ducks were hoping that some guys from within would step up and help the big line produce, clearly that hasn’t happened. Make no mistake, this team was never going to do well with their two big forwards playing mediocre at best.
Skinner had 31 points last season which was a startling decline from the 54 he had in 2013-2014. This year he is poised to take another cut in production as ESPN has him projected to finish this season with 21 points. This was a forward who a few years ago looked ready to become the face of the Hurricanes with his great hands and incredible skating. The skill is still there and at 23-years old Skinner is still young so he could rebound, but it has to start happening and soon.
Johnson was expected to be the spine of a grizzly Columbus team that showed so much promise at the end of last year. We’re 22 games into the season, Johnson has five points and Columbus sits in last place in the Metropolitan Division. To be fair there are a ton of issues facing the Jackets, not just Johnson. That being said it really hurts when a defender who had 40 points last year, is on pace for just 19 the next.
Looking at an even more severe dip in production is the Columbus captain. Foligno had a breath taking 73 points last year, as the gritty winger was simply on fire. This year the winger is on pace to notch just 34 points. A dip like that just seems to severe to overcome for an up-and-coming team. On another note, Foligno can’t find any luck.
I understand that this name comes out of nowhere, but give me a chance to explain myself. Nichushkin has all the tools to dominate, so much so that Jaromir Jagr suggested that he could one day be the best in the world. Last year the big Russian winger was hurt for all but eight games, but in his rookie campaign he notched 34 points in 79 games. Since then the Stars have become one of the scariest teams in the league so I think it would be safe to think that the winger would have a field day with so much attention diverted to Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin; but thus far Nichushkin has only five points in 19 games and is on place to finish the year with 21. There is still time, I was just expecting him to be dominant.
Simmonds has been one of the best in front of the net over the last few seasons, but this year he can’t buy a goal. Last year Simmonds had 50 points 28 of which were goals, but this year he’s on pace to finish the year with 12. This is a major reason that the Philadelphia Flyers are last in the NHL in goals scored.
Somehow Crosby has only 11 points through 20 games and is on pace to post 45 points by years end. The face of the NHL is always better than a point per game player, but for some reason he can’t find the net right now. Last year Crosby had 84 points which was a step down from his 104 the year before that. Crosby is so talented, it’s hard to believe that he won’t start scoring like crazy at some point, that being said a fourth of the season is already gone.
Now to be fair hockey is a team game, and none of these guys are having issues for a lack of determination. When I made this list I considered guys who just looked like they didn’t have that next step to make the big play. Does that mean they can’t find it? Of course not, I think every player on this list will be fine it just may take some time for them to shake their funk.
Don’t agree? Leave it in the comments.