Second-Half Comebacks

Mitch Goldenberg
Corey Abbott looks at some Western Conference teams' position battles in this week's installment of In the Crease

We’ve seen just about half of a shortened 2013 season, and some might say we already know the fantasy superstars, busts and surprises. But we don’t. The second half of an NHL season is a whole different ball game. Consider Eric Staal’s stats last season:  for example. First half: 9 G, 16 A, minus 25. Second half: 15 G, 30 A, plus 5. There might be some disappointments you’re going to want to dump, but patience wins fantasy championships. Some hot players will cool down and vice-versa.

Alex Ovechkin

Career Average: 1.2 PPG

2013: 0.8 PPG

How can we explain the “Great Eight”… We can’t. He has the potential to be the best hockey player in the world… and he was for a little while, but over the better part of the past three years we haven’t seen evidence of that greatness. Is it the coaching changes, his teammates or himself? Chances are Alex Ovechkin will once again put together an MVP caliber season; the question is when. Will it begin at the strike of March 2013? We doubt it, but his worst month (January – three points in eight games) is likely behind him.

Dany Heatley

Career Average: 0.99 PPG

2013: 0.5 PPG

Heatley’s stats have significantly decreased each and every season since his 82-point campaign in 2010 with San Jose. It certainly doesn’t help that the new and “improved” Wild are struggling, but with just 12 points through 21 games, Heatley’s days as an elite fantasy performer are long gone and his days as a productive fantasy forward are fading. Unless he puts together an unlikely and significant turnaround immediately, it’s likely 2013 will be his worst season to date.

Brad Richards

Career Average: 0.93 PPG

NYR Average (2011-13) 0.74 PPG

Broadway Brad didn’t have the ideal impact upon his move to the Big Apple last year, but the Rangers were booming in first place. This year with the Rangers exchanging their first place race with an eighth place scramble, neither Richards or his talented teammates like Marian Gaborik have had the start they imagined. Nonetheless, the Rangers are a good team, who should be able to climb out of their early slumping, which would put Richards and Gaborik’s stock on the rise.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

It looks like the Oilers’ speedy center may have fallen victim to the sophomore slump. After an impressive 52 points in his 62 game rookie season, RNH has registered just seven points through 20 games in 2013. After a torrid start (five points in his first seven games), RNH suffered a dismal February and currently has just two points in his past 13. RNH is a great player, though, and once he climbs out of this miserable slump he’ll be back to his normal self. The question is, how long will it take for him to get back on track? Patience will be key for RNH’s fantasy owners, especially those in keeper leagues.

Jonathan Quick

Career: .596 W%, 2.31 GAA, .916 SV%

2013: .428 W%, 2.53 GAA, .901 SV%

After short, party filled summers, Stanley Cup champions typically start the next season slumping. But that’s no excuse for the Los Angeles Kings, who had four extra months to rest up. Jonathan Quick lifted the Kings into the playoffs last season and was a crucial part of their playoff dominance. Not the same story this year, as both Quick and the Kings have struggled out of the gate. As of late, though, the Kings are playing better hockey with seven wins in their past nine games. They’ve also battled through a road-heavy first half. We all know this team can put it together when it counts. Although Quick might not repeat last year’s numbers, he should pick it up as the Kings try to gain ground in the playoff race.

What to Read Next