The 2016-17 regular season is almost over. Some players turned a middling previous season into an outstanding campaign this season – what’s up, Eric Staal?
And some players … well, they went the opposite way.
Here are 10 NHL scorers who didn’t have their best seasons in 2016-17, for a variety of reasons. Keep in mind that, for the most part, we’ve tried to shy away from players whose injuries are the catalyst for their downturns, mostly because it would just be Matt Beleskey and Bobby Ryan listed five times apiece.
Here’s the list:
2015-16: 21 goals-35 assists-56 points (82 Games)
2016-17: 12G-23A-35PTS (77 Games)
The Reasons: Yeah, he has as many points this season as he had assists last season.
The culprit here was a terrible first two months, in which he had nine points in 26 games. He improved, but his production is way off from the previous season (0.68 points per game) and from 2013-15, when he was 0.73 and better in those injury-affected campaigns.
Part of the problem: His power-play points have declined from 19 last season to 12 this season, as his power-play time has dropped by 33 seconds on average this season. It should also be noted that he’s been paired with Dougie Hamilton this season, who has 32 EV points. So perhaps his duties have changed, too.
9 – Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
2015-16: 28G-33A-61PTS (82 Games)
2016-17: 14G-26A-40PTS (76 Games)
The Reasons: Just a clunker of a season for a player that might be showing his age. He’s had a 10-game goal-scoring drought. He’s had a six-game point drought. His power-play points went from 19 last season to 13.
Eh, whatever: Let’s just put it all on Loui Eriksson, who would certainly be on the list were it not for the aforementioned injury caveat.
8 – Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes
2015-16: 21G-34A-55PTS (75 Games)
2016-17: 12G-25A-37PTS (77 Games)
The Reasons: Pretty much everything went wrong for the Coyotes this season, and OEL’s decline in production was chief among them. Much of it is due to the power play, which saw him drop from an outstanding 27 points last season to 18 this season. He couldn’t mesh with any of his D-partners this season. We’re frankly surprised there aren’t more “#FreeOEL” calls.
2015-16: 20G-33A-53PTS (75 Games)
2016-17: 15G-14A-29PTS (66 Games)
The Reasons: The exception to the injury exception.
He’s on track for the lowest points-per-game average of his career and the fourth straight season of offensive decline. Of course, his team was a steaming pile this season, something exemplified by Landeskog being this bad and still having a Corsi-Rel of 4.2-percent over his teammates.
They tried to trade him. They didn’t. Yet.
6 – Jaromir Jagr, Florida Panthers
2015-16: 27G-39A-66PTS (79 Games)
2016-17: 15G-27A-42PTS (77 Games)
The Reasons: Sasha Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau being out with injuries would be the reasons. Jagr had 34 EV points skating with Huberdeau last season. Thanks to injuries and other factors, that number was 10 this season.
(We refuse to believe any of this over 20-point decline is due to our lord and savior finally getting old, as Jagr will still be playing hockey when the sun is extinguished.)
5 – Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
2015-16: 19G-63A-82PTS (82 Games)
2016-17: 7G-43A-50PTS (76 Games)
The Reasons: Yes, this is a mighty steep drop in production for a player that should be near the end of his productive years anyway. But in this case, context is key. As Fear The Fin notes, the point-per-game season for Thornton was an anomaly, and it’s not as if he isn’t doing a ton of other good things as a legit Selke candidate.
4 – Shane Doan, Arizona Coyotes
2015-16: 28G-19A-47PTS (72 Games)
2016-17: 6G-19A-25PTS (70 Games)
The Reasons: Again, the Coyotes are terrible and Doan probably lost his smile when he realized his final days in the NHL would be spent wallowing on a lottery team. But this is a big decline, and his lowest points-per-game average since Bill Clinton was president. One culprit: He went from 12 power-play goals last season to three this season. His power-play time on ice dropped from 3:03 to 1:36.
3 – Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
2015-16: 34G-28A-62PTS (82 Games)
2016-17: 18G-33A-51PTS (77 Games)
The Reasons: What a weird season for Perry. This is by far his worst goal-scoring season since 2007, and at this moment it’s his worst shooting percentage (8.7) as well. It’s also his lowest point-production season since his freshman and sophomore seasons. Yet he’s ony five points off of last season’s power-play totals. Weirder still: He has nine goals in his last 25 games, so we’re not getting the usual Perry surge at the end of the season. Something’s off.
2 – Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens
2015-16: 14G-40A-54PTS (82 Games)
2016-17: 9G-18A-27PTS (74 Games)
The Reasons: Woof, even with that two-point night on Thursday. The worst offensive season of his career, and one in which his head is barely above water in possession compared to his teammates. And, conversely, his average ice time is at its lowest since 2007. He’ll be 35 next season, and a real pro for the Vegas Golden Knights.
1 – Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
2015-16: 25G-49A-74PTS (81 Games) 5/18
2016-17: 12G-36A-48PTS (70 Games) 5/17
The Reasons: It can be argued, quite successfully, that Kopitar’s early-season funk did more to sink the Kings this season than their starting goaltender getting injured.
He had 16 points in his first 32 games, with just three goals. He found his groove a bit in the second half, but it was too late to salvage a season in which he’s going to have the lowest points-per-game average of his career (0.69) and his first season in the NHL with a shooting percentage under 9.0.
Eh, blame the World Cup …
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