October 23, 2011
Early season panic is never a good thing in the NHL. It's usually an unnecessary thing, too, unless you're the Columbus Blue Jackets. So if your favorite player is off to a slow start, just repeat to yourself: 'It's Just October'.
Keep that in mind here as well, as we list 10 NHL goal-scorers that are sans goals early on this season. Some are in a little trouble; others are doing things beyond scoring goals that are helping their teams succeed.
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 4, in which he scored two goals against the Lightning.
Why The Drought? Booth was struggling mightily under new Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen, as was his line with Scottie Upshall(notes). Booth had one assist and was a minus-6 before the Panthers traded him to Vancouver on Saturday night. One assumes he'll break the slump quite quickly with a little twin magic on the power play.
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 5, against the Sharks.
Why The Drought? The Habs are a struggling bunch overall, but Cole is also playing under the weight of his 4-year, $18-million contract with the Canadiens. Typically a slow starter, though. He has a single assist so far this season.
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 1, scoring twice against Buffalo.
Why The Drought? It's not a bad start for Dubinsky, as he has three assists in six games and is playing to a plus-2. His line with Artem Anisimov(notes) and Ryan Callahan(notes) hasn't gotten cranking yet. Like Cole, also has a four-year deal on his mind to start the season. Don't overlook a 1-for-23 power play, either.
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 1, with a fairly memorable goal against Calgary.
Why The Drought? Well, it's a goal-scoring drought for sure. But the kid has five assists in seven games playing with Taylor Hall(notes) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins(notes), so we're also sure the Oilers are OK with this.
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 4, in a 4-point game against Vancouver.
Why The Drought? Getzlaf has two assists in six games for the Ducks, while his linemates Bobby Ryan(notes) (2 goals) and Corey Perry(notes) (3 goals) have both snapped the twine on multiple occasions. The trip to Europe to start the season may have monkeyed with him, too. It's obviously just a matter of time for Getzlaf; if nothing else this month, he had a chance to welcome the 1 millionth visitor to the Discovery Science Center. Which is nice.
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 1, in a win over Anaheim.
Why The Drought? Going back to last season's playoffs, Hornqvist has gone 14 games without a point. He's battled injuries throughout the start of this season, and simply hasn't gotten on track for goal-starved Nashville.
First Goal Last Season: He played in the KHL last season, so we assume he already had a goal or two on his stats sheet before the season even started.
Why The Drought? Back in the NHL for the first time since 2008, Jagr has four assists in seven games, all of them on the power play. He hasn't looked up to speed at times at even strength, but he's also looked dynamic with Claude Giroux(notes). He's brought intangibles to the Flyers' room, which is nice. Goals would be nice, too. Oh, right: Jagr says he doesn't need to score goals now.
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 3, in a 3-point effort against the Oilers.
Why The Drought? The Wild are still looking for offensive cohesion, but a big factor in Koivu's early stumble is the power play, which is 3-for-31 on the season. Koivu has 15 power-play goals in his last two seasons. But the dude gets a mulligan for this start, because he nearly was Zednik'd by a skate and turned out OK.
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 6 for Okposo, who missed the first three and a half months of the season with an injury. That game was on Feb. 1.
Why The Drought? His line with Frans Nielsen(notes) and Michael Grabner(notes) just hasn't gotten off the blocks very well, and Coach Jack Capuano can't really figure it out: "They've got to shoot the puck a little more and get to the net for sure," Capuano said, "but they're a group that's very creative. They've got great hockey sense, great vision. It's going to come."
First Goal Last Season: Game No. 1, in a 2-point effort against Anaheim.
Why The Drought? Sullivan as a "star" at this stage in his career might be a stretch, but there's no question that the chances he's gotten offensively with the Penguins should have resulted in something on the board. He has three assists in 10 games despite averaging 4:09 per night on the power play.