NHL Preview: Five players looking to bounce back from disappointment in 2017-18 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Mainly Sunny

NHL Preview: Five players looking to bounce back from disappointment in 2017-18

Los Angeles Kings' Anze Kopitar, left, of Slovenia, and Vancouver Canucks' Chris Tanev watch the puck during second period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, March 31, 2017. Kopitar is among the players looking to bounce back from disappointment in 2017-18.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
September 28, 2017 - 11:04 AM

TORONTO - From suddenly slumping snipers to goalies losing their groove, last season was a forgettable one for some NHL players. Here are five looking to bounce back in 2017-18 after sub-par performances last year.

1. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles, 2016-17 stats: 76 games, 12 goals, 40 assists, 52 points

The Kings missed the playoffs last year when their offence sputtered, and a major void up front came from Kopitar. The 30-year-old captain had career lows in goals (12) and points (52). It was the first year since his rookie campaign in 2006-07 that he didn't lead the club in scoring. Kopitar plays a strong two-way game that keeps him useful even when he isn't producing, but he's only entering the second year of an eight-year contract that pays him US$10 million per year. He's averaged 72 points per 82 games over 11 seasons and should be expected to produce closer to his career numbers.

2. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers. 2016-17 stats: 57 games, 31-20-4 record, 2.74 goals-against average, .910 save percentage.

Lundqvist is coming off his worst regular season statistically in 12 years with the Rangers, but showed some of his old consistent self in two playoff rounds before the Rangers bowed out to Ottawa. New York will be relying on the 35-year-old Swede to prove last season was just a one-off and that age is not a factor. A strong season would see the Swedish netminder reach some career milestones. He enters the year 10th all-time in wins with 405 and could move up as far as seventh if he hits his annual average of 33. He's also 58 games away from reaching 800.

3. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia. 2016-17 stats: 82 games, 14 goals, 44 assists, 58 points

Giroux dressed in all 82 games last season for the Flyers, but finished with career lows in goals (14) and has declined in point production every year since a career-high 93 in the 2011-12 season. The Hearst, Ont., native has played centre for most of his career, but Philadelphia head coach Dave Hakstol experimented with the 29-year-old captain on left wing in parts of the pre-season. Giroux has five years remaining with a cap hit exceeding $8 million annually.

4. Corey Perry, Anaheim. 2016-17 stats: 82 games, 19 goals, 34 assists, 53 points

Anaheim is banking on last season just being a down year and not the start of a trend for the 29-year-old Perry. The former 50-goal man struggled to be the consistent sniper he once was when he failed to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time since 2006-07. The Peterborough, Ont., native was fourth on his team in goals last year. The last time he didn't lead the Ducks in scoring was when Randy Carlyle was in his first tenure as Anaheim coach in 2009-10. Perry has four years remaining on an eight-year, $69-million contract.

5. Jordan Eberle, New York Islanders. 2016-17 stats: 82 games, 20 goals, 31 assists, 51 points

After seven seasons in Edmonton, Eberle is looking for a fresh start with the Islanders. The 27-year-old Regina native struggled during his final year with the Oilers, once going 17 straight games without a goal, and was often shuffled in the lineup from top line with Connor McDavid to fourth line and penalty kill. If it wasn't for a hat trick in the final game of the season against Vancouver, Eberle would have failed to hit the 20-goal mark. In New York, Eberle has a chance to reconnect on a line with John Tavares, perhaps building off the chemistry they created together on Canada's 2009 world junior gold-medal winning squad.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kelowna News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile