Crashing the Net: Who's Up, Who's Down?
In Crashing the Net we usually focus on ascending players, but this week we're also going to look at a few big name skaters that are mired in some pretty substantial slumps of late.
Nik Antropov continues to be a disappointing point producer, given his talents, with 14 in 29 games for the Jets. He's been on a bit of a role lately though with six points in his last five games.
Bryan Bickell has four points in his last two contests for the Blackhawks. On the season he's been a solid +7 skater with 17 points in 29 games. He's not one to fire a shot on net though with much frequency as he has only 39 shots on the campaign.
Scott Gomez is a bit part at this point of his career with the Sharks but he's flashed some of the old offensive flair of late with a helper in each of his last four games. Too bad he's a (-5) skater in that time.
Scott Hartnell was a star last season 37 goals, 136 PIMs an a +19 rating. He won championships for people last season. This year, not so much. Coming back from injury, Hartnell has suited up for only 14 games and though he has 45 PIMs the rest of his game is way off as he has a total of two goals, five points an a (-2) rating. The month of March has been particularly brutal (1 point, -3 rating in eight games).
Dany Heatley has three assists in the last two games, but that's about all the good that can be said about the former 50-goal scorer. Heatley has fallen to a (-11) rating on the year and he's lit the lamp one time in nine March contests. Boy did his game just fall flat on it's face starting in 2010.
Anze Kopitar is a scoring star and he's racing like a Corvette right now. Not only does he have a point in 4-straight games but since the start of February he has seven goals and 24 points in 22 games. Also it doesn't hurt that he's a +11 skater on the year.
Joe Pavelski last lit the lamp on March 2nd meaning he's gone eight games without a goal. Even worse though is the fact that he's had all of one helper in eight games. He's also not picked up a single penalty minutes and is a (-5) skater during that time. Talk about a wasted month.
Brad Richards has been reunited with Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik on a superline in New York. Hopefully that will wake him up from his funk. Richards has a mere 15 points in 26 games contests this season. He's been held pointless for 4-straight games. He's also scored just twice in his last 21 games. Yeah, that's not good.
Teemu Selanne had 14 points in his first 12 games, but the 42 year old has slipped to four points in his last 14 games including just one point in his last nine contests. The condensed schedule certainly isn't helping. “We’re right now in a span where we play 25 games in 44 nights,” Selanne said. “It’s a challenge.”
Jeff Skinner has nine goals and 18 points in 23 games, everyone is pleased with that, but over his last four games he's been held off the score sheet while recording a (-2) rating.
Matt Stajan never quite lived up to expectations, and it's doubtful he's even rostered in your fantasy league. Take note though that he's actually been hot of late. Stajan has recorded five helpers with a +4 rating over his last three games for the Flames.
Jordan Staal, what happened to your offense? Over your last four games you have zero points. Up until that point you had 18 points in 24 games. We can live with that pace, but not with what we are seeing now. Oh, that total of six goals is also unacceptable. You forget that you've been a 20-goal scorer in three of the previous four seasons (the only time you missed out was in 2010 when you recorded 11 goals in 42 games, clearly a 20-goal pace)?
Jay Bouwmeester has remembered how to help out offensively. Jay has scored twice in his last three games to give him six goals on the year, one more than he scored last season. In fact, after recording at least 12 goals in 3-straight seasons (2006-008) he went out and scored a total of 12 goals the past three seasons. His current pace of six scores in 27 games would equate to 18 goals over the course of 82 games. Thanks can go to his .122 shooting percentage, more than double his .053 career rate.
Brian Campbell has a solid total of 17 points on the season even if he has only one point in six games. However, his offensive has been rendered totally irrelevant given his NHL worst (-20) rating which includes a (-11) mark in nine March games (he plays so much for the sad sack team that he's always seemingly on the ice when the opponent scores). He's a brutal start right now.
Matt Irwin of the Sharks has scored a goal in three straight games. He's also got a point in 4-straight games pushing his total for the season up to five goals (three on the power-play) and eight points. On the downside he's a (-6), but he's regularly drawing into the lineup now that Brent Burns has shifted to forward. Speaking of Burns, he's flat out killing it. The skilled, 6'5”, 220 lbs defensemen has been skating with Joe Thornton and Logan Couture over the last four games and he has a whopping six points.
The Blues are having some issues right now in net and with their defensive coverage, but Barret Jackman is doing his part offensively, an odd statement to make given that Jackman has never recorded 30 points in a season. On the year he has 10 points and is a +10 skater, and over his last seven games he's been hot with the puck on his stick as he has dished out six assists.
Justin Schultz killed it in the AHL this season during the lockout. He then killed it to start the NHL season. However, he may be hitting a wall of sorts given that he has just three helpers in his last nine games (he's already played 25 games more than he did last season). With 15 points, including 12 on the power-play, it's doubtful any of his owners is complaining though it might be wise to see if you can deal him if someone will pay top dollar.
Patrick Wiercioch (and that isn't easy to spell) has been hot of late. Even though he's skating less than 14 minutes a night the past two weeks for the Senators he scored three times while dishing out an assists. He's also fired 15 shots on net as he's ramping up his offensive play. Teammate Chris Phillips is also experiencing an offensive bonanza with a goal, four helpers an a +5 rating the past two weeks.
Niklas Backstrom doesn't ever seem to really get his due. Not only is he 14-7-2, the win total is second in the league, but his 2.34 GAA is better than the 2.42 mark of Jimmy Howard and his .915 save percentage is better than the .914 mark of Pekka Rinne. Hey, I'm just saying.
Sergei Bobrovsky is second in the NHL with a .932 save percentage and his 2.00 GAA places him fourth. On March 11th he was named the NHL's First Star of the Week after going 4-0 with a 0.77 GAA and .972 save percentage. On March 18th he was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week after posting a 0.62 GAA and .983 save percentage. From the waiver-wire to being the best goalie in hockey the past two weeks. What a ride.
Dan Ellis has been solid in March for the 'Canes a .922 save percentage in four games though his record is only 1-1-1. Meanwhile Justin Peters has gone 2-2 despite a .908 save percentage. Neither guy is exactly taking the role by storm with Cam Ward on the shelf.
Jonas Hiller has reestablished himself in net for the Ducks as he has won four of his last five starts while allowing a total of six goals. Viktor Fasth isn't going away, but he's allowed four, four and three goals in three of his last five starts so the Ducks are slowly tilting things to Hiller in net.
Jonathan Quick, you know last year's superstar, just pulled his record to .500 at 10-8-2. Worse than that though is his sickly .896 save percentage, just a wee bit below his .929 mark from last season. He's still made 21 starts to Jonathan Bernier's seven but Bernier has clearly been the sharper goalie this season in his limited work (1.94 GAA, .916 save percentage).
Semyon Varlamov has lost each of his last four starts as he has allowed a total of 15 goals to drop his record to 8-13-3 with a rising 2.93 GAA. Everyone around the team knows the team is to blame more than Varlamov, but that doesn't help anyone who is running Semyon out there right now. It would be wise to bench him and ride out the cold spell.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday at 5 PM EDT. Ray's analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.