This article is part of our Neutral Zone Wrap series.
No matter the occupation or situation, recovering from a slump when you're not being provided proper tools is difficult. A lack of confidence or change in personnel may also contribute to the problem. So unless you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you're stuck. Or so you think.
In hockey, downturns are inevitable. It doesn't matter if you're a veteran or rookie; the pursuit of maintaining consistency is nearly impossible. Players must truly believe in their abilities if they want to push through. And as long as they don't slack on the physical end, their chances for recovery greatly improve.
Here are a few candidates who have started slow, but should turn it around in 2016. As usual, no big stars will be mentioned, nor anyone who missed significant time due to injury:
Mathew Dumba, D, Minnesota
Now in his third season, the former Red Deer Rebel was primed to break out. Unfortunately, things haven't materialized as planned. While the last couple outings have shown promise (two goals in his last three outings), the rest of Dumba's efforts have proved to be less then stellar (five points in his first 23 contests). He may be on the low side in terms of ice time (averaging 16:28), but remains a fixture on one of the Wild's power-play units. No doubt Dumba will crack his NHL high of 16 points from last year and should land somewhere in the mid-to-high 20s by season's end. That's progress.