After exploring players who seem poised for breakout season in 2012-13, it’s time to take a look at 10 players who could take a step back.
All of these players were pretty solid last season but based particular attributes or even past NHL trends, they might end up regressing this season.
While they may not be a goalie ghost town like Philadelphia, the Chicago Blackhawks might end up becoming one in the near future.
Blackhawks’ netminder Corey Crawford was nowhere near as consistent last season as he was in 2010-11 when he posted 33 wins, a goals against average of 2.30, a .917 save percentage with 4 shutouts. While Crawford did post his second straight 30-win season 2011-12, his goals against went up to 2.72, his save percentage dropped to .903 while he posted no shutouts.
It’s also concerning that Crawford didn’t play well in the postseason last year. His team was knocked out of the first round, his save percentage of .893 and he allowed a few questionable goals.
It will be interesting to see how confident the organization is in Crawford going into this season as they were rumored to be interested in Vancouver Canucks’ goaltender Roberto Luongo. If Crawford plays poorly in 2012-13, who knows which direction the Blackhawks will end up going.
There are some NHLers who are simply one-year wonders.
This could be the case for new Vancouver Canucks’ defenceman Jason Garrison. With the Florida Panthers last season, Garrison had 16 goals and 17 assists, cracking the 30-point barrier for the first time in four seasons.
Because of his success last season, the Canucks signed Garrison to a 6-year deal worth $27.6 million. While Garrison will certainly bask in the money, this contract could end up coming back to hurt the Canucks in the future.
Garrison’s career numbers do not seem to match up with his performance in 2011-12. While the 27-year-old defenceman averaged 0.43 points per game last season, Garrison only averaged 0.23 points per game in his career prior to 2011-12.
While there is no doubting Garrison’s big shot from the point, which could end up being lethal on the power play, the 27-year-old could come back down to earth this season and put up mediocre numbers on the blue line for the Canucks.
Since entering the NHL in the 2006-07, Colorado Avalanche forward Paul Stastny’s numbers have dipped each and every year.
This is not due to poor play. Instead, it has been due to injuries and inconsistent play for an Avalanche hockey club looking to find its way. Last season, Stastny put up 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points, in what was considered a down year for the talented forward.
With the Avalanche not improving much in the off-season, it could be another slow season for Stastny.
Calgary Flames’ forward Curtis Glencross had a career year last season.
Glencross had 26 goals and 22 assists for 48 points in 67 games 2011-12. He was also a key player on special teams, posting 8 power play goals and 1 shorthanded goal.
However, there is reason to doubt that Glencross can put up these kinds of numbers again. Yes, his goal totals have increased in each of the last four seasons but this is a player who has yet to play a full NHL season and one who may have had his only year to remember in the NHL.
When it comes to goaltenders, it is hard to predict how they will play year after year.
Unfortunately for the San Jose Sharks, this might be the case with their starting goaltender Antti Niemi. Last season, Niemi put up decent numbers as he won 34 games, posted a 2.45 goals against average, had a .915 save percentage with six shutouts.
That being said, Niemi barely got his club into the postseason last year and when they did get in, he and his teammates were manhandled by the St. Louis Blues. Niemi went 1-4 with a 2.45 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in that series.
It should be noted that the San Jose Sharks are not the team they used to be. They are no longer considered a perennial Western Conference powerhouse and the team still struggles when it matters most.
Niemi might once again be the victim of this in 2012-13.
Looking at New Jersey Devils’ forward David Clarkson, it’s easy to see he is more than just a serviceable NHLer.
Clarkson works hard, battles for pucks, fights, plays physical and as he showed last season, can put the puck in the net. Last season was a career year for Clarkson, putting up 46 points in 80 games.
However, this may just have been an extremely hot year for Clarkson. He is not known for scoring goals and is certainly not known for putting up big numbers season after season.
Next season might be the year Clarkson goes back to being a player who does all the other things right but does not put up the same kind of numbers he did in 2011-12.
Being a young goaltender in the NHL is not easy.
Winnipeg Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec knows this, as he has faced a barrage of shots since starting his career with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2007-08. Last season, Pavelec went 29-28-0-9 with a 2.91 goals against average, a .906 save percentage and 4 shutouts.
The Jets do not have the greatest defensive corps by any means so Pavelec will once again face his fair share of shots in 2012-13. Because of that and the team in front of him, there is a chance that Pavelec could struggle this season.
When you are a young player in the NHL, there is always plenty to learn.
This is exactly the case when it comes to Boston Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic. In his five seasons with the Bruins, Lucic has put up 212 points in 359 career games while also piling up 525 penalty minutes.
Last season, while putting up 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points, Lucic took a ton of bad penalties and shied away during the most important part of the season for his hockey club. In seven postseason games last year, Lucic had just 3 assists and only 12 shots on goal in seven games.
Because of his poor playoff performance and the amount of time he spends in the penalty box, Lucic might have a slow 2012-13 for his Bruins’ hockey club.
Despite being signed to a three-year contract extension this off-season, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Teddy Purcell might regress this upcoming season.
Purcell has put up solid numbers in the last two seasons. Last season, the 26-year-old had a terrific year, scoring 24 goals and adding 41 assists for 65 points in 81 games. In 2010-11, Purcell had 51 points (17 goals and 34 assists) in 81 games.
This is why Purcell might take a step back this season. With a contract extension comes more money and higher expectations. Can Purcell handle it? Does Purcell have the offensive arsenal around him to help him produce?
These are all questions that need answering and, unfortunately for the Lightning and their fans, it could end up being a negative one.
To try and get their offensive mojo back for the 2012-13 season, the Washington Capitals acquired Mike Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars.
Ribeiro was a productive player with the Stars for six seasons, averaging close to 68 points a season as one of the Stars’ most consistent offensive players.
However, Ribeiro is with a new team and a much different conference. The Eastern Conference is known for tight-checking games and better defensive hockey, which might end up being an obstacle for Ribeiro as he looks to get used to playing with his new club and a different style of hockey.
If you put those two things together, Ribeiro may have a down year in the 2012-13 season.