Five Players Off to Disappointing Starts in 2016-2017
As every new season rolls around, there are bound to be players that come in hot and players that come in cold. Most of the time these come as surprises, especially for teams paying big money for players that start the season slow.
1. Justin Williams, Washington
At 35 years old, Williams is at the tail end of his career. After seven seasons and two Stanley Cup wins in Los Angeles, he signed a two year, $3.25 million per deal with the Capitals in hopes to give them the extra push in the playoffs to make it past the second round.
So far this season, Williams has two goals and four points in 21 games. He is on pace for 16 points, which would be down 36 from 2015-2016. Washington needs Williams to start producing immediately. Currently playing on a line with Lars Eller and Zach Sanford, becoming an extra layer of scoring would help push the Capitals up the standings and win their second consecutive Metropolitan Division title.
2. Anthony Duclair, Arizona
After an impressive rookie campaign in 2015-2016, Duclair has fallen off a cliff early this season. Acquired in the Keith Yandle deal with the Rangers in the spring of 2015, the Coyotes envisioned Duclair as a future top-six mainstay, but now are reportedly listening to offers on him.
In 21 games this season, Duclair only has one goal. On pace for only a handful of goals, Duclair is not doing much to help Arizona improve after last season, as they are currently tied for last in the league.
The Coyotes forward core is primarily young, with the likes of Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, Lawson Crouse, and Laurent Dauphin making up a large majority of the group, so inconsistency is expected. But, Duclair has been here before and has a 20 goal season under his belt. Arizona needs him to turn his season around if they want to turn theirs around as well.
3. Andrew Ladd, New York (I)
Signed to be John Tavares’ left winger for he next half-decade, things have not gotten off on the correct foot for Andrew Ladd and the New York Islanders.
Ladd has bounced around on all four lines and subsequently only has two goals in 21 games. He played with John Tavares for around ten games and had no goals, but it may be time for another trial run, seeing that he is going to be wearing blue and orange for a long time.
If Ladd can find his groove next to Tavares, Nelson, or Cizikas, it would be a huge plus for the Islanders. Currently in last place with Arizona, they’ve taken a huge step back after two straight 100 point seasons.
4. Jimmy Hayes, Boston
Hayes has struggled since being traded to Boston from Florida, but this season has been far worse than the previous. He has one goal and no assists in 21 games and has been a healthy scratch on occasion.
Hayes has one year left after this year at $2.3 million, but his future with Boston appears uncertain. A trade does not seem out of the question at this point in time. Hayes is 6’5 and a good skater for his size, and at his current contract there may be a few takers. A scenario change may be good for him to get back on track.
5. Jiri Hudler, Dallas
Hudler signed a one year, $2 million deal with the Stars this offseason, which appeared to be a very team-friendly deal at the time. However, in the four games Hudler has played when he has not been injured, he has zero points and zero shots on goal.
Hudler has been regressing since being almost point-per-game with Calgary in 2014-2015. If he can return to that form, he would become a very valuable asset for the Stars, either on the roster or on the trade market.