Take a trip around the Western Conference to see who has been breaking out of their slump.
This week we’ll focus on at least one player per team in the Western Conference who is back on the hot trail after slipping into extended scoring funks. Keep an eye on the following gentlemen who may be worth moving back into your active rosters in weekly roster freeze leagues especially, as we’ll mostly be looking at players who you won’t likely find on waivers.
Nick Bonino is clearly having a hallmark year in his young career. However, he hit a rough patch around the holiday season going two weeks without a single point (six games). 2014 has been very kind to him though. Earning top power play unit billing with Perry & Getzlaf sure has helped, and seven points over four games beginning on New Year’s Eve have followed as well as points in five of his last six.
Teemu Selanne has certainly seen his jets diminish in torque this year, experiencing a career worst 16-game scoreless drought, which was also part of a 19 game goalless rut. In fact from October 2nd through January 5th, he only found himself on the score sheet four times over 27 games, with only a single goal in two and a half months!
It is sad to see this legend fall so quickly off the map…or did he? Upon being named to his record sixth Olympic games for native Finland, Selanne has seen a little spike with three points over his past two games, and counting. He might well be floating around on your waiver wire.
Mathieu Perreault has wiped away five consecutive donuts with six points in his last three, including a troika on Saturday!
Team leading scorer by a country mile (and shock omission from Czech Republic’s Olympic squad) Jiri Hudler, hit a snag around the holidays going scoreless in six of seven games. He has since rebounded with points in three of the last four. Time to start riding the Hudler bus again.
I’m really forced to cherry pick here, aren’t I? Duncan Keith hasn’t scored a goal in 11 straight games. He has racked up a dozen assist in that same range. He has more than an assist per game now!
I suppose you could look down on Marian Hossa for only managing to record a solitary point over five games prior to Saturday evening, but he answered that pretty succinctly with goals in back to back games this weekend and an assist to boot.
The Avs haven’t received a goal from P.A. Parenteau in over a month, yet the fellow has been picking it up on the creative end setting up his teammates six times in the past seven including a three-point outburst last week.
Semyon Varlamov squashed a recent mediocre run (allowed three goals, three out of four games last week) with back-to-back wins allowing just two goals in each contest.
Tyler Seguin was on a career-best pace, with a fantastic start to 2013-14, along with a few evenings where he torched the opposition to umpteenth degrees. However, he is currently slumping, going scoreless over the last five games. It is not for a lack of trying as Seguin has taken 19 whacks on target through these five contests.
Jamie Benn has also not registered a point in three straight games.
They will surely get going again. They have not busted their slump yet, but they have not changed their approach. Expect the strong season to continue into 2014 sooner rather than later.
Ales Hemsky embodies the skillful talent that never brings it on the regular; only dazzling us when it appears particularly intriguing for him to do so. Shadows of Alexei Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov have followed him for years. In late December, Hemsky put together a six-game scoreless streak, with only two points over a dozen matches. Do note that he put up a pair of points on Sunday along giving him four points in his last four games.
Sophomore Nail Yakupov had a horrible December, only appearing on the score sheet three times all month. A few healthy scratches have followed the former #1 overall pick this season due his poor play. However, he has started to heat up in 2014 with a goal in every other game so far. Time to jump on Yak, especially if you don’t score plus/minus where he ranks dead last in the league.
Despite still being the second leading scorer on the squad, Mike Richards saw his Olympic hopes dwindle in the midst of an eight-game scoring slump to cap off 2013. That was followed by a three more donuts last week. He has yet to score a goal since November 25th, a now devastating 21-game slump! However, he has begun to string together a few helpers this week, including each of his past couple outings.
Unfortunately for young sniper Tyler Toffoli, it doesn’t look like his incredible slump is going to be busted anytime soon. It is more likely it will happen as a member of the Manchester Monarchs. The rut has now reached 10 games, dating back to December 19th.
The Corpse of Dany Heatley has risen from the dead! Coming off a slump of……..two and a half years, Dany has apparently found his scoring touch, with four points in his last two and five in his last five, including two straight multi-point nights! Granted, he’s managed to do so with by-default TOI increases, due to the injuries of team offensive pillars, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu but I don’t see why the sudden splurge shouldn’t continue, especially alongside youngster, Charlie Coyle.
Coyle only had a single goal in his last seventeen heading into the weekend, and just two over the past 26 but has scored four points over the last two contests.
Unfortunately, I have zero confidence that any individual in this organization will snap a futility period any time soon. Although there are no shortage of slumps in this organization, affecting everyone except the evergreen that is Shea Weber.
Shane Doan very worryingly missed a month of action to the serious Rocky Mountain Fever, but has luckily shown no ill effects, jumping right into the deep end with three points in his past three.
Meanwhile, off-season winner, Mike Ribeiro had a rocky December, enduring both five and three game absences from the P.A. goal announcements. Although a multi-point effort earlier this week and a trip of points in his last few games have eased up worries regarding his output.
Dan Boyle has had a trying year, sitting with a puzzling minus-four rating despite being on a top contender in the NHL. For a little more perspective, the cumulative plus/minus rating of the seven Sharks skaters above him on the team scoring race is plus-81!! Offensively he’s remained okay, on pace for yet another 40-point campaign. His power play presence always offers an avenue for him to get hot again. You’d probably be shocked to know that his six goals on the man advantage is double that of Logan Couture! I still believe he can get things together and bump up his production clip to reach 50 points.
Vladimir Sobotka may not be breaking a slump as he’s been on his game for much of the season, and especially for the past month and a half. However, big picture he’s definitely busted a career slump, already having outperformed all previous year-end totals save for a career high of 29 back in 2010-11. He’s only five points away from shattering that mark to pieces. Yet, Sobotka remains a mesmerizing paltry 3% owned in yahoo leagues. GRAB HIM ASAP!
Vladimir Tarasenko has put his slump to bed with 12 points in his last nine! This run includes four multi-point nights.
Despite allowing no less than four goals in each of his past three starts and 15 overall through his past four games, Eddie Lack has eased his critics with a fabulous performance Friday night, stopping 30 of 31 pucks thrown on net in relief of the injured Roberto Luongo. There’s a decent chance you can still grab Lack. I would highly recommend you do so as Luongo may not be back in action for a couple more weeks, and certainly won’t be thrown out there too much heading into the Sochi games. Therefore, you can still peg Lack to get regular relief starts even after Bobby Lou returns.
After only putting up points in three of 11 games, Brian Little has returned to normalcy with three over his last three. Also, his faceoff winning percentage has skyrocketed up in January with an above .500 percentage, despite, still only raising up his season-long rate up to .458 %. The rest of the squad has been remarkably consistent. Either consistently good (Big Buff, Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane) or consistently bad (Ondrej Pavelec, Tobias Enstrom and Eric Tangradi.)
Follow Anthony Lancione on Twitter @Anthisdaman.
Previously in the Wild West: