Most disappointing, surprising NHL players this season
Crosby, Getzlaf struggle to score unlike Komarov, Larkin
A proven NHL scorer knows it's a tough season when a two-penalty game draws attention for its doubling of his goal output, for the season.
That's what happened to Ryan Getzlaf in Anaheim's 5-2 loss at the New York Islanders on Monday. The man who scored 31 goals and 87 points two seasons ago for the Ducks, has one goal — an empty-netter — and 20 points in 29 games at the Christmas break.
But he isn't the only once-elite player performing below expectations. Below, we highlight some players who have disappointed and others who have performed well above expectations in the first three months of the season.
Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim, C: Sure, the Regina native is 30 and has seen his production tail off but this is a decline of monumental proportions. Getzlaf is averaging a little more than two shots per game, a pace he hasn't experienced in five seasons. And a shooting percentage of 1.6? Wow.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh, C: Like Getzlaf, the Penguins captain is far off his regular goal-scoring pace with just six in 32 games. Crosby has three points in four games since the coaching change but zero goals in seven outings. And he's a minus player (minus-6) for the first time since his rookie season in 2005 (minus-1).
Ryan Johansen, Columbus, C: This guy has gone from breakthrough player to burgeoning star and healthy scratch in two-plus seasons. With six goals in 33 games, Johansen is another guy who suddenly can't find the back of the net. A reported broken relationship with your new coach, John Totorella, also doesn't help.
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay, C: Stamkos is not among the NHL's top-50 scorers this season, so that's a big disappointment. With 25 points, he's on track for 59, which would be his second-lowest in an 82-game schedule since his rookie season in 2008-09 (46). Stamkos is minus-6, with only fellow forward Valtteri Filppula's minus-9 worse on the Lightning roster.
Radim Vrbata, Vancouver, RW: The 34-year-old will be looking for a drastic turnaround on the ice post-Christmas break. Vrbata, who had topped 30 goals in two of his previous four seasons, has 10 this season and has only scored in two of his past 13 games.
Leo Komarov, Toronto, RW: Who needs Phil Kessel filling the net when you have Uncle Leo? With five goals in a five-game stretch, the hard-working 28-year-old has already set a career high in goals with 15 and with 24 points in 33 games is two shy of matching last season's 62-game output. By the way, Kessel has 11 goals in the same number of games.
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa, LW: Perhaps still smarting from being awarded $2 million on a one-year deal in arbitration, the 26-year-old is building on a 48-point rookie season with 17 goals and 32 points in his first 35 outings this campaign. He tops the Sens in plus-minus (plus-11) and game-winning goals (three).
John Klingberg, Dallas, D: Few blue-liners have been stronger than the second-year Star. Klingberg is second to Erik Karlsson (38) in points among NHL defencemen with 32 and tied for third in plus-minus (plus-14) The fifth-round draft pick in 2010 is eight points shy of his rookie total.
Dylan Larkin, Detroit, LW: Another great find by the Red Wings, the 19-year-old made the opening night lineup out of university and sits second in team scoring to linemate Henrik Zetterberg with 24 points in 34 games, good for third in rookie scoring. Larkin also leads all rookies with 13 goals and all NHLers with a plus-21 rating.
Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton, C: After a nine-point, minus-17 showing in his first 37 NHL games a year ago, few probably expected the 20-year-old German to be this good, this soon. Draisaitl looks strong centring the top line with Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell, and is second in team scoring with 30 points in 25 games.