Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews celebrates his goal against the Dallas Stars during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Chicago. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Banks)

Five NHL players looking to avoid last year’s performance in 2018-19 season

Top of the list is the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, with 74 games played, 20 goals, 52 points

Whether it was snipers missing the mark, goaltenders watching their numbers implode or players not living up to their salaries, last season was one that a few NHLers would rather forget.

Here are five players looking to bounce back in 2018-19 after disappointing performances last season.

1. Jonathan Toews, centre, Chicago (74 games played, 20 goals, 52 points, minus-1)

Toews is coming off the worst season of his career, setting career lows in both goals and points produced in an 82-game season. While always considered elite for his two-way game, his offensive decline could be troublesome for a Blackhawks team that also missed the post-season for the first time since 2008. The 30-year-old captain, who helped make Chicago relevant again after years of struggles, has five years to go on his eight-year, US$84 million contract. He has a salary cap hit of $10.5 million but finished 102nd in league scoring, which works out to $201,923 for each point he produced last year.

2. Carey Price, goaltender, Montreal (49 GP, 16-26-7, 3.11 goals-against average, .900 save percentage)

Carey Price won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2015, and if Montreal wants to be competitive this year it will need him to be back in that type of form. Since taking the league’s top honour, the 31-year-old has held a .915 save percentage, only good for 22nd among goalies who have played at least 100 games over the past three seasons. He struggled to a career-low save percentage and the eighth highest GAA last season, and now has a new eight-year, $84 million contract kicking in for 2018-19. Staying healthy is key for Price, who has had one injury after another, including a concussion last year.

READ MORE: Montreal goalie Carey Price stops by B.C. hometown for rodeo

3. Kevin Shattenkirk, defenceman, N.Y. Rangers (46 GP, 5 goals, 23 points minus-14)

Shattenkirk put up a career-high 56 points in 2016-17 and was in demand when he hit free agency that summer, but his first season after inking a four-year, $26.6 million deal with the Rangers started off the wrong way and never got better. It turned out that the 29-year-old had a meniscus tear in his left knee that he played through before being shut down in January for surgery. Other than the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, Shattenkirk has produced at least 30 assists and 40 points in six straight seasons to begin his career until last year’s snag.

4. Max Pacioretty, forward, Vegas (64 GP, 17 goals, 37 points, minus-16)

Pacioretty is hoping his recent change of scenery can help get him back to the elite sniper he was before last season. The former Canadiens captain averaged 35 goals over four seasons with Montreal before dipping to 17 last year. Now with the Golden Knights after an off-season trade, the 29-year-old has been removed from all the white noise in Montreal and is optimistic that he can improve on his career-worst shooting percentage (8 per cent).

READ MORE: Jackpot! Golden Knights get star Max Pacioretty from Canadiens

5. Joe Pavelski, forward, San Jose (82 GP, 22 goals, 66 points, 41 penalty minutes)

Pavelski had a slow start to the campaign last year and finished with his fewest amount of goals since 2010-11. While his production picked up as the season went on, he fell well below the average of 74 points and 36 goals he had in the four previous seasons. The 34-year-old didn’t hurt for scoring chances, putting 224 shots on net, but at times seemed snake bitten, . A bit more luck on his scoring opportunities and with star defenceman Erik Karlsson there to assist on the power play, he can hopefully show last season wasn’t the start of a decline with age.

Kyle Cicerella, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

134 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

First day over 100 cases since July 31

RCMP Major Crimes Unit lay Manslaughter charge against youth

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

City of Wetaskiwin back to zero active cases

The City of Wetaskiwin currently has zero active cases once again.

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Sylvan Lake man’s documentary getting limited run in Alberta theatres

Scott McDermott’s documentary will be in 14 theatres, including Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gathered in Wetaskiwin, Alta. Tuesday August 4,… Continue reading

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

13-year-old charged in death of boy, 10 in Maskwacis

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Most Read