Time to downgrade Pavelski, Ryan, Staal, Sharp and Koivu says Rick Roos
Every year right before the playoffs, while information is still fresh on our minds about players from all 30 teams, it's good to take stock of what happened during the season and how it might impact the future. Some people like to make mental notes on which guys are trending upward or might be poised for a breakout next season; but I find that doing the opposite actually can be more useful and reliable at this point in time. So instead, I figure out which guys I can finally write off as never being able to achieve a certain level of production – I call it my "time to downgrade" guys.
This year I thought I'd turn it into a two part column, focusing this week on forwards who should no longer be projected to score 75+ points in a season during their career, and next week I'll shift to forwards who should be ruled out as 60+ point scorers. For my "Final Verdict", each week I'll give some general thoughts on how to reliably identify guys like these.
Forwards who will never be 75+ point producers
In today's NHL, a 75 point season is as rare – and therefore as valuable – as a point per game season was just a few years ago, with an average of only just over 20 players per year hitting the 75 point mark in the past five full seasons. But the reality is that 75 points now seems out of reach for the five guys discussed below, each of whom was thought to be a good bet to score at least that many points at some time during his career. As a result, it's time to lower expectations for them once and for all.
With Ryan having scored 30+ goals in each of his first four full seasons, there's no doubt he's a very skilled player. After all, the only other current NHLer to have accomplished that feat just happens to be some guy named Alexander Ovechkin. But the reality is that despite being only 26 years old, Ryan just hasn't looked the same since last season. It's true that Teemu Selanne can't stick around forever to affect Ryan's ice time, but looking on Frozen Pool we can see that Ryan is playing more than 25% of his even strength shifts with both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry this season, and nearly another 15% with either Perry or Getzlaf, so it's not like his situation stands to get that much better than it is now.
And although Ryan's power play time is below two minutes per game this season (1:56), that’s only about 20 seconds less than the average of his man advantage time from the past two seasons, so we can't look to that as an explanation. In the end, whatever the reasons might be for his poor performance, and with Ryan on pace to score only in the 50-55 point range this season (after putting up just 5