These 18 Eastern Conference players are trending down in the second half.
Over the course of an NHL season we get the opportunity to experience the ups and downs that players go through. From a fantasy perspective, there are times that players are almost guaranteed to get on the score sheet every night and there are other times when he cannot buy a point for weeks. When they are down it can be very frustrating for fantasy owners that need production to win their league championship. Occasionally, the downward trend reaches a point where the owner is forced to take action.
Today we will look at a list of players in the Eastern Conference that had trended down since the start of 2015. The goal here is to try to look beyond short cold streaks and find players that have declined over a more significant sample of games while trying to get to the bottom of the issue. The players covered will range from higher-tier players experiencing frustrating runs all the way to more fringe players that have fallen off the cliff in terms of fantasy relevance.
Loui Eriksson (seven pts in 16 GP in 2015, 24 pts in 38 GP in 2014) – The lackluster tenure of Eriksson in Boston continued with a cold start to 2015 after showing some signs of hope in late 2014. He was previously listed as a buy-low option and although he has partially corrected course, he is still capable of better especially given his recent woes. The good news is that the Bruins have remained patient and continue to give Eriksson excellent ice time in all situations. Furthermore, his shooting percentage is still 2% below his career average so a bit of luck could help pad his point totals down the stretch.
Dougie Hamilton (seven pts in 17 GP in 2015, 22 pts in 38 GP in 2014) – An emerging star defenseman, Hamilton is going through a bit of a cold stretch in an otherwise excellent campaign. While slumps for defensemen are not uncommon, especially when they are so young, there are changes in his utilization that are contributing to his mediocre 2015 totals. In his 17 games in the New Year, Hamilton has averaged just over 20 minutes per game, which is well below his season average of 21:37. If this trend continues, it will be very difficult for Hamilton to maintain the pace he set in the first half of the season.
Carl Soderberg (six pts in 17 GP in 2015, 27 pts in 38 GP in 2014) – The pending unrestricted free agent is in the midst of a second consecutive strong season. Unfortunately, since January 1st he has been mired in a slump. Part of the reason for the cold spell is that Soderberg is stuck on the Bruins' third line behind stars Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. This gives Soderberg fewer opportunities to play with top wingers and also limits his ice time, which sits at an average of 16:27. This will limit Soderberg's potential and make him prone to periodic drops in production. With that said, owners in keeper leagues can look forward to their player potentially landing in a much better role this summer that gives him better minutes next year.
Tyler Ennis (seven pts in 18 GP in 2015, 24 pts in 38 GP in 2014) – On such a bad Buffalo squad, consistent scoring is practically non-existent and Ennis is no stranger to disappointing stretches. Unfortunately, even though he continues to get prime ice time his team has gone into tanking mode as evidenced by the recent acquisition of the injured Evander Kane. Out went Drew Stafford and the support cast up front became that much weaker. This puts more defensive focus on Ennis and, if the team opts for more balanced lines, he will get much weaker linemates down the stretch. He may not be much of a fantasy factor until next year.
Zemgus Girgensons (six pts in 18 GP in 2015, 20 pts in 38 GP in 2014) – Girgensons has really slowed down lately but it is not all that surprising for this to happen. He simply has not shown great offensive ability since being drafted and is not a good enough playmaker yet at the center position to sustain solid point totals. Like Ennis, Girgensons will likely suffer from a weaker supporting cast once the Sabres are done stripping down their roster. In particular, his shooting percentage (13.5%) is a bit high and may be due for a decline in the coming months.