Top 10 Young Players Disappointing in 2019-2020

Tom Collins


Last week, I took a shot at naming the top 10 disappointing players of 2019-20. As I mentioned at the time, it was a much more difficult task than normal, as my original list had 55 names.

To make sure I could include more players, I decided to break it down into two groupings. Last week, I looked at veterans, but this week, I wanted to focus on the younger players. To clarify, I am looking at those who have played four seasons or less in the NHL.

If you prefer to remain positive and look at the glass as half-full, instead of thinking of these players as disappointments, you might want to consider this a list of players to target in keeper leagues. Their value will be down quite a bit from last summer and this would be a good time to inquire about the price of some of these players.

10. Lias Andersson

At times, it almost feels like the Rangers' coaching staff don't want to rebuild as it seems like it takes a long time for young players to be put in a position to succeed. This season, it feels as if everything that could go wrong for Andersson did go wrong. In 17 games with the Rangers, he had one point while averaging less than 10 minutes of ice time a night (with his most frequent linemates being Michael Haley and Greg McKegg). Andersson asked to be traded, sat out for what he called a mental-health break, and also played in both the AHL and SHL.

9. Casey Mittelstadt

After a disappointing rookie season in 2018-19, many were hoping that Mittelstadt could take the next step under a new head coach in Buffalo with Ralph Kreuger. That obviously didn't happen, and not only did Mittelstadt see a small decrease in ice time, but he was also sent to the AHL in December, where he spent the rest of the season until all the leagues were suspended. In 31 games with the Sabres, Mittelstadt had nine points and 34 shots, but 25 points in 36 AHL games.

8. Jesperi Kotkaniemi

No one was expecting a huge increase in production, but Kotkaniemi's drop-off was truly astonishing. He went from 34 points in 79 games as a rookie last year to eight points in 36. By the start of February, he was sent to the AHL, where he had 13 points in 13 games before missing the rest of the season with a spleen injury. Kotkaniemi is expected to be a top centre for Montreal in the future, but his first couple of seasons in the league have been a disappointment and has many questioning his future as a top-six player.

7. Ryan Donato

Donato seemed to be in a perfect situation last offseason after he was traded to Minnesota. He saw a significant increase in ice time (averaging 15:33 of ice time and 1:56 on the power-play while having great chemistry with Eric Staal and