Wild West: Bounce-Back Look Back
With nothing left to do but reflect on a season that maybe was, I thought I would look back at my bounce back candidates from the start of the year and see what I was smoking.
I had written a three part column here, here and here. I've put in Italics what I thought, back before the season, each player might rebound to in 2019-20. Not as bad as I thought, but to be fair some were pretty obvious takes.
William Nylander – In my opinion, not only will Nylander rebound to 60 points, but he is a breakout candidate who could reach 75-85 points.
I and almost everyone else was correct that Nylander would rebound. He was on the cusp of breaking out and was on pace for 37 goals.
Alex Galchenyuk – We need to face the fact that he will never be the 80-point player he was expected to be when drafted 3rd overall in 2012. He is a 50-to 60-point player who struggles in his own end and who doesn't add much in multi-category pools.
In what I thought was a dig at a potential 80-point player, turned into a pretty large over estimate that he would even reach 50 points. He has fallen off big-time, but perhaps free agency will give him a second or third life.
Tyler Toffoli – There is a good chance he'll be dealt to another team and could prosper with a playoff-bound team at or before the trade deadline. I can see him bouncing back to 25 goals and 25 assists whether with LA or not.
This one was pretty much spot on. He's still a risk moving forward for any team adding him in free agency. His play in Vancouver is not sustainable over 82 games.
Ilya Kovalchuk – At 36 years of age, there is very little chance he will regain his former 40-goal and 80-point seasons, but he might bounce back to 25 goals and 25 assists. Or he might go back to Russia, again.
At least he didn't go back to Russia and did play well in Montreal in his 22 games there with six goals and seven assists.
Dustin Byfuglien – If Byfuglien can play 70 games next season, I think he will put up 50 points.
Did not play. I did trade for him and it was a huge mistake.
James Neal – There is a chance that he could get back into the 20-goal range and get some PP points if he is afforded the opportunity. He doesn't have a no-trade or no-movement clause, so there is a chance that Calgary could find a team to trade him to. If that were to happen, he might be a little more attractive for fantasy teams.
He had an unbelievable start to the season in Edmonton with six goals in his first three games. He is still a shadow of his former self.
P.K. Subban – Subban should easily get back up to 45 points and could match his career high of 60 if he stays healthy for more than 75 games.
As wrong as wrong can be. I thought New Jersey would be much better as a team and Subban would flourish.
Justin Schultz – He won't give you hits or blocked shots, but he could be a very cheap addition for 35-45 points next year.
He was still given plenty of opportunity on the power play when healthy but his production was very low. He will need to sign a prove-it deal as a free agent.
Nikolaj Ehlers – If he plays 75 games, I believe he is still good for 25 goals and 25 assists with a ceiling of 30 goals and 35 assists.
He hit my ceiling and that was with pretty limited power play time.
Patrik Laine – We have to give him the benefit of the doubt (with a little dash of reality) and I think he will rebound to 35-40 goals and sort out his even-strength woes to at least prior years' levels.
Laine did give up a little goal production to improve his overall play, but certainly rebounded.
Alexander Wennberg – I do see him getting back up to 16 or 17 minutes per game and approaching 10 goals and 30 assists with a healthy plus/minus.
I was correct about Wennberg getting an increase in playing time. He just failed to do anything with it. He has very little fantasy relevance now.
He exceeded any bounce back predictions and arguably had one of his finest seasons to date.
Ryan Getzlaf – Temper your expectations to 15 goals and 40 assists, but know he could have one more season of 20 goals and 55 assists in him.
He tempered expectations for sure, and pretty much let us know he doesn't have another 75-point season in his tank.
Jamie Benn – Benn should see 25 goals and 40 assists next season.
Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
Drew Doughty – I think Doughty will have a similar season with around 10 goals and 40 assists, but his plus/minus should improve quite a bit.
To be fair, LA is not a good team, but Doughty is still under performing and this season was hardly a bounce back.
Jordan Eberle – I would think Eberle will return to 22-25 goals and 30-35 assists. He doesn't play defense well enough to justify his contract if he has another season like the last.
Eberle was on pace for 57 points so he did bounce back. It is still hard to justify his contract though.
Clayton Keller – I would put Keller as at least matching his rookie season of 23 goals and 42 assists, with an outside chance of breaking 75 points.
Keller had his ice time cut on the power play and at regular strength, which is a little concerning, but he is still only 21 years old. We will try again for a bounce back next season.
It is strange to write about this season in the past tense, but with each passing day it becomes more unlikely we see hockey until 2020-21. Stay safe everyone!
Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know below and/or follow me on Twitter @gampbler15.
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