Top 10 Potential Second-Half Players

Tom Collins

2022-01-31

Now that most teams are at the halfway point of the season, this is a great time to try to figure out which players might have big second halves.

There are a few different ways to accomplish this, but one thing that helps is to find players who have a history of having much better second halves. Last year makes it more complicated, as there were only 56 games.

Below are 10 players that had better second halves in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. I’m not including last year since it was a shorter season and teams only played against their division. For 2019-20, I’m still including the first half as the first 41 games of the season. Even though the season was cancelled in March because of Covid-19, no one could have predicted that early on.

Remember, just because a player has been a better second-half player in the past doesn’t mean it will happen this season. The past doesn’t predict the future, but it could be a helpful indicator and as such, these players need to be added to your watch list.

10. Sean Couturier

2018-19: 29 points in his first 39 games (0.74 points per game), 47 in his last 41 (1.15 points per game)

2019-20: 30 points in his first 40 games (0.75 points per game), 29 in his last 29 (one point per game)

It’s been an awful season for the Flyers, and almost everyone on the team is struggling. After a great start to the season (12 points in 10 games), Couturier has five points in his last 19 games and hasn’t played for a month as he has dealt with an upper-body injury. Last week, it was announced that he may need surgery, which would take him out for the rest of the season. If not, he should be able to make a return to game action. He’s on a 48-point pace, which would be the first time in five years he didn’t reach a 70-point pace. If we were certain he was coming back this season, Couturier would be much higher on this list. At the same time, I didn’t want to leave him off the list in case he does return.

9. Oliver Bjorkstrand

2018-19: 12 points in his first 36 games (0.33 points per game), 24 in his last 41 (0.59 points per game)

2019-20: 23 points in his first 36 games (0.64 points per game), 13 in his last 13 (1 point per game)

This season has seen one of the hottest starts of Bjorkstrand’s career, which is kind of confusing considering this is probably the worst Blue Jackets team of his career. He has 28 points in 40 games, which is a 57-point pace. That seems low, but if he has a much better second half, he could post career highs. This is the first time he’s been on the top power-play unit and the first time he’s averaged more than 18 minutes a night, so it’s easily accomplishable.

8. Colton Parayko

2018-19: 11 points in his first 41 games (0.27 points per game), 17 in his last 39 (0.44 points per game)

2019-20: 13 points in his first 41 games (0.32 points per game), 15 in his last 23 (0.65 points per game)

One thing that will always hold Parayko back from taking that next step is the lack of power-play minutes. A few years ago, many had anointed Parayko as the next big thing in St. Louis, and while he has been great for peripherals, the offense may never match those expectations. He’s averaging 22 seconds a night on the power-play (easily the lowest of his career), but his overall ice time is almost 24 minutes