This week's Capped concludes the season with a look into what went wrong for certain players.
Every year there is a lot of focus on who exceeded expectations, and who may be the best bets to follow in their footsteps the following season. However, for every player that climbs in the rankings, there is another that has to fall off. Some would rather just put the poor performances behind them, but sometimes it is necessary to take a look back on what went wrong, and why.
Matt Duchene (C/LW) – Colorado Avalanche
Cap Hit – $6,000,000
It wasn’t just Matt Duchene that awfully underperformed this season, it was the entire Colorado Avalanche team. We all know how much of a tire fire the Avalanche season has been (even after a surprisingly good performance Tuesday night against Chicago), but why was Duchene so disappointing on his own? Well for starters, a little regression was expected after Duchene shot at a rate of 15 percent last season. The biggest factor though, was not him falling back down to his career average of just over 11%. Instead the fact of the matter is that Duchene simply wasn’t shooting enough this season.
For the first time since the lockout season, Duchene will not hit the 200-shot plateau (on pace for 160). It is extremely hard to be a solid fantasy producer when you’re not putting the puck on net. This is even without the fact that Duchene is in the middle of a five-year deal that sees him paid $6-million per season. With Colorado likely maintaining their spot in the basement of the NHL for the next few years, it is unlikely that Duchene will provide anything close to his contractual value* (unless he starts putting up 250 shot campaigns, which he never has, and likely never will).
*To be re-assessed when he signs his next contract or moves to a team in a better situation.
Zach Parise (LW) – Minnesota Wild
Cap Hit – $7,538,462
Has there been a more disappointing performance relative to cap hit this season? In a season where just about everything has gone right for Minnesota, Parise’s year has been the opposite in almost every way. After seeing shots, goals, points, and hits decline for the second straight year, we have to start wondering whether this is actually a disappointment, or if it is just the new norm for the 32-year-old winger.
Parise has been plagued by nagging injuries, and that has likely contributed to his decline. This, along with the emergence of other offensive options in Minnesota, has led to Parise’s lowest power-play ice time in years, and his lowest average ice time since his rookie season. There isn’t much reason for optimism here entering next season between injuries, declining stats, and being pushed down the depth chart. At his salary, avoid at all costs.
Andrew Ladd (LW) – New York Islanders
Cap Hit – $5,500,000
If there was a bigger disappointment than Parise, it was either Loui Eriksson or Andrew Ladd. After signing with the Islanders for five years, much more was expected from Ladd. It was thought that the two-time Stanley Cup winner could bring some stability and finish on John Tavares’s wing. After Tavares and Ladd failed to mesh, Ladd spent the rest of the season with Alan Quine and Jason Chimera as his most common line mates. Not exactly an all-star setup, and it shows in Ladd’s production (eight assists on the season).
With only a handful of games left on the schedule, Ladd is still sitting below the 30-point threshold. This is all while he is scoring on a career high 15.4% of his shots. His assist numbers are really dragging down his stats on the season, and that can be partially attributed to Ladd’s teammates scoring on a very low percentage of their shots while he is on the ice. A small decrease in power play time from what he was seeing in Winnipeg and Chicago over the last couple of seasons has not helped, either. Moving forward, there is some room for improvement, especially if his line mates pick things up. It would not be entirely foolish to predict a bounce-back 45-50 point season from Ladd next year.
Claude Giroux (C) – Philadelphia Flyers
Cap Hit – $8,275,000
Last but not least (or maybe least), Claude Giroux continues his tumble down the scoring race over the last few years. Due to his massive year during the 2011-2012 season, and the name value associated with it, Giroux’s fall off the last couple of seasons has generally gone unnoted. His point totals the last four seasons are 86, 73, 67, 57 (with two games left), and his shots also dropped off dramatically too (from 279 two seasons ago to 196 this season). This is also the first full season since 2009-2010 that he will not score 20 goals.
Giroux’s power play points have remained relatively consistent, however it is his even strength points that have been steadily declining. This could be partially attributed to some underwhelming performances by his teammates, as is reflected in his 6.31 shooting percentage at five-on-five. As for next season, a bit of a rebound would not be surprising, and Giroux can be counted on for some excellent assist production (especially on the power play). This season’s production may be his floor, but don’t go drafting him as though he is a lock to be scoring 90 points for you again.
Other Capped posts:
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