On The Rebound

by Russ on November 7, 2017

Each season, there are a number of players who have fantastic starts and then fade. Others get off to slow starts and then go on the offensive. Many of the players we’ll look at this week started slowly, but appear to be turning the tide.

 

Lars Eller

 

A model of underwhelming consistency, Eller scored between 25 and 30 points over each of the last six seasons. That said, back in 2012-13, his 30 points came in only 46 games. Unfortunately, that year has proven to be the outlier.

 

After starting the season with two points in his first seven, Eller now has 10 points in 14 contests, including seven points over his last five games. So, has the 28-year-old Dane suddenly found his scoring touch at the NHL level? While he may be putting together the building blocks to a career year, Lego any thoughts that Eller is turning into a legitimate top-six scorer.

 

Mathew Barzal

 

After making the team out of training camp, the rookie started the season with no points in his first five contests. He then put up points in eight of the next nine games, including a huge five assist night on Sunday.

 

Over the last three games, Barzal has lined up at even strength primarily beside Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ladd. The 20-year-old is also receiving top power play minutes. With 13 points in 14 games now, it looks like the speedy Barzal is off to the races. Still only owned in 26 per cent of Yahoo leagues. If you’re an owner, enjoy the ride, if you’re not, what are you waiting for?

 

Nick Leddy

 

The Isles top producing defenseman got off to a slow start with one point in his first seven contests, but since then the points have come in a hurry, with nine points in his last seven matches. The Islanders have the ninth ranked power play and Leddy leads the team in power play time on ice.

 

He has averaged 41 points during his three-year tenure on the Island. Last season’s 46 points was the 26-year-old’s best in the NHL to date. His 10 points in 14 games have him in a good position to challenge his career best.

 

Mike Hoffman

 

This guy gets very little mention outside of Ottawa. Hoffman is entering the second of a four-year deal, paying him just north of $5.0 million a season. He started this campaign with no points in three games, but now has 13 points in 14 matches, including a current six-game points streak in which he has eight points.

 

Hoffman recorded 61 and 59 points over his last two seasons. It will be interesting to see how the lines flesh out with Kyle Turris gone and Matt Duchene in Canada’s capital. Duchene’s got a higher offensive ceiling and the trade will likely give him a new lease on life. Whomever lines up with Duchene will likely see a bump in production, at least in the short term.

 

Brendan Gallagher

 

Like nearly all of the Habs this year, Gallagher started the season slowly with only two points in first seven matches. He followed that up with nine points in the next eight contests.

 

Last year, he had 29 points in 64 games, only a 37-point pace. The year before, he scored at a 62-point pace, recording 40 points in 53 games. He’s currently sitting at 11 points in 14 games, a 64-point pace. One of my favourite fireplug players, Gallagher will eclipse his career high of 47 points when all is said and done this year. Book it.

 

Phillip Danault

 

Another Canadien that is turning it around offensively, Danault opened the year with a single, lonely point over his first six matches. Then over his next nine, he lit it up for nine points.

 

In Sunday’s game against Chicago, Danault logged the second most ice time (19:23) amongst Habs forwards. He was surpassed only by the 20 minutes registered by Max Pacioretty. Danault hopes to repeat or better last season’s breakout performance of 40 points and is off to a very good start, especially considering the team’s scoring woes at the beginning of the campaign. He’s a good bet to better last year’s numbers.

 

Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen

 

What’s the opposite of rebound? I’ll close with two players who are more trending downward (or will soon be) instead of rebounding. After seven points in his first nine games, Bjork is now pointless in four and has found himself with different, less talented linemates now that he is not producing. He is still receiving a decent amount of ice time though, with 16:31 minutes in last night’s game.

 

Heinen has seven points in nine NHL games this year as well as eight points in four AHL contests. Last year, he had 44 points in 64 AHL games, but he really shone in the Calder Cup playoffs, recording 18 points in 17 matches. 

 

Prior to last night’s schedule, over their three previous games, Bjork and Heinen had played the majority of their even-strength shifts with Jordan Szwarz. For Bjork, that’s a far cry from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Tread lightly with these two, at least in one-year leagues.

 

Thanks for reading.