Top 10 worst second-half players

by Tom Collins on January 18, 2016

Ten players who are known to decline in the second half

There's a lot of talk about NHL players at this time of year and who can keep up their hot start.

We even delved into it last week in this column, as we looked at the best second-half players. These were guys who routinely upped their production after the halfway point of the season. So that naturally begged the question, who were the ones that instead saw their production drop significantly?

We looked at the last four years of statistics.

I've got to be honest. I thought it was going to be really tough to find enough good hockey players that have seen their stats decline often enough in the second half. Was I ever wrong. Not only were there enough players, I could have expanded it to a top-20 list with no issue. And it's not like these guys are fringe players. Many of them are all stars. But although they continue to pile up the points, you can't bet on them to continue their first half-success.

Here are the top 10 players who decline in the second half.

 

10. Tyler Seguin

2014-15: 47 points in the first 40 games (1.18 PPG), followed by 30 in 31 (0.97 PPG)

2013-14: 41 points in the first 42 games (0.98 PPG), followed by 43 in 38 (1.13 PPG)

2012-13: 19 points in the first 22 games (0.86 PPG), followed by 13 in 26 (0.50 PPG)

2011-12: 36 points in the first 36 games (1.00 PPG), followed by 31 in 45 (0.69 PPG)

It is important to note the two recent years on this list for Seguin is with Dallas, and the previous two with Boston. His role was different with both teams so we need to take that into consideration. But the pattern is there. It's also amusing to note that his normal linemate of Jamie Benn was ranked 10th last week on best second-half players. Seguin has 53 points in his first 46 games. It's very easy to imagine Seguin's point-per-game pace dropping the rest of the way. It's already started as he has just three points in the last seven games.

 

9. James Neal

2014-15: 23 points in the first 35 games (0.66 PPG), followed by 14 in 32 (0.44 PPG)

2013-14: 36 points in the first 25 games (1.44 PPG), followed by 41 in 45 (0.91 PPG)

2012-13: 25 points in the first 25 games (1.00 PPG), followed by 11 in 15 (0.73 PPG)

2011-12: 36 points in the first 39 games (0.92 PPG), followed by 45 in 41 (1.1 PPG)

This year might be the first time in four seasons that he improves as the campaign goes on. He gets to play with Ryan Johansen, which is a monster step up from playing with Mike Fisher and Mike Ribeiro, although he did see a lot of ice time with Filip Forsberg before the RyJo trade. Neal has also been injury-free so far, so there shouldn't be any nagging injuries.

 

8. David Krejci

2014-15: 17 points in the first 22 games (0.77 PPG), followed by 14 in 25 (0.56 PPG)

2013-14: 36 points in the first 44 games (0.82 PPG), followed by 33 in 36 (0.92 PPG)

2012-13: 19 points in the first 22 games (0.86 PPG), followed by 14 in 25 (0.56 PPG)

2011-12: 28 points in the first 34 games (0.82 PPG), followed by 34 in 45 (0.76 PPG)

This year Krejci started off hot with 15 points in nine games until he was derailed with an upper body injury. But his first-half points-per-game pace of 0.94 is the highest he's had in any half-season the last 4.5 years. Add that to the fact that his play normally declines from this point on, and Krejci is a leading candidate to regress once he does return to action.

 

7. Duncan Keith

2014-15: 26 points in the first 40 games (0.65 PPG), followed by 18 in 40 (0.45 PPG)

2013-14: 43 points in the first 46 games (0.94 PPG), followed by 18 in 33 (0.55 PPG)

2012-13: 12 points in the first 25 games (0.48 PPG), followed by 15 in 22 (0.68 PPG)

2011-12: 24 points in the first 38 games (0.63 PPG), followed by 17 in 36 (0.47 PPG)

The one takeaway from Keith's last four years is that he is pretty consistent in the second half as his numbers aren't too far off from each other. So despite that he had 29 points in his first 38 games this year, if history is any indication, you can chalk him up for 15-18 points from here on out.

 

6. Rick Nash

2014-15: 40 points in the first 38 games (1.05 PPG), followed by 29 in 41 (0.71 PPG)

2013-14: 19 points in the first 29 games (0.66 PPG), followed by 20 in 36 (0.56 PPG)

2012-13: 21 points in the first 19 games (1.11 PPG), followed by 21 in 25 (0.84 PPG)

2011-12: 27 points in the first 39 games (0.69 PPG), followed by 32 in 43 (0.74 PPG)

That one season when Nash improved his second-half numbers was when he was still a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Since moving to New York, Nash's second-half numbers have decreased at least 10 percentage points every year. This year, Nash has 31 points in 43 games. Be prepared for a step down from those numbers.

 

5. Chris Kunitz

2014-15: 25 points in the first 32 games (0.78 PPG), followed by 15 in 42 (0.36 PPG)

2013-14: 48 points in the first 45 games (1.07 PPG), followed by 20 in 33 (0.61 PPG)

2012-13: 29 points in the first 25 games (1.16 PPG), followed by 21 in 23 (0.91 PPG)

2011-12: 26 points in the first 39 games (0.67 PPG), followed by 35 in 43 (0.81 PPG)

Those are some ugly second-half declines the last three years. But it's hard to imagine an even worse second-half for Kunitz who has just 15 points in 44 games. He only needs to be 13 points in the final 38 games to match that pace. But in his last 86 games, he has just 30 points. He should be able to produce better but for whatever reason, he just can't.

 

4. Mike Ribeiro

2014-15: 36 points in the first 40 games (0.90 PPG), followed by 26 in 42 (0.62 PPG)

2013-14: 31 points in the first 43 games (0.72 PPG), followed by 16 in 37 (0.43 PPG)

2012-13: 27 points in the first 23 games (1.17 PPG), followed by 21 in 25 (0.84 PPG)

2011-12: 28 points in the first 34 games (0.82 PPG), followed by 34 in 45 (0.76 PPG)

Warning sign number one: Ribeiro is the only person on this list to see decreases in each of the last four seasons. Warning sign number two: With Johansen now on Nashville, the Preds have a new number one centre. That bumps Ribeiro down to the second line and away from James Neal. Even though Ribeiro has 28 points in 45 games, it's safe to pencil him in for a letdown the rest of the way.

 

3. Ryan Getzlaf

2014-15: 45 points in the first 41 games played (1.10 PPG), followed by 25 in 36 (0.69 PPG)

2013-14: 52 points in the first 43 games played (1.21 PPG), followed by 35 in 34 (1.03 PPG)

2012-13: 29 points in the first 23 games played (1.26 PPG), followed by 20 in 21 (0.95 PPG)

2011-12: 26 points in the first 39 games played (0.67 PPG), followed by 31 in 43 (0.72 PPG)

Well, it'll be hard for Getzlaf's season to get worse as he has just 28 points in 40 games (0.70 PPG). On the bright side, the last time he has such a poor first half, he did recover. Not a lot, but a little. Poolies that drafted him early need him to recover a lot more than a little.

 

2. Kevin Shattenkirk

2014-15: 36 points in the first 41 games played (0.88 PPG), followed by 8 in 15 (0.53 PPG)

2013-14: 32 points in the first 43 games played (0.74 PPG), followed by 13 in 38 (0.34 PPG)

2012-13: 19 points in the first 24 games played (0.79 PPG), followed by 4 in 24 (0.17 PPG)

2011-12: 20 points in the first 39 games played (0.51 PPG), followed by 23 in 42 (0.55 PPG)

Part of the reason for his second-half decline could be his injury issues the last couple of years. He got his injury woes out the way early this year — we hope. Regardless of the reason, Shattenkirk's points-per-game takes a huge hit in the second half. This year he has 26 points in his first 38 games.

 

1. Evgeni Malkin

2014-15: 45 points in the first 40 games (1.13 PPG), followed by 25 in 29 (0.86 PPG)

2013-14: 45 points in the first 34 games (1.32 PPG), followed by 27 in 26 (1.04 PPG)

2012-13: 23 points in the first 21 games (1.1 PPG), followed by 9 in 10 (0.9 PPG)

2011-12: 43 points in the first 32 games (1.34 PPG), followed by 66 in 43 (1.53 PPG)

There are two takeaways when looking at Malkin's numbers. He's had a worse second half in each of the last three seasons but was a monster in the second half of 2011-12. And he's missed quite a bit of games in the second half (12, 15 and 14) the last three years. Malkin has been one of the few Penguins to actually have a decent first half with 43 points in 44 games (eighth in the league in points).