Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews celebrates his goal against the Dallas Stars during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Chicago. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Banks)

Five NHL players looking to avoid last year’s performance in 2018-19 season

Top of the list is the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, with 74 games played, 20 goals, 52 points

Whether it was snipers missing the mark, goaltenders watching their numbers implode or players not living up to their salaries, last season was one that a few NHLers would rather forget.

Here are five players looking to bounce back in 2018-19 after disappointing performances last season.

1. Jonathan Toews, centre, Chicago (74 games played, 20 goals, 52 points, minus-1)

Toews is coming off the worst season of his career, setting career lows in both goals and points produced in an 82-game season. While always considered elite for his two-way game, his offensive decline could be troublesome for a Blackhawks team that also missed the post-season for the first time since 2008. The 30-year-old captain, who helped make Chicago relevant again after years of struggles, has five years to go on his eight-year, US$84 million contract. He has a salary cap hit of $10.5 million but finished 102nd in league scoring, which works out to $201,923 for each point he produced last year.

2. Carey Price, goaltender, Montreal (49 GP, 16-26-7, 3.11 goals-against average, .900 save percentage)

Carey Price won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2015, and if Montreal wants to be competitive this year it will need him to be back in that type of form. Since taking the league’s top honour, the 31-year-old has held a .915 save percentage, only good for 22nd among goalies who have played at least 100 games over the past three seasons. He struggled to a career-low save percentage and the eighth highest GAA last season, and now has a new eight-year, $84 million contract kicking in for 2018-19. Staying healthy is key for Price, who has had one injury after another, including a concussion last year.

READ MORE: Montreal goalie Carey Price stops by B.C. hometown for rodeo

3. Kevin Shattenkirk, defenceman, N.Y. Rangers (46 GP, 5 goals, 23 points minus-14)

Shattenkirk put up a career-high 56 points in 2016-17 and was in demand when he hit free agency that summer, but his first season after inking a four-year, $26.6 million deal with the Rangers started off the wrong way and never got better. It turned out that the 29-year-old had a meniscus tear in his left knee that he played through before being shut down in January for surgery. Other than the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, Shattenkirk has produced at least 30 assists and 40 points in six straight seasons to begin his career until last year’s snag.

4. Max Pacioretty, forward, Vegas (64 GP, 17 goals, 37 points, minus-16)

Pacioretty is hoping his recent change of scenery can help get him back to the elite sniper he was before last season. The former Canadiens captain averaged 35 goals over four seasons with Montreal before dipping to 17 last year. Now with the Golden Knights after an off-season trade, the 29-year-old has been removed from all the white noise in Montreal and is optimistic that he can improve on his career-worst shooting percentage (8 per cent).

READ MORE: Jackpot! Golden Knights get star Max Pacioretty from Canadiens

5. Joe Pavelski, forward, San Jose (82 GP, 22 goals, 66 points, 41 penalty minutes)

Pavelski had a slow start to the campaign last year and finished with his fewest amount of goals since 2010-11. While his production picked up as the season went on, he fell well below the average of 74 points and 36 goals he had in the four previous seasons. The 34-year-old didn’t hurt for scoring chances, putting 224 shots on net, but at times seemed snake bitten, . A bit more luck on his scoring opportunities and with star defenceman Erik Karlsson there to assist on the power play, he can hopefully show last season wasn’t the start of a decline with age.

Kyle Cicerella, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Stettler Lightning defeats Coaldale Copperheads in nailbiter

Stettler scores in shootout, defeating Coaldale 3-2

Stettler Wildcats go entire season undefeated

Downs Drayton Valley Warriors 28 - 7 in last game of season

Producers losing money on every barrel sold

Price for Western Canadian Oilsands bitumen so low

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read