NHL: Five stars to disappoint in 2022-2023
Several of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) star players have not lived up to expectations since the start of the campaign.
Here are five athletes who will be putting their careers on hold between now and April to make up for a rough start to the season.
-Jonathan Huberdeau, Calgary Flames
Crowning the winner of the landmark deal involving native Saint-Jérôme will have to wait, as the Flames and Florida Panthers both appear to be on the wane. Still, it’s hard to deny that Matthew Tkachuk adapted to the Florida sun more easily than Huberdeau did to cold Alberta. The Quebecer, who scored 10 goals and 33 points in 47 games, is experiencing a dizzying decline in production. His 22 even-strength points should have general manager Brad Treliving nervous that Huberdeau will make $10.5 million a year starting next season.
-Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames
If Huberdow is anything to go by, he’s not the only Flames player unrecognized this 2022-2023 campaign. The failings of the Swedish goalkeeper, who finished second in the voting for the Vézina Trophy last season, are clearly difficult to explain. With a 13-13-5 record, .893 save percentage and 2.86 goals-against average, Markstrom is a far cry from the standards he set in his previous seven seasons in the league. It’s all the more surprising since Darryl Sutter’s airtight system still looks effective: The Flames have allowed the third-fewest shots since the start of the season. Markstrom’s starting goalie status is more dangerous than ever. The surprising Dan Vladar has already played 19 games in 2022-2023.
-Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis Blues
NHL players often have the best season of their careers while waiting for a new contract. However, that’s not the case for the St.Louis Blues captain, whose points per game average (0.43) is the lowest since 2010-2011! Like the Missouri team, O’Reilly is no shadow of his former self. Even the 2019 Selke Trophy winner’s defensive game is declining. His faceoff efficiency, one of his strongest points, has dropped from 56.8% to 53.4%, and he has a terrible -28 differential after just 37 games. In short, nothing to help his agent in future contract negotiations.
-Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Another attacking star who will reach full autonomy this summer and not live up to expectations. Let’s face it, sharing a top six with forwards like Jason Dickinson, Andreas Athanasiou and Taylor Raddish isn’t an ideal situation for Kane. When a player pockets a $10.5 million annual salary, he is expected to be able to elevate the play of his teammates. Kane’s defensive prowess has always been evident, but his offensive production is even more so when he isn’t. The three-time Stanley Cup champion’s 34 points in 45 games could prevent a team chasing the honor from acquiring him by the trade deadline.
– John Klingberg, Anaheim Ducks
It’s hard to believe that almost six months after the last free agent market opened, a derby was held to secure the Swede’s services. Given the Ducks’ lack of depth, we couldn’t expect much production from Klingberg at even strength. But if the Anaheim team gave him a one-year, $7 million contract, the first priority was to organize his power play. A complete failure, you say? Despite having talented forwards like Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry, the Ducks are the league’s third worst power play team with a 15.86% save percentage. Klingberg scored just four points in that situation, despite allowing an average of 2:18 per game on the power play.