10 NHL Stars Who Are Primed to Disappoint In 2013
10 NHL Stars Who Are Primed to Disappoint In 2013
The 2013-14 NHL season is almost two weeks old, and there is already no shortage of compelling storylines. Surprise teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames are off to great starts after finishing near the bottom of the standings last season, while the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers are off to slow, disappointing starts. Young players like Tomas Hertl and Sean Monahan have been strong contributors for their respective teams early on, but for each young player stepping into the spotlight there is a veteran, star player somewhere who is getting off to a rough start.
Players like Jaromir Jagr, Vincent Lecavalier and Jarome Iginla found new homes in the offseason, but that by no means guarantees them the same success they have been accustomed to earlier in their careers. The salary cap era has put increasing pressure on players to continue to perform after getting big paydays, and teams are showing a lack of patience with star players that aren’t putting up the numbers they should be. That said, some of the players on this list of disappointing stars aren’t responsible for the lackluster play of the rest of their team, but they are still looked to for more than what they have been able to deliver. Here are ten star players who are primed to disappoint during the 2013-14 season.
Cam Ward missed a lot of time last season due to injury, and won only nine of the 17 games he appeared in for the Carolina Hurricanes. Things don't look great for Ward early into the 2013-14 season, as offseason acquisition Anton Khudobin is playing well and is threatening to take more starts away from Ward. Once one of the top netminders in the league, Ward is now 29 and starting to look like his best days may be behind him.
Last season was one of the worst of goaltender Ryan Miller's career, and the Buffalo Sabres didn't do much to help him out in the offseason. Miller will be relied on for the bulk of starts like usual, but if he doesn't get goal support he will be in for another losing season. If he makes the U.S. Olympic team, that could end up being the high point of his season - and there's still a chance he gets traded at the deadline if the opportunity presents itself.
The New Jersey Devils are the fourth team Jaromir Jagr has suited up for since 2011, and while there's no doubt about his place in league history he can hardly be counted on to be a point-per-game player anymore. He hasn't scored 20 or more goals in the NHL since the 2007-08 season, and early indications are that the 2013-14 season may be a rough one for the Devils.
Teemu Selanne decided to come back for one final season, but the Anaheim Ducks shouldn't expect too much from the 43-year-old winger. Selanne's production has continued to decline the past three seasons, and he was a non-factor during the Ducks' early playoff exit last season. There's plenty of young talent in Anaheim, and with Selanne getting rest anytime the Ducks face back-to-back games, it will be hard for him to contribute more than 30 points.
Jakub Voracek scored a career-high 22 goals during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, which makes expectations for his play during the 2013-14 a lot higher than normal. The Philadelphia Flyers need big seasons from him and captain Claude Giroux, and so far that hasn't happened. Voracek was one of the breakout stars in the league last season, but the odds of him repeating that success are quite low.
Jarome Iginla averaged almost a point per game for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, after he was traded there by the Calgary Flames. There's no question the 36-year-old forward sill has something in the tank, but he's now on a Boston Bruins team full of offensive weapons, and even though he's seeing top-line time with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, he's off to a slow start. The Bruins got him at a value price, but it'll be hard for anyone who has watched him for years to see him not come through with his usual production.
Vincent Lecavalier's production has declined in each of the past three seasons, and the veteran forward has struggled to stay healthy. Lecavalier hasn't played a full season since 2009-10, but the Philadelphia Flyers still thought he was worth a five-year contract that pays $4.5 million per season. He may be able to contribute for the Flyers this season, but odds are it won't be anywhere near enough to justify that deal.
The Phoenix Coyotes are hoping Mike Ribeiro can be the star forward they've been looking for. They signed Ribeiro for $5.5 million per season, making him the highest-paid forward on the team. That's a lot of pressure for a player who has been streaky over the past five seasons. Through five games, Ribeiro has three assists.
The 2012-13 season was the worst of Pekka Rinne's career from a statistical standpoint. Rinne posted a 15-16-8 record for the Nashville Predators, while getting little offensive support for most of the season. The Predators did little to upgrade their situation up front for the 2013-14 season, so Rinne could be in line for another disappointing season.
Dany Heatley had a disappointing 2012-13 season for the Minnesota Wild, and the 2013-14 campaign isn't off to a great start for him either. Heatley's production has declined in each of the last four seasons, yet he still has a cap hit of $7.5 million this season.