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

Road report for Highway 20

Fog patches and slippery sections; Drive BC

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

Mining company prospecting for gold near Bella Coola

Gold discovered in alpine areas where glaciers are receding

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs abide by interim injunction, but gate stays up. Still opposed.

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Most Read