The NHL is a league that requires its players a lot of consistency and durability to stay on top. Yet, it is absolutely inevitable that these players will have down years during their careers. When this occurs, it is essential for them to bounce back effectively, but more importantly, quickly. In these cases, the results truly vary because it depends on the actual effort and skill of the player in question.
In this article, we will be looking at fifteen players who need to have bounce back seasons if they want to remain among the league’s bests. Most of these players are still valued by their coaches and management, but also are in the hot seat. In most cases, these players either struggled offensively or spent the majority of the year injured. However, at the end of the day, they all need to improve.
With that, here is the official list of fifteen NHL player who need to have rebound seasons.
15 David Backes
After joining the Boston Bruins last offseason, Backes demonstrated that he is a nice fit, but had a down year offensively For him to rightfully earn the six million dollars he is getting each season, he needs to put up the same numbers he did in St. Louis. With more playing time in his natural position, this could help him immensely.
The Bruins need Backes to be the same player from St. Louis if they want to find themselves as a contender again At age 32, it may be hard for Backes to find production again, but definitely not impossible. This next season will need to be a big one for him in Boston or the fans may become more skeptical.
14 Andrew Ladd
Andrew Ladd just could not get it going in his first year with the New York Islanders. Although he managed to score over 20 goals, he only registered eight assists and that made his point totals far lower than normal. This is a scary sight for the Islanders because if Ladd is already declining, they have to deal with it for six more years.
Sometimes players have a hard time adapting to their new clubs, so it is not the time to lose all hope on Ladd. Ladd is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and has been a proven leader on a numerous of teams in his NHL career. This upcoming season, Ladd needs to find his spark and show that he can still be an elite talent.
13 Troy Brouwer
Troy Brouwer is another player who struggled a lot with his new team when he joined the Calgary Flames. When the Flames acquired Brouwer, they thought they were getting a defensive forward who always has the ability to put up thirty to forty plus points. Yet, Brouwer struggled offensively and could not hit thirty points.
Brouwer very well could turn it around this season, but it will require him to be put into a better role with the Flames. He has spent most of his time on the third line and that will not help him. Brouwer needs to be the player he was in St. Louis during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Flames will be far happier with him.
12 Marian Gaborik
Marian Gaborik was once one of the purest snipers in the NHL and considered to be a top NHL talent. Today, he is a declining winger on the Los Angeles Kings with an abysmal contract that is not set to end until 2022. However, it is important to note that not all is lost with the former superstar.
Gaborik can still salvage his career because he still has the ability to score goals. Although he will never be an allstar again, he can get his point totals up to the forties or even fifties if he is given the opportunity to play in a top-6 role again. Although it is not ideal for the Kings, it would get the most of out of him.
11 Rick Nash
After a 42 goal campaign in 2015, Rick Nash has struggled to put up solid points and as a result, is on the hot seat with the New York Rangers. However with that, it is apparent to see that Nash has the potential to turn his fortunes around. Even in his down years, he has managed to put up a fairly decent amount of goals.
For Nash to have a turnaround season, he will need to shoot the puck more and be the goal hungry powerforward he once was. Nash is not a lost cause and still can be a very productive player for the Rangers. If not for his expensive contract, the Rangers would not be too agitated with him, so it is clear that he is still a good player.
10 Patrick Sharp
The Chicago Blackhawks made a wise decision when they brought back Patrick Sharp to a very cheap one year deal. Sharp still has the potential to be a star player, but had a pretty bad season last year due to injury. If he manages to stay healthy this year, this could be one of the best surprise signings of this offseason.
In 2016, Sharp managed to get 55 points so it is clear that he can be a valuable talent when he is healthy. The Blackhawks have enough superstars that can help Sharp produce at a far better level and this most likely will be a better year for the veteran. Realistically, Sharp is still a good player and just needs the change of scenery.
9 Daniel and Henrik Sedin
The Sedin twins had a very tough year this year and that was mainly because they did not have much talent around them for support. The Sedins are definitely getting up their age, so it is all but inevitable that they will start to decline, but this season could give them the opportunity to turn it around.
The Canucks have a decent amount of young players who plan on making the jump this year and this could help the Sedins with offensive production. Although the Canucks are showing no signs of becoming a playoff team yet, the Sedins can help them immensely if they can turn it around for the upcoming season.
8 Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan is an interesting case for this list because he has struggled the past few seasons in the regular season, but had an outstanding playoff performance this year. With that said, it is clear that Ryan is a talented player and that he needs to carry his success from the playoffs into the regular season.
Ryan absolutely will be a game changer this year because he now has the confidence to realize that he can. This could be a classic case of a superstar finding his game and for Senators fans, they definitely hope this is the case. Expect to see a far better season from Ryan this year.
7 Dylan Larkin
Dylan Larkin very well could be the face of the Detroit Red Wings by the time his career is up, but this past season was definitely a bump in the road. Larkin’s mix of inconsistent offense and lack of defense made him lose a lot of playing time and as a result, his statistics dropped immensely from his rookie season.
Larkin needs to have a better season this year because there is a lot on him in his development. When he made the NHL, he showed signs of being a superstar, but now it is in jeopardy. If Larkin can find his game this season, he will end up having a successful season. Yet, he will need to be given far more playing time.
6 Gabriel Landeskog
The Colorado Avalanche had the worst regular season of this decade this past season and as a result, Gabriel Landeskog had a horrendous season. Landeskog became the subject of trade rumors because of his lackluster play and that very well could have hurt his confidence as a player.
Landeskog is still young enough to turn it around and could become a superstar once again. However, it may be time for him to move on from Colorado to help bolster his career. Yet, wherever he ends up, he will definitely manage to have a far better season this year. It is a necessity for him to jumpstart his career.
5 Steven Stamkos
Steven Stamkos is the victim of injury when it comes to this list, but he will definitely need to remain healthy for this season. Stamkos only played in 17 games this past year and that needs to change if the Lightning want to be contenders again. With Stamkos, the Lightning will easily find a spot back in the playoffs this season.
In the few games that Stamkos played this season, it was apparent that he still was a franchise talent because he managed to put up twenty points. It is easy to tell that Stamkos will be the main factor in the success of the Lightning this season so his main objective is to stay healthy.
4 Alex Galchenyuk
Alex Galchenyuk is a very talented hockey player, but has yet to match his thirty goal season from a few years ago. With this, he has also not gained the trust of the Canadiens to be their true number one center and as the season pass, it appears the likelihood of this is only continuing to decrease.
Galchenyuk has been the subject of trade rumors over the past few seasons, but ultimately was given a three year extension with the club. These next few years are essential for him to be a consistent player or his time in Montreal will be coming to a close. He needs to be the superstar he can be this year for the club.
3 Claude Giroux
Claude Giroux had a down year for his standards this past season and he will need to turn it around or his time in Philadelphia could be coming to close. The Flyers are a team that have a lot of talent in their prospect pool and although trading Giroux would not benefit them right away, it definitely could in the future.
Giroux only scored 14 goals this past season, while getting under sixty points for the first time in a full season since 2009-2010. This very well could have been a fluke year for the captain, but he needs to show us that it was this year. If Giroux does not turn it around, this very well could be his last year in orange.
2 Aaron Ekblad
Aaron Ekblad once looked like he was going to become the NHL’s best defenseman, but last year he showed his vulnerability in a big way. Ekblad had a year to forget on a struggling Panthers team. Ekblad had a career low 21 points and an abysmal -23 rating. Ekblad will need to turn this around this year to be considered at the top of the league again.
Ekblad is still only 21 years old, so it is clear that he has plenty of time to turn it around. However, based on his importance with the team, he needs to be the franchise player he was his first two seasons. Ekblad is a once and a generation type player, but this season he looked average. That needs to change for 2017-18.
1 Alex Ovechkin
It appears that Father Time is finally catching up to Alex Ovechkin and that he may be on the start of his decline. Yet, for a player on the decline, he still has the ability to put up decent numbers in terms of goals. So when it comes to this next season, Ovechkin needs to focus on his offensive abilities again and carry the team.
Ovechkin has dealt with a lot of criticism because of the fact that he never carried the Capitals to the Stanley Cup and that he is not a good defensive player. However, Ovechkin still has time to fix this and 2017-18 could be the year if everything goes right. Ovechkin needs to find his game this year and more importantly, stay consistent with it.