Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Sure we're only about eight or nine games into the 2010-11 NHL season, but I'm just sayin'...what's up with these slow starts?
I can put together a pretty good starting five of Nicklas Backstrom, Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Mike Green and Drew Doughty, who were all top-25 selections, who are giving their fantasy owners fits because they are off to such bad starts.
And there are plenty of other "candidates" too. Joe Thornton and Duncan Keith almost made the list and if we were to include goaltenders, how about Roberto Luongo with just one win in six starts or the winless Tuukka Rask?
Backstrom, likely the fourth center off the board behind Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and Evgeni Malkin, has been shutout in his last three games and has gone scoreless in six of eight contests. Anybody on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble shouldn't have long pointless streaks. Backstrom scored 101 points last season (33 G, 68 A), so he needs to turn it around pretty quickly if he wants to match those numbers. No, you shouldn't be contemplating trading him.
The Devils' Parise is on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac. There is no way he should go nine games with just one assist and no points on the power play. He's coming off a solid 82-point season and big things are expected from the 26-year-old who had a preseason ADP of 8. Although he did post excellent statistics last season (38 G, 44 A, 347 SOG), they were down from 2008-09 and this is not a good trend.
Kane started the season with the flu which could be part of the reason, but not all of it. Most disconcerting is the plus/minus figure (-7) which must be turned around quickly. He and centerman Patrick Sharp should be just fine as long as they play both ends of the ice.
Green has been dealing with a shoulder injury which has hampered his play. He was on the ice for just six minutes in Saturday's contest. As the No.1 scoring defenseman in 2009-10 (76 points) and the first defenseman picked in this year's fantasy draft (ADP 12) a lot is expected of him. No goals and one assist in five games won't get it done. The good news is that he is expected to get his normal ice time on Wednesday night against the Hurricanes.
Doughty was a surprise last season and at 20-years-old was expected to be a top-five defenseman in 2010-11. The season has started slowly due to a shoulder injury and now a concussion which has him on the injured reserve. We still expect big things from the Kings blueliner so don't trade him away for 50 cents on the dollar just yet.