Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL Preview: Five Players Looking to Bounce Back from Disappointment in 2017-18

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL Preview: Five Players Looking to Bounce Back from Disappointment in 2017-18

Article excerpt

Five players looking to bounce back in 2017-18

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TORONTO - From suddenly slumping snipers to goalies losing their groove, last season was a forgettable one for some NHL players. Here are five looking to bounce back in 2017-18 after sub-par performances last year.

1. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles, 2016-17 stats: 76 games, 12 goals, 40 assists, 52 points

The Kings missed the playoffs last year when their offence sputtered, and a major void up front came from Kopitar. The 30-year-old captain had career lows in goals (12) and points (52). It was the first year since his rookie campaign in 2006-07 that he didn't lead the club in scoring. Kopitar plays a strong two-way game that keeps him useful even when he isn't producing, but he's only entering the second year of an eight-year contract that pays him US$10 million per year. He's averaged 72 points per 82 games over 11 seasons and should be expected to produce closer to his career numbers.

2. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers. 2016-17 stats: 57 games, 31-20-4 record, 2.74 goals-against average, .910 save percentage.

Lundqvist is coming off his worst regular season statistically in 12 years with the Rangers, but showed some of his old consistent self in two playoff rounds before the Rangers bowed out to Ottawa. New York will be relying on the 35-year-old Swede to prove last season was just a one-off and that age is not a factor. A strong season would see the Swedish netminder reach some career milestones. He enters the year 10th all-time in wins with 405 and could move up as far as seventh if he hits his annual average of 33. He's also 58 games away from reaching 800.

3. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia. 2016-17 stats: 82 games, 14 goals, 44 assists, 58 points

Giroux dressed in all 82 games last season for the Flyers, but finished with career lows in goals (14) and has declined in point production every year since a career-high 93 in the 2011-12 season. …

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