Sophomore Jinx: 15 NHLers Who Are Not Fulfilling Rookie Promise

(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Last year’s rookie class — and this year’s for that matter — were and are a pretty dynamic bunch.

Of those players who garnered votes for the Calder Trophy last season (won by Artemi Panarin), several of them have upped their game this season. Connor McDavid leads all scorers with 40 points and rookie of the year Panarin isn’t far behind with 35. Jack Eichel is back playing after an early season injury and has eight points in 10 games.

However, for every McDavid, there is an Anthony Duclair. The Arizona Coyotes left winger, who scored 20 goals and 24 assists in his first full season (along with a +12), has not had a strong start. After 29 games, he has but one goal and four assists and is -2.

Now, it’s not too late for the 2013 third rounder (80th overall to the New York Rangers) to step it up. But, the Coyotes are going nowhere fast and Duclair’s name has been rumored to be on the trade market.

He is not the only one whose game has regressed from a great/good rookie debut. Here are 15 players not exactly living up to their hype.

15. Jake Virtanen, RW – Vancouver Canucks

The core of the Vancouver Canucks forward group is aging, with five starters over 30 and two fast approaching that age. It was hoped, then, that 2014 first round pick (sixth overall) Jake Virtanen would continue his ascent up the depth chart after a fairly strong 2015-16 campaign. The former junior standout was kept with the Canucks past his nine-game entry level deadline and played in 55 games with the Canucks in 2015-16. The big right winger made the most of third/fourth line minutes (11:34 average) to score seven goals and six assists and finish second in hits with 128. He was learning the ins and outs of defensive play and logged a -7, however, he was good possession-wise, finishing with a Corsi For of 51.2. After 10 games this season and just one assist, Virtanen was sent back to the Utica Comets of the AHL to work on his game.



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