5 NHL players due for goal-scoring regression

T.J. Oshie is off to a great start, but the rate at which he is scoring doesn't seem sustainable. (Photo by Derek Cain/NHLI via Getty Images)

The beginning of the NHL season can be a tricky time to evaluate players. The sample size to examine is very small and it’s easy to take a quick glance at somebody’s stats and pass judgement.

Fantasy hockey is all about tracking trends. Whether it’s DFS or season long, you’re looking to take advantage of players while they’re rolling. Everybody on this list has had a great start to the campaign, but not all great runs are sustainable.

Here are five players who have lit the lamp like crazy through the first month of the year that are due to come back down to earth.

T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals

Oshie has been on an absolute tear to start the season for the Capitals, but there are reasons to believe he’s going to slow down. For starters, the winger has only scored 30 goals or more once in his career, and he’s currently on pace to score 41. Oshie also struggled to play a full season recently, playing less than 70 games twice over the past three campaigns. Additionally, his shooting percentage is sitting at an absurd 30.8%, well above his career number of 14.2%.

It’s worth noting, however, that Oshie has finished at or above his career mark in each of the past four seasons, so he’ll likely finish ahead of his career mark yet again, but fall much short of his current 40+ goal pace.

Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues

The Blues haven’t really missed Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal scoring yet as the club has received elite twine-tickling production from Brayden Schenn. Schenn ranks sixth in the NHL with 10 goals, and he’s on pace to score 55. Looking at his historical production, that likely won’t happen. Schenn has never scored more than 30 goals throughout his veteran career. His career shooting percentage is 12.8% which is way below the 32.3% he’s riding this season. He is one of the more obvious sell-high candidates in fantasy hockey.

Roope Hintz, Dallas Stars

In just his second NHL season, Hintz is emerging as a rising star. His rocket-fast start to the year has been the only constant for the Stars in the early going. Since Hintz is new to the league, there’s no historical data to suggest that he will slow down, but a shooting rate of 27.3% seems likely to regress.

I wouldn’t suggest selling Hintz, however, as he’s likely to make up for his goal-scoring regression with more assists. His two helpers so far seem very low in a Dallas offense which has plenty of high-end goal scorers. Hintz will likely finish the season near the 60-point mark or beyond.

James Neal, Edmonton Oilers

I wrote about Neal as one of the top sell-high candidates in fantasy hockey last week, and I stand by that claim. It’s clear that last year’s seven-goal effort was an anomaly, but even when you toss last year’s numbers aside, Neal’s been a consistent mid-20s goal scorer over the past seven seasons. Of course, playing on the power play with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl is one of the best positions to be in for fantasy production, but he will finish well short of his current 60-goal pace. Sell high and try to get a star that’s off to a slow start.

Adam Henrique, Anaheim Ducks

Henrique is a solid goal-scoring talent in the NHL, but he’s certainly never been considered an elite one. He’s currently on pace for 41 goals and is shooting 23.5%, both would be career-highs. Henrique is averaging under 17-minutes of time-on-ice and serving as a second-line centre, I don’t see it on a Ducks team which doesn’t figure to score a lot of goals this season. Sell high if you have him right now.

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