Due to a plethora of issues ranging from franchise turmoil to the ruthlessness of puck luck, the players included on this list have been disappointing through the first part of the 2021-22 season. That’s not to say that these five individuals lack the tools to reverse course, or are now considered bad players, but each one has shown frustrating flashes of their true potential.
This is the fourth and final entry in a series chronicling the NHL’s most notable teams and players, both good and bad, from the first third of the season. The articles discussing the most surprising teams, the most surprising players, and the most disappointing teams can be found here.
Without further ado, here are the NHL’s five most disappointing players of the season so far.
Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks
Although Bruce Boudreau’s recent appointment as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks appears to have breathed new life into Elias Pettersson, there’s no arguing that the Swedish sensation has faltered this season. The phenom has only tallied 16 points through 31 games, and his shot (4.4 shots-per-60 minutes) and chance-generation (0.48 individual expected goals per-60) numbers at 5v5 are the worst of his young career. Further, his impacts at the defensive end of the ice are worrying, with the Canucks conceding a majority of the scoring chances and high-danger opportunities with Pettersson on the ice.
A cavernous shooting percentage (SH%) is likely to blame for his heavily slashed counting stats, with the 6.45 SH% he’s posted thus far more than half of his previous career low of 15.2%. As a result, it’s logical to expect his scoring output to experience an uptick as he regresses back to his normal conversion rate, but the aforementioned reduction in chance creation remains a cause for concern.
It’s not as though Pettersson has been shackled with inferior line-mates either, as he can count Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser, and J.T. Miller as his three most frequent on-ice companions. Digging deeper, the shortcomings of Tyler Myers and Tucker Poolman – the next on the list – likely contribute to a stagnation in the team’s transition game, frustrating skilled players who thrive off of smooth facilitation from the back-end.
The franchise clearly hopes that Boudreau can unlock Pettersson’s limitless potential, and his tenure with the offensive juggernaut Washington Capitals of the early 2010s is credible evidence to that assertion. With a new taskmaster in tow, the budding superstar should straggle back onto the path of prosperity soon enough.