A few weeks into the 2013 NHL season, the shortened 48-game schedule has opened the door for some pretty interesting feats. Some players—Patrick Marleau, Craig Anderson and Sami Salo being but a few names—won’t maintain their stellar pace throughout the season.
Some players will naturally cool off while others won’t be able to keep pace because of their age.
Some goaltenders off to a hot start will likely see their numbers drop as the wear and tear of a condensed schedule catches up with them.
They've captivated the hockey world early on, but here are five players off to a hot start that are guaranteed to fade.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo has assisted on five goals through the first eight games of the season. His team’s offensive output has been nothing short of amazing, and his setups from the blue line are contributing to that.
He also has a plus-10 rating in those first contests, proving that he’s still adept on both sides of the ice.
However, at 38 years old, it’s only a matter of time before the condensed schedule catches up to him and forces him to slow down.
He’s been averaging well over 20 minutes per game. It wouldn’t be surprising to see that number diminish throughout the season—with it will go his offensive production.
Craig Anderson has been a standout netminder for the Ottawa Senators thus far. He’s started seven of the team’s eight games and has stopped nearly 97 percent of the shots he’s faced.
Anderson started all but 19 games last season. Throughout those games, he had a 2.83 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.
As condensed as this season’s schedule is, Anderson is at risk of getting burnt out. There’s no way he can continue to be such a dominant goalie in a season that has teams playing 48 games in 99 days.
The Senators can either run that risk or choose to rest him occasionally by allowing Ben Bishop to start.
The Senators started Bishop for Friday’s game against the Lightning. Granted, the Bolts are a high-scoring team, but the Senators can’t be too happy with Bishop allowing five goals on 30 shots.
Based on his performance, it wouldn’t be surprising if Ottawa elected to take the risk and give Anderson the majority of the starts. He won’t disappoint, but the wear and tear will prevent him from being as successful as he has been through the first few weeks.
Even at 42, Teemu Selanne is still proving to be one of the Anaheim Ducks’ top forwards. He scored two goals and assisted on two others in the team’s season opener in Vancouver.
Through the Ducks’ first seven games, Selanne has nine points. In those seven games, he also proved how inconsistent he can be. He scored in the first game and didn’t light the lamp again until the seventh.
Like Salo, Selanne will be feeling the effects of the condensed season. As the oldest player in the league, he’ll be feeling all the back-to-back games more so than the younger players.
Patrick Marleau has taken the NHL by storm this season. The veteran center scored two goals per game for the first four games of the season. He currently has nine goals and 14 points in the first eight games of the season.
Marleau has only managed to score a point per game three times in his 14-year NHL career (the last being in 2009-10).
If he can keep this pace going, he will easily reach that milestone again. He’s already proving he can’t, though. He’s been held scoreless in his last two games and without a goal in the last three.
Marleau got off to a hot start and will continue to be an offensive force for the San Jose Sharks, but he has faded quickly and won’t be making many headlines from here on out.
With seven goals and 16 points in the first seven games of the season, Thomas Vanek got off to as good a start as anyone in the NHL. The Buffalo Sabres have found a lot of success with the line of Vanek, Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville.
It’s hard to tell if Vanek’s outstanding production will fade anytime soon. Even so, he’s bound to slow down eventually.
The Austrian winger’s last (and only) point-per-game season came during his sophomore campaign, when he scored 84 points in 82 games.
While Vanek is capable of stringing together a point streak and possibly maintaining a point-per-game pace this season, he hasn’t shown the capacity for having multi-point nights on a relatively consistent basis.
That said, he will continue to be a leading scorer for the Sabres, but expect him to have fewer and fewer multi-point nights as the season goes on.