NHL Predictions: 5 Players Who Will Suffer the Sophomore Slump

Adam OdekirkContributor IIJune 22, 2011

NHL Predictions: 5 Players Who Will Suffer the Sophomore Slump

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    Nobody ever wants to see a bright light start to fade in the NHL, but sadly it happens every season. It doesn't mean that they will burn out forever, but sometimes after reaching a great high, there is nowhere to go but down.

    This season the NHL saw some pretty impressive performances from rookie forwards, defenders and goaltenders. The eventual winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy will have earned every bit of it.

    Still, here is a list of some players who might not deliver repeat performances of their stellar rookie campaigns.

St. Louis Blues: Kevin Shattenkirk

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    The change of scenery provided extra motivation for "Shatty" to play well and prove that the trade was one that worked better for St. Louis than Colorado.

    That spark will likely die down during the offseason and the realization that he is on a team that is still rebuilding might cut into his numbers next year.

    Unless a solid defensive presence is paired with Shattenkirk, his ability to roam freely in the offensive zone might start to fade away.

Philadelphia Flyers: Sergei Bobrovsky

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    In light of recent events, there is a possibility that Bobrovsky will not even get a chance to play the majority of his sophomore campaign with the Flyers.

    If the team can reach an agreement with Ilya Bryzgalov, who they recently acquired the rights to negotiate a contract with, then “Bob” could be a backup pretty quickly.

    If Bobrovsky remains the starter however, his spring swoon could be cause for concern. It showed the signs of a talented player not ready to face the rigors of being a starting goalie for an entire NHL regular season and postseason. 

San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture

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    After another heartbreaking failure in San Jose, the roster is in jeopardy once again.

    Young talent like Couture is probably not in the mix for being moved out, but if the roster changes drastically around him, there could be a down period for him as he gets to know the new players in the locker room.

    San Jose will most likely have to completely re-evaluate the way they are trying to compete for the Stanley Cup. That could also cause Couture to try and adjust his blossoming game to match.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner

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    After a very impressive season for an 18-year-old rookie on a playoff contending team, Skinner could be rewarded with a change of position.

    Carolina is in a tough spot when it comes to top nine forwards under contract for next season considering they only have three. Thankfully, Skinner is one of those three for the Canes, but in order to put together a roster, he may be asked to move.

    After a successful season on the wing, Carolina might look to Skinner to move to Center. Skinner lacks size due to his age and body still maturing, and the nasty business in the middle might take him out of his comfort zone initially.

    Skinner would also have to spend more time working on his faceoff skills, which could mean time away from practicing other things.

Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford

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    Crawford finds himself firmly entrenched as the starter going in the next season for the Blackhawks.

    Due to the fact that it took most of the first half of the season for the Blackhawks to find this out, the book is still out on how Crawford will react to being the No. 1 guy for an entire season.

    All signs point to Crawford continuing his solid play, but he would not be the first goalie to wilt under the pressure of being the clear cut No. 1 starting in October.