Remember when all those NHL young stars got sent down to the AHL and we assumed they'd tear it up? Well so far some of them have been slow out of the gate and haven't looked like the NHL young guns that we know or hoped they would be this year. Sure some of your AHL Fantasy Draft first rounders such as Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Schultz, Brayden Schenn, Cody Hodgson, Mikael Granlund and Brett Connolly are scoring as expected, but there are a few who are struggling. While it's only a few games into the season and it's not time to start panicking about your team's prospects, we still expected more from them this early so let's single them out.
Here are some of the AHL young stars who are off to slow starts:
Kreider has 1 goal and 3 assists in 6 games with the high-scoring Connecticut Whale which isn't a brutal start, but when you see that Kris Newbury who is an NHL 4th liner at best has 10 points and walk on UFA singing Kyle Jean has 9 points it's kind of surprising. While he is yet to play an NHL regular season game, Kreider lit up the NCAA last year and impressed during the Rangers playoff push and created some high expectations for him this season in the NHL that he isn't fulfilling in the AHL.
Kadri is 22-years-old now and I keep wondering when he will actually light up the AHL and start scoring more than a point-per-game. So far this year Kadri has 3 assists in 6 games and the games I've seen on TV he has looked decent, but is still not producing at a level most Maple Leaf fans would expect from a top pick. Too many Big Mac's over the summer perhaps?
Elliot is a highly-skilled puck-moving defenceman and in 39 games last year in the show with the Colorado Avalanche he scored 4 times and put up 13 points. So far this year with the Lake Erie Monsters he has 0 points in 7 games and is a team worst -4. For Colorado's top defensive prospect Elliot sure doesn't look too strong and he needs to start putting up better offensive and defensive numbers to get his game back on track.
Etem scored a CHL-high 61 goals in 65 games last year in the WHL and would have gotten a good look during training camp to possibly start in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks if there wasn't a lockout. So far in 6 games with the Norfolk Admirals he hasn't even registered a point. Etem is now 20 and his professional career is off to a sluggish start that the Ducks don't want to see from one of their top prospects.
Zibanejad is still very young and doesn't turn 20 until April, but he is an Ottawa Senator so we'll pick on him. So far this year he has just 2 assists in 7 games and is a -2 with the Binghamtom Senators. The whole Binghamton team is struggling this year with only 16 goals scored and 20 against, but we won't call out Robin Lehner because we don’t want him coming after us.