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Slow starts

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The NHL season is only a couple weeks old, but already there is a great deal of pressure on players and teams who aren’t performing to expectations. That’s our focus in this week’s THN.com Top 10 – the NHLers off to the chilliest of starts:

10. Nathan Horton, Boston

The Bruins right winger has just one goal and two points in six games, putting him on pace for a 13-goal, 26-point season. Last year, he finished with 26 goals and 53 points.

9. Jarome Iginla, Calgary

The Flames captain and top offensive threat has been anything but in Calgary’s first five games, recording just a single goal. No wonder the Flames have been averaging less than three goals a night.

8. Joe Thornton, San Jose

Many thought Thornton played his best all-around hockey in the 2011 playoffs, but that hasn’t translated into success in 2011-12. He is goal-less, has just one point in four games and is a big reason why the Sharks are having a hard time creating offense.

7. T.J. Oshie, St. Louis

The 24-year-old Oshie missed 33 games because of injuries last season, but still managed to amass 12 goals and 34 points in 49 games. This year? Six games, two points. The Blues badly need him to reverse that trend.

6. R.J. Umberger, Columbus

The Blue Jackets signed Umberger to a five-year, $23-million contract extension in September, but the 29-year-old winger/center has just a single assist and a minus-3 rating in six games this season. That’s a far cry from the 25 goals he netted last year.

5. David Booth, Florida

A key cog in the Panthers’ future, Booth has shown he can score 20-30 goals when healthy. Unfortunately for him, the 26-year-old has just one assist and a minus-4 rating in five games.

4. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver

Luongo was one of the Canucks’ best players last season, however he’s been anything but that this year, as evidenced by his bloated 3.70 goals-against average and .856 save percentage. Paging Cory Schneider…

3. Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg

The Jets’ best defenseman made off-season headlines for all the wrong reasons and isn’t doing much better on the ice. He’s pointless and a team-worst minus-4 in four games.

2. P.K. Subban, Montreal

People forget Subban is only 22, but his play has been awful so far this year. He has just one point in five games, but, more disturbingly, is also a minus-five. The next-worst plus-minus on the team is Hal Gill (minus-2).

1. Dwayne Roloson, Tampa Bay

There was no doubt Roloson was the Lightning’s top player in their memorable playoff run last season – and there’s no doubt his netminding woes have hurt the Bolts this season. The 42-year-old simply can’t continue at his current pace (5.11 GAA, .858 save percentage) much longer before GM Steve Yzerman looks for an alternative.

The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.

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