Nine Notorious Cold Starters

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

When these guys start cold, don't panic... it's all part of the game-plan

Let's snuggle up with some data from the previous five years or so and come up with a list of players who tend to start the season like a hot mess and finish it like hot lava.  For this purpose I'm defining the "start" of the season to be the opening calendar month, so October for a typical season but for 2012/13 the start was considered to be the month of January.

Now some of these guys are off to decent starts this season, so nothing to worry about. But the point I'm trying to make here is that patience is your friend when dealing with a struggling star, especially the following guys as they've made it a habit of picking it up post October.

Eric Staal - He's as consistent as they come over the course of a full season with eight straight seasons with 70+ points (including last year's 91 point pace over the shortened season).  But the consistency doesn't translate month-to-month during the season as he tends to start the year like crap (.64 ppg in the first month over the last five years) but then is nearly a point-per-game player the rest of the time.

1st Month After
2008/09 .78 .93
2009/10 .42 1.12
2010/11 .70 .97
2011/12 .45 .92
2012/13 1.20 1.09
Total .64 .99

Jarome Iginla - He has started the past four years with months of four, two, two & zero goals.  This October he began with no goals in his first eight games before scoring in each of his final three games of the month.  His G/82 is 18 for the first month and 37 thereafter and his ppg has increased after the first month in each of the last four seasons (from .62 to .92 in aggregate), so he's a pretty predictable increaser.

Roberto Luongo - Lu seems to be allergic to October as his sv% goes from .901 to .922 after the first month over the past five years.  Last year was an anomaly (maybe since the season started in January) but this year he had his usual pedestrian start with a .909 sv% by Halloween.

1st Month After
2008/09 .902 .924
2009/10 .902 .915
2010/11 .907 .931
2011/12 .869 .926
2012/13 .938 .901
Total .901 .922

Jonas Hiller - He's at a .908 sv% through nine October and two November games so far this year but don't doubt this guy as his sv% has increased after the first month in every one of his six NHL seasons.  That's what I call a pattern.  In aggregate he's a .906 over the first month and .919 thereafter... this year seems to be following the same script.

Jonathan Toews - Captain Serious tends not to really get serious until November as he's seen his ppg jump (often dramatically) after the opening month.  His goal-scoring prowess increases nearly two-fold after the first month.

Goals per Game Points per Game
1st Month After 1st Month After
2008/09 .00 .47 .60 .88
2009/10 .11 .36 .56 .94
2010/11 .23 .43 .69 1.00
2011/12 .36 .52 .64 1.04
2012/13 .57 .48 1.00 1.03
Total .24 .45 .68 .97

David Krejci - He's not consistently horrible over the first month but he has had some real smelly October's in the past and manufactured some dramatic turnarounds.  In 2008/09 he started with six points in 11 but scored at .94 ppg beyond that and in 2011/12 he had just one point in seven October games before ending the year with 61 in his next 72 games.  In aggregate over the last five years he ups his production from .62 to .80 ppg after the opening month.

Mike Smith - Not just a cold-starter, more like a shit one.  In three of the past four years he's began the year with a sv% below .900 after a month (.893 in aggregate).  But in each of those years he's brought that number up considerably by the end of the season (.919 after the opening month).  This year he had a .912 for October but let's count on that improving.

1st Month After
2009/10 .893 .901
2010/11 .868 .909
2011/12 .919 .932
2012/13 .836 .916
Total .893 .919

Zdeno Chara - It's hard to find a dman that exhibits consistency in this regard but the old horse tends to be slow out of the gate with a five year aggregate .46 ppg for the opening month and sees that increase to .58 beyond that.  His production has picked up in four of the last five years with last season being the exception to the rule.

Bobby Ryan - He's off to a fine start this year with six goals in 12 October games but let's chalk that up to the excitement of joining a new team as he hasn't had more than four goals in the opening month of the previous five seasons.  He's seen his ppg jump after a slow start in each of his five full NHL seasons.

1st Month After
2008/09 .86 .89
2009/10 .58 .83
2010/11 .75 .89
2011/12 .45 .73
2012/13 .40 .68
Total .62 .81

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