The old saying goes that teams can't win the Stanley Cup in October, but they can lose it. Getting off to a slow start can make the rest of the season an uphill climb, just to reach the postseason, let alone be positioned to win.
The same holds true for those charged with scoring goals.
They can't win scoring titles (or set career-highs) in October, but a slow start can leave them fighting uphill for the rest of the season.
So today a look at some of the more notable players that have not yet scored a goal in the 2011-2012 NHL season.
First, the players that are still looking for the first goals of the 2011-2012 season with the most shots on goal:
It's not like this list includes great snipers, but Vermette, Wheeler, Booth, Cleary, Koivu, Carter and Sullivan (maybe) could all be considered top-six forwards and therefore have expectations that they would score some goals this season.
From this year's list of the goalless, here is a look back at those with the most goals last season:
An early-season injury obviously affects Carter, and is a big reason why he's on the first two lists. Cleary had a career year as a goal-scorer last year and this year could just be some regression to his norm.
Comeau has fallen out of favour with the Islanders, as has Penner with the Kings. Booth is getting a fresh start in Vancouver.
Injuries have affected Havlat, McDonald, Santorelli, Blake and Gagner. Vermette, Wheeler, Little, both Koivus, Paajarvi and Bozak are all capable of providing offence, but haven't yet.
Now to the uphill battle that these players are facing. Of all the players to have played last October and finished without a goal, these are the players that finished with the most goals:
Only four managed to finish with more than 20 and two, Marchand and van Riemsdyk, were young players growing into offensive roles as the season progressed.
What can be taken away from this look at those still seeking their first goals of the season?
Well, Blake Wheeler and Martin Havlat are apparently slow starters when it comes to lighting the lamp, but there may be some opportunity to find "buy-low" value in some of the players that have yet to score.
Vermette is starting to have some decent games on a line with R.J. Umberger and rookie Ryan Johansen and Booth definitely has a chance to succeed playing with Ryan Kesler in Vancouver.
When they return to good health, McDonald and Ennis have the skills to be solid scorers.
No one likes getting out the gate slowly, but some of these players can still be very productive performers for their teams (and yours) over the rest of the season.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.