This article is part of our NHL Waiver Wire series.
The playoffs are only days away, but let's first look ahead to next season. While this column doesn't technically cover waiver transactions, the same practices of following trends and predicting statistics can be applied.
A few players couldn't sufficiently contribute this year either because they lost time due to injury, struggled with significant slumps, or weren't provided enough opportunities. Regardless of the circumstances behind these dropoffs, some should recover.
Meanwhile, other overachievers will either decline due to age, a projected situation downgrade, or simply because they've performed well beyond expectations. Circumstances may change in the coming months, but there is sufficient rationale to stay away from certain players this fall.
For both sets, we're staying away from superstars. Here's a selection of those to watch and avoid for 2019-20.
Primed for Progress
Nikolaj Ehlers, F, WPG
A 20-game absence prevented Ehlers from recording 60 points in three consecutive seasons, but a current run of two goals and an assist over 13 games – and a drop to the third line – cast doubts regarding his potential. The Dane is only 23, so there's plenty of room to grow. If Ehlers can effectively score in the playoffs, then he can start the next campaign with confidence.
Casey Mittelstadt, F, BUF
For someone so highly touted, it's hard to believe Mittelstadt has performed poorly. He was utilized somewhat heavily early on, but the positive results appeared sporadically. The minutes eventually decreased to possibly alleviate the pressure, but that experiment never