Fantasy Hockey: Four NHL players likely to cool off in December

The days are getting shorter, the weather’s getting cooler. Ah yes, December is here.

Unfortunately for some NHL players, the weather won’t be the only thing cooling off this month.

Despite their hot performances thus far, these four players are likely to be frostbitten during the holiday season.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals

Kuznetsov has been absolutely sensational for the Capitals through the first two months of the season. His 17 assists lead all forwards on the club and his 11 goals tie him for third on the team in that category. Historically speaking, however, we are walking into the forward’s worst month. During December, Kuznetsov owns a shooting percentage of just 6.7%. That number is a far cry from the 18.0% he has been shooting thus far in 2019-20. Through 67 career games in December, he’s averaging .69 points-per-game, which is much lower than his career number of .83. I wouldn’t sell Kuznetsov as his best months tend to be later in the season, but be prepared for a bit of a cold spell.

Max Pacioretty, Vegas Golden Knights

The only thing lower than the temperatures for the month of December has been Pacioretty’s career plus-minus mark. A -22 throughout his career during this month, it is the only month of the hockey year where he owns a mark below zero. His shooting percentage for December is also the worst mark of any, as he owns a career number of 8.4%. Additionally, his .56 points-per-game in December is the lowest average of any month. He had zero goals in seven games last December. Similar to Kuznetsov, Pacioretty tends to be most productive down the stretch, so he’s someone to bear with in the meantime.

Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins

A top-10 goal scorer in the NHL right now, Guentzel has been doing fine without superstar Sidney Crosby in the lineup. As December pulls up, however, things will likely cool off. The 25-year-old owns a shooting percentage of 16.0% this season, on par with his career number of 16.2%. Historically, though, Guentzel has shot a less-than-stellar 8.9% in December, leading him to a lowly seven goals in 29 games during the month — by far his worst month. Although he’s been able to produce at a solid rate during the holidays with 20 points in 29 contests, he’s been unable to put the puck in the back of the net.

Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers’ forward is off to a great start this season, but December has been anything but a Winter Wonderland for Konecny. During the month, the 22-year-old has racked up only three goals through 40 games to go with a very underwhelming shooting percentage of 4.3%. His current mark of 14.8% is likely to take a plunge this month. I would try to sell high and see what you can get in a trade.

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