Small-sample stars, stragglers: Which trends will continue? – ESPN

After a Norris Trophy campaign in 2016-17, Brent Burns has zero goals on 32 shots this season. 

2:13 PM ET

No matter how many times we see hot and cold streaks come and go in hockey, there is always a tendency to jump to conclusions when early-season results either exceed or fall short of our expectations.

Having an eye for whether small-sample stats are indicative of things to come can be the difference between winning and losing, whether it’s in the form of a coach giving more or less ice time or a general manager making a move.

But how can you know which direction a player’s arrow is pointing? There are many factors to consider, and every situation is different. Is the cause of a strong or weak start to the year based on luck? Teammates? Ice time? Or is it a sign of the player’s trajectory?

Let’s have a look at examples of this season’s hottest and slowest starts, and what’s in store for them down the road:


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