We may have overlooked his struggles because we’ve been so fixated on others (cough Blake cough), but one could argue that one of the biggest disappointments of the season so far is Ryan Thang.
After a strong second half and even stronger playoff season last spring, Thang busted out of the gates this season with three goals and an assist in his first two games. Through seven games in October, he had five goals and one assist. Great start!
Then….he got called up to Nashville for a cup of coffee. He played one game against the Chicago Blackhawks, and by most accounts, held his own just fine out there.
Upon his return to Milwaukee, the production has slowed down quite a bit. In his 28 games since the call-up and consistently playing on the top two lines, Thanger just has four goals and eight assists.
And nothing yet in the calendar year 2012. His last goal was 12/26. His last assist was 12/28. His pointless games streak sits at 8 games heading into Hamilton tonight.
Is he just snakebitten? Thang leads the team in shots on goal, and he’s got a positive plus/minus number. So he’s around when good stuff is happening.
Is he just a slow starter? In his first 20 games last season, he had no goals and four assists….although it was his first full season as a pro.
At his current pace, he’d end this season in the same neighborhood of offensive production that he had last year. But I think that the expectation coming into this year was a little loftier than simply holding that ground.
There are 41 games left, so there’s plenty of time for him to catch fire and make more of an offensive impact. But if he doesn’t, his fate may be more along the lines of Andreas Thuresson, as he watches other guys pass him on the depth chart.