Devin Shore entered this season ranked as the third best player in the Dallas Stars prospect pool. Coming off a 43 point sophomore season with the University of Maine the only way for Shore appeared to be up. He was only going to get better and dominate in his junior season at Maine with the C on his chest.
Instead, it turns out it wasn't just up for Shore, but a slump. Twenty two games into his third, and likely final, season in the NCAA he has 16 points. Coming off a 43 point season, in 35 games, this is underwhelming to say the least. So what has gone wrong for Shore?
Looking at the points per game alone there has been a substantial drop off. His 43 points last season equals about 1.22PPG, this season it currently stands at 0.72PPG. A 0.5 drop in points per game is pretty shocking.
Could it be due to a decrease in his shots going in? The University of Maine records shot totals for their players so it is possible to work out his shooting percentage.
So far this season Shore has scored 5 goals on 78 shots. Thats a 6.4% shooting percentage. Shore scored 14 goals on 129 shots the previous year, a 10.8% shooting percentage. Obviously that is going to affect the numbers but the general low numbers of goals, compared to assists, in his point totals means that it won't have a huge impact.
The Maine Black Bears are scoring at 2.50GPG, down from 2.94GPG last season. Despite Devin Shore's 16 points in 22 games looking unimpressive the joint top scorers have 17. Maine can't win without scoring and if they are scoring less then Shore isn't going to get the assists that helped push him to 43 points last season.
There is an argument to be made that if Devin Shore is a top forward prospect then he should be able to carry this team on his back. But if shooting percentage is down across the team then there is little Shore can do.
The top goal scorer for Maine last year, Ben Hutton, had 15 goals on 119 shots, a 12.6% shooting percentage. He has five goals on 60 shots this year, an 8.3% shooting percentage. Their third top scorer from last year no longer plays for Maine and their fourth top scorer, Steven Swavley has gone from a 14.2% to a 8.3% shooting percentage.
The bottom line is that across the board the University of Maine aren't doing well. They have a 7-14-1 record overall and a 2-6-0 record against Hockey East. They are second to last in their conference. The team that sits bottom of the conference, Massachusetts, has only one win against conference opponent; that was Maine on the 9th January.
While this might not have been the season that was hoped and expected there is light at the end of the tunnel. This will almost certainly be Shore's last season in the NCAA. He's going to be turning pro at the end of the season and going to the Texas Stars. They play their last game on February 28th; with playoffs unlikely there probably won't be a post season.
Shore will sign an entry level contract then and head to Austin, Texas and Cedar Park, potentially playing his first AHL game on the 6th March. Professional hockey, along with more talented teammates, will help Shore develop further.