Before this season, very few people knew who Brendan Ranford was. A 7th round pick from the Kamloops Blazers this past draft, he was an 18-year old who hadn't yet hit the point-per-game mark.
But this year, as an older player in the WHL, Ranford got off to a blazing (see what I did there?) start. He currently ranks third in WHL scoring with 69 points in 49 games and was named CHL player of the week in November. Scoring 46 points by the end of November will do that.
He already had an uphill battle to make the NHL simply because of his status as a 7th round pick, but he looked to be on his way toward an NHL future. But if you look at his season in two halves, things get a lot less optimistic.
As you can see, he has cooled off considerably. In his breakout season last year, he scored 0.90 points per game. In the first 26 games this season, he was at 1.69. In the 23 games since, he's at 1.09.
There's still reason to be excited about Ranford - he's a seventh round pick who's still scoring at 1.40 points per game - but that excitement needs to be tempered. It is clear that he's better than a point-per-game player in the WHL, but it's not so clear that he's one of the best scorers in that league. Could these past 23 games be a cold streak? Certainly. But it's just as likely that the first 26 games were a hot streak.
Keep watching him, but lower expectations immediately.