30 NHL Breakout, sleeper picks, and comeback players
It is the dog days of summer in the off season so today i will look at each of the 30 teams potentially best candidate to have a major increase in fantasy production. There are often a variety of reasons that lead a player to having a break out, trade, injury, or they just command an increase role on their team cause they are that damn good.
For what ever the reason, here is the top player from each team.
Anaheim - Cam Fowler becomes the Ducks offensive leader on the point and will quarterback the powerplay in Anaheim. 40+ would only be a 11 point gain. Is 50 points attainable?
Boston - Tuukka Rask becomes the undisputed starting goalie on the power house Bruins and is poised for a 30 + win season and elite status.
Buffalo - Marcus Foligno had a mid-season call up and forced his way on the roster permanently. There is plenty of competition in Buffalo, but he could stick in a top six role.
Calgary - Roman Cervenka was signed out of the KHL, and allowing Olli Jokinen to leave opens the door for Cervenka to play with Iginla on the top line.
Carolina - Jordan Staal is no longer in the shadows of Crosby and Malkin. Staal will be thrust into a more offensive role and will now be supported by Alex Semin.
Chicago - Andrew Shaw already came out of nowhere last season after a call up where he forced his way onto the roster on a regular basis by scoring goals. With Hossa expected to miss the start of the season, Shaw will have a chance to make an impression.
Colorado - Steve Downie saw his ptsPG increase from 0.51 to 0.65 after he was traded from Tampa Bay.
Columbus - Jack Johnson saw his ptsPG rise from 0.39 to 0.67 after being traded from L.A. Often defensemen simply need to be the number one and JJ is now "the man" in Columbus.
Dallas - Jamie Benn is hoping Jaromir Jagr will be the catalyst for his breakout the way he was for Claude Giroux in Philadelphia
Detroit - Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith should both make the team after the loss of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart.
Edmonton - Magnus Paajarvi has been forgotten and lost in the shuffle, but the Oilers have not given up on him. He only scored 8 points last season and has far too much skill not to bounce back.
Florida - Peter Mueller is a high risk, high reward player. If he is healthy he could return to his 54 point rookie season level.
Los Angeles - Slava Voynov managed to score 20 points in 54 games in his rookie season. His play was solid and he will only get better.
Minnesota - Mikael Granlund was already a Calder favorite. The addition of mega-free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter provide Granlund with nice support and insulation.
Montreal - P.K. Subban is in his fourth season, the typical breakout season. After posting 36 and 38 points in his last two seasons this could be his year to eclipse the 40 point mark.
Nashville - Ryan Ellis will play in Ryan Suters vacant spot on the power play along with Shea Weber and pile up fantasy points.
New Jersey - Mattias Tedenby will be the main benefactor of the Parise loss. His offensive skills could see him playing on Kovalchuks line.
New York Islanders - Kyle Okposo could replace Parenteau alongside John Tavares on the Islanders top line if he can stay healthy and commit. 60+ points is attainable.
New York Rangers - Chris Kreider was off limits in the Rick Nash trade. Now he may play on a line with Nash and Brad Richards. A serious Calder contender with 50 point potential.
Ottawa Senators - Guillaume Latendresse has not been healthy enough to play more than 55 games in the past three years. If healthy he could score 50+ on a line with Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson
Philadelphia - Jakub Voracek is penciled in to play in Jagr's spot on the top line with Claude Giroux. Voracek could finally make the jump from 50 point player to 70 point player.
Phoenix - Oliver Ekman-Larsson emerged in the second half of the season and playoffs as the number one defenseman in Phoenix. His play has made Keith Yandle expendable. OEL may have an Erik Karlsson like offensive breakout.
Pittsburgh - Eric Tangradi has the size and skill to surpass Matt Cooke on the second line and play alongside either Sidney Crosby, or Evgeni Malkin. He only scored 2 assists in 24 games last season, but he is ready for a larger role.
San Jose - Marc-Edouard Vlasic had 36 points in his rookie season. After scoring seven points in three games earlier last season it looked like he was ready to breakout, but only finished with 23 points. He has the skills to surpass his 36 point career high.
ST. Louis - Jaroslav Halak had a disappointing start to the season, and Brian Elliott played way over his head. Halak found his game once Hitchcock became Coach, and Elliott fell apart in the playoffs. The Blues could be Presidents Trophy winners and Halak could rack up 30+ wins and 10+ shut outs for the defensively strong Blues.
Tampa Bay - Anders Lindback found it hard to start playing behind Pekka Rinne, but he is now the starting goalie in Tampa and will start upwards of 50-60 games and should be within 30 wins.
Toronto - Jake Gardiner played his way onto a crowded Leafs blueline and had a 30 point rookie season. His play continued to improve as the season progressed and there is no end in sight to that trend.
Vancouver - Corey Schneider has outplayed Roberto Luongo for the starting role in Vancouver. If Luongo is traded or not, Schneider is now the starter. 30-40 wins are in his future for the foreseeable future.
Washington - Mike Green won a lot of people their hockey pools not too long ago when he was dominating offensively. Injuries have set him back and he falling off the radar. That is a mistake. Look for Green to comeback with a vengeance and return to 60-70 point form
Winnipeg - Alex Burmistrov has the skill to produce offense, and the Jets can use that. Can he commit defensively and play more physically to earn the ice time required to improve over last seasons 28 points? If so 40-50 points could be achieved.
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By Peter Harling
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