If you're in it to
win, and not just have a good showing, you need to capitalize on a breakout
player or two. Finding these guys is a
challenge. Here are a few players that
seem poised to post huge jumps in a numbers over their previous highs:
Benn has been on the
cusp of breaking out as a fantasy star for several seasons. With the retooling
in Dallas, this could finally be the year he wins you a championship. If all
pans out and he meshes well with newcomers like Seguin, he should easily set some
Bennett should be
the one name on everyone's list of potential breakout players in 2013-14. He
showed flashes of offensive magic in limited action last season, but couldn't
stick on the top 2 stacked lines in Pittsburgh. The Pens made a point of
announcing that he will have a much larger role this time around, immediately
following the embarrassing playoff sweep.
It's scary to think
how productive this rookie could be, should he find his way onto a line with
Stamkos and St. Louis. He's my pick for Rookie of the Year and one of the only
rookies I would spend a draft pick on this year.
Galchenyuk had a
fine rookie season and is poised for a potential breakout campaign in his
second year with Montreal. Despite playing 3rd line minutes, he made a strong
case for the Calder. He should move up the depth chart for the Habs this season
and become a worthy fantasy factor.
Kane had a bit of a
breakout in 2011-12 with a 30 goal effort, but with a relatively paltry assist
total, he finished with just 57 points. This should be the year that Kane
breaks out into clear star status. Another 30 goals should be a given, but
expect a better showing in the 2nd column.
Yakupov was good
enough in his rookie campaign to give fantasy owners something to be excited
about this time around. As the season progressed, he started to earn much more
ice time. He finished the year with 6 goals in the final 3 games. Take a chance
on a monster breakout season.
While he has yet to
display much goal scoring acumen, the rookie performed quite well for the Wild
last season. He logged huge minutes for a first year defenseman and moved the
puck well. There is much offensive upside. As the Wild improve, so will Brodin's
fantasy value. Look for a potential breakout season here.
intentionally held Despres back last season, despite his enormous potential.
Minutes after being bumped from the playoffs, the team made a point of saying
that Despres will enjoy a much bigger role with the team in 2013-14. With the
amount of goal scoring that goes on in Pittsburgh, that means plenty of
potential. This will be the breakout season for Despres.
continues to progress, heading into his fourth season in the NHL. He has been a
bit overshadowed by Yandle in Phoenix, but that shouldn't stop you from
snatching him up mid-draft. He should set a career high in points, and may make
a go at 50.
Hamilton entered his
rookie season with high expectations. At times, he met those, at other times,
he faded from view. Ultimately, he had a respectable set of numbers by season's
end. Look for the progression to continue this season. He could easily bust out
with a big 40-50 point season.
As an all-around
fantasy contributor, Hamonic has the potential to break out this season.
Despite his stature, he piles up the pentalty minutes. The playoffs last season
showed what an enormous pest he can be. Too bad there's no fantasy stat for
annoying. Sticking to the stats that are counted, his production continues to
improve entering his fourth NHL campaign. Definite upside here.
An ugly number in
the plus/minus column scarred an otherwise solid rookie season last year. Given
a full slate of games and a more mature team around him, Schultz could become a
household fantasy name in 2013-14. He'll be the go-to guy on the backend for an
Oilers team prime to score a metric buttload of goals. Don't be surprised if he
tops 15 goals himself.
Voynov has flown
somewhat under the radar outside of the LA in his first two NHL seasons. During
that time, he put together two very solid seasons, logging big minutes and
putting up decent point totals for the Kings. He was rewarded this summer with
a big six year deal, so the Kings believe he's their man on the blueline. His
numbers in the playoffs were even better, as he contributed 2 goals in each of
LA's 3 playoffs series. Look for a potential breakout season for Voynov as he
starts to get the fantasy attention he has earned.