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PHT's 2010-11 'breakout' player list

Jul 24, 2010, 3:30 PM EDT

okposares.jpgEarlier today, I took a look at NHL.com’s seven candidates for a “breakthrough” season. Since this is a slackertastic Saturday, I thought I’d provide my own list of players who could make a big difference in 2010-11. Feel free to lampoon my choices in the comments.

John Tavares, NY Islanders

The most obvious choice since he was the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft (like Stamkos), has sniper-like abilities (like Stamkos) and had a solid but not amazing rookie season (you get it). He won’t have a linemate like Martin St. Louis (sorry, Matt Moulson), but he just HAD to make this list.

Kyle Okposo, NY Islanders

Okposo is the Islanders’ “other” star-in-the-making. He’s had 18 and 19 goals in his first two seasons on Long Island, so he’s already shown hints of breaking through. His third year could be it.

Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning

The tall Swede had a pedestrian rookie season (4 goals, 16 assists for 20 points in 74 games) but a revamped Lightning lineup might mean some nice results for last year’s No. 2 pick. Just imagine the Lightning powerplay next season: Simon Gagne, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Hedman/Pavel Kubina. That’s ridiculous.

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues

He was a miserable -9 in only 9 games last year, but the 2008 first rounder is bound for a breakthrough sooner or later. He can bring a little feisty play to the table along with plenty of offensive skill. I don’t know if 2010-11 is the year, but Pietrangelo is one of the league’s under the radar players.

jamesvanriems.jpgJames Van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia Flyers

Claude Giroux and Ville Leino were the Flyers’ biggest breakout players in the 2010 playoffs, but Van Riemsdyk is primed for a big year too. The Flyers are loaded at forward so it might be difficult for him to get a bunch of ice time, but keep an eye on the guy who was drafted right after Patrick Kane.

Derick Brassard, Columbus Blue Jackets

He’s injury prone and wasn’t that great in 09-10 (36 points in 79 games) but showed some real promise in 08-09 (25 points in an injury-shortened 31 game season). The Blue Jackets need all the offense they can get and Brassard could be the guy who provides that spark.

Jack Johnson, LA Kings

While Drew Doughty justifiably gets the attention, Johnson seems to receive as much criticism as praise. Still, he’s a talented player in a contract year. We could see big things from the American defenseman this season.

There’s my seven choices. Who else do you think would be a viable candidate for a breakout year? Share your thoughts.

  1. Logan Couture's mother - Jul 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Two words:
    LOGAN COUTURE

  2. Ryan Classic - Jul 24, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    I’m a little biased on this one, but Erik Karlsson in Ottawa. He had a rough start to his rookie year, getting demoted to the AHL and not scoring his first goal until December, but he really ramped it up at the end of the season and through the playoffs. He can pass amazingly well and was running the power play in March and April, plus now he has Sergei Gonchar as a mentor.
    The kid is also clutch. Well over half his points were in the third period or overtime.

  3. Matt - Jul 24, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    You know, the first person I thought of when I saw the original NHL.com headline was John Tavares.

  4. Timsharks - Jul 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    I would also have to agree on Logan but numbers wise I think this will be Devin Setoguchi’s breakout year with him reaching 80 points this year, playing on a what will become the NHL’s best 2nd line with Pavs and Clowe. Can you imagine a team with this type of line and still having the Marleau, Thornton, Heatley line as your first line.

  5. nikolaiNYR - Jul 25, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    Nice pick on Jack Johnson, also from LA is Wayne Simmonds. With Frolov on the move, Simmonds will get better ice time.
    Also for the east, either Michael Del Zotto or Artem Anisimov. I can see Anisimov working his way up to the top line with Gaborik since Dubinsky can’t keep it together and Drury isn’t enough of a playmaker for Marian.

  6. ShawnB - Jul 26, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    I agree…as a London Knight fan….I completely agree!!!

  7. david - Sep 18, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    I THINK EVERYONE YOU GUYS MENTIONED IS CORRECT. ILL ADD A COUPLE
    1 OLI JOKINEN,TANGUAY, IGINLA, ALL SHOULD HELP EACH OTHER GETTING WAY MORE POINTS THAN LAST SEASON.
    2BLAKE WHEELER NUMBER 5 PICK OVERALL THAT HAS EXPERIENCE IN TWO FULL SEASONS, AND PLAYOFFS. BOTH SEASON AVERAGE 20G 20A,AND PLAYING ON ONE OF THREE BRUIN POTENT LINES COULD GET HIM A 60TO 65 POINT SEASON,IF HE GETS POWER PLAY TIME.
    OH FIRST YEAR BREAKOUT SEASONS, NEVER MIND NUMBER 1, SO BLAKE WHEELER, AND BENOIT POULIET MONTREAL, FABIAN BRUNNSTROM DALLAS,NIKLAS BERGFORS AND BRYAN LITTLE ATLANTA. MANY MORE, BUT THESE GUYS HAVE WHAT IT TAKES, ITS ALL ABOUT TIME ON ICE TO GET BREAKOUT SEASON.

  8. TomCat - Oct 1, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Mason Raymond. He’ll be awesome with the Sedin bros.

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