Skaters prepare for breakout seasons in 2022-23 – DobberHockey
With each passing day, more and more of you are turning your attention to your guardians, wondering whether to make trades “in anticipation of the future”, or starting to wonder how your fantasy drafts of 2022-23 could unfold. In doing so, it’s a must that you visit Frozen Tools and note which players, barring injury, will be at or just beyond their 200-game breakout threshold (“BT”) during the 2022 season– 23. To reinforce the importance of BT’s data, I decided to include it in this month’s survey.
The following are 20 skaters who, as of April 15, have a total career games played between 140 and 240. As a result, they are expected to meet or just above their BT next season. Note that among them you will not find Cale Makar, Adam Fox, Jack Hughes, Quinn Hughes, Roope Hintz, Noah Dobson, Drake Batherson, Nick Suzuki, Robert Thomas, Jason Robertson, Devon Toews or Jordan Kyrou, because although their matches careers fall within these ranges, they have already broken out or are in the process of doing so. However, it could mean they have other gear, so be sure to keep that in mind.
What you’re voting on are the five of the 20 you think will make the greatest progress in 2022-23. By that, I don’t necessarily mean the five who will score the most points overall. Instead, I’m looking for the five that will see the biggest increase in their score rate from 2021-22, i.e., who will have the biggest breakouts. Yes, some of these players, due to size and/or position, might plan to have breakouts closer to match 400, consistent with Dobber’s logic about BT. But for the purposes of this poll, I’m sticking to those who will be just or not too far above the 200-game mark in 2022-23.
That said, here are the 20 players, listed in alphabetical order and with their career matches played through April 15. Your task, again, is to vote for the five you think will have the biggest breakouts in 2022-23, meaning the biggest scoring rate gains over 2021-22.
Rudolfs Balcers – (145 games played)
Although he wasn’t a first draft pick, nor a particularly hot prospect, Balcers still managed to score more than a point per game in his final season in the AHL. That, plus the fact that he’s playing in a position where the Sharks aren’t deep, gave him chances to play on the score lines, where he didn’t look too out of place. With the Sharks looking to save space due to several heavy veteran contracts, Balcers should continue to get top six opportunities in 2022-23, positioning him for an eventual breakout.
Adam Boqvist – (142 games played)
Seemingly stuck behind Zach Werenski, who is playing better than ever, Boqvist is still brimming with the talent that convinced Columbus to negotiate for him despite Werenski’s presence. While no one is confusing the Blue Jackets with the Avs, the latter have shown there is room for more than one scoring fullback on the same team, so Boqvist could realistically make a jump next season. .
Max Comtois – (141 games played)
His sandpaper style helped him into the top six last season, where he impressed by scoring nearly 50 points for a poor Ducks team. In 2021-22, he has taken a step back, with scores dropping significantly even as the Ducks have improved. Still, Anaheim continues to give him a decent rollout, which apparently means they’re committed to him for the long haul. However, if the BT formula is true, they might just have to wait until next season for a big payout.
Kirby Dach – (152 games played)
Expectations were very high for Dach heading into 2021-22, with him center favorite Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. He got the opportunity, but failed to produce and Dylan Strome stepped in. With Strome playing superbly, Dach was left to skate alongside lower level talent. With Strome being inconsistent in the past though, and Dach set to hit his BT, things could line up for Dach to see a jump in scoring in 2022-23.
Dillon Dubé – (192 games played)
After a strong junior season last and one point per game played in the AHL, Dube earned a ticket to the Flames for good in 2019-20. This season however, his scores and ice times have dropped; yet, if somehow Johnny Gaudreau leaves as UFA, Dube should find himself in the top six. Even if that doesn’t happen, it’s conceivable that he supplants Andrew Mangiapane on the second row.
Joel Farabee – (162 games played)
Despite more ice time, both overall and on the PP, Farabee’s scoring pace has taken a step back from 2020-21. So far it has run hot and cold; however, his impending BT can’t be ignored and could be what leads him to become a better, more consistent scorer, especially with the Flyers needing all the offensive help they can get.
Brett Howden – (225 games played)
He doesn’t see much ice time in Vegas, but he still has a good P/60 thanks to the scoring touch that made him a former first-round pick. With the Golden Knights being one of those teams that tinkers with their lines, Howden could land in a better spot right after his BT happens.
Filip Hronek – (237 games played)
Propelled very early in a role of first couple, Hronek played well but in an unspectacular way. And the arrival of Mortiz Seider put an end to Hronek QBing PP1. Still, with Hronek’s BT well-timed to coincide with Detroit’s improvement as a team, he could see his point total soar to new heights.
Henri Jokiharju – (207 games played)
Still 22, Jokijarju is in his fourth season, and his third with Buffalo. His ice time has increased in each of his Sabers’ campaigns, though his score hasn’t reflected those gains, at least not yet. Former first round, he could be a candidate to round in shape coinciding with his BT.
Mathieu Joseph – (232 games played)
A trade of their player from Tampa to Ottawa is not normally a cause for celebration for the poolers who own him; however, Joseph was a spare with the Lightning, while since joining the Senators he’s been used in the first six and hasn’t looked out of place. Things certainly appear to be lined up for him to thrive next season when he will have just passed his BT.
Kaapo Kakko – (154 games played)
The first of – spoiler alert – two second overall picks to make the roster, Kakko has shown some flashes of solid play this season, but alas, they have been few and far between. One also has to wonder if diabetes and celiac disease, not to mention battling a pandemic, may have prevented him from showing the talent he was thought to have. The fact that he hits his BT should tell us a lot about what his future holds.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – (235 games played)
The former third overall pick could have been rushed to Montreal and had yet to show signs of impact. That didn’t stop the Canes from not only offering him cover but also inking Kotkaniemi on a long-term deal. You’d think they’ll do whatever they can to make him successful, so the only remaining question is whether he takes a jump in production due to his BT.
Dominik Kubalik – (194 games played)
On paper, not much has changed regarding Kubalik’s deployment; but the same certainly cannot be said for its production, which took a nosedive. Still, he’s shown enough flashes of talent to keep giving him chances, and hitting his BT could go a long way to regaining – and even possibly improving on – his past success.
Isac Lundestrom – (145 games played)
With Ryan Getzlaf retiring and Adam Henrique aging, Lundestrom should have the inside track for the second-row center gig. He’s already showing signs of improvement, seeing more ice time than any previous season. Also, a rising tide should lift all boats in Anaheim, including his own. The question remains whether he will make a BT leap.
Trevor Moore – (199 games played)
The undrafted winger has found a nice home in Los Angeles, as for the second straight season his ice time has increased every quarter, and it’s even more pronounced in 2021-22. He’s producing well, with distinct streaks of 11 points in six games and 23 points in 25 games. Of course, that means it’s been freezing at times too; but all of this could be a prelude to a major leap in time from BT.
Victor Olofsson – (182 games played)
While many of the Sabers have apparently taken advantage of Jack Eichel’s departure and stepped up their game, Olofsson isn’t one of them, as he hasn’t been the same player without Eichel at center. Still, he remains in the top six, which now looks much better overall than when Olofsson was a rookie just two seasons ago. He’s one to watch to see if he can rediscover his game, and perhaps take it to new heights, to coincide with his BT.
Nolan Patrick – (222 games played)
The former second overall pick had two lackluster campaigns with Philly before hitting issues that cost him an entire season. When he’s been successful in playing lately, he’s shown no signs that he could find his game. For some of these players, their BT will mainly influence whether they improve, while for Patrick, it could determine if he even stays in the NHL.
Sam Steel – (191 games played)
After a point for every other game in 2018-19, Steel kept a full-time gig in Anaheim but didn’t play like the former first-rounder he was. Still, we saw how his teammate Troy Terry fared in his BT season, so maybe it will be Steel’s turn in 2022-23?
Carter Verhaeghe – (168 games played)
Those looking for Joseph’s success need only quote ex-Bolt Verhaeghe, who found him in Florida. The problem is, Verhaghe didn’t sniff out PP1, and he saw his ice time go down every quarter. Still, he’s in gear with Aleksander Barkov, so there’s a good chance he’ll get the opportunity to skate with him again, and that, plus him hitting his BT, could lead to a big leap. in production.
Filip Zadina – (157 games played)
While several Red Wings have started paying offensive dividends, the same can’t be said for the former sixth overall pick. He had chances with Dylan Larkin, including when Tyler Bertuzzi was kicked from the roster for games in Canada, but didn’t capitalize, causing him to keep coming back on the third line. He could remain the odd man out, or maybe he’ll emerge to match up with his next BT.
As noted, now is a great time to think about which players are the best bets to have the biggest breakouts in 2022-23 due to their BT. Remember, your task is to choose the five that you think will make the most progress next season. Not necessarily the five who will score the most points, but rather the five who will have the biggest gains in scoring rate from 2021-22 to 2022-23. Click here to vote.
Mailbag Column Questions
Next week’s edition of my mailbag is already full; but you should still feel free to send me your questions, which would be included in the next mail or which I can give a short answer by e-mail if time is short. To ask me questions, please private message “rizzeedizzee” via the DobberHockey forums or email [email protected] with “Roos Mailbag” as subject.