In this article I will highlight five players who I believe will breakout and become large contributors to their teams. This past season we saw Sean Monahan, Filip Forsberg, Tyson Barrie, and many others breakout and become big parts of their teams. These players may be available later in your dynasty start up drafts so be sure to keep an eye while drafting. Without further ado here are my breakout candidates for the 2015-2016 NHL season.
Ryan Strome/RW/NY Islanders
Strome had 17 goals and 33 assists for a total of 50 points last season, which was 3rd on the team only behind John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, as a 21 year old. He scored 2.43 points per 60 Minutes ice time minimum 900 Minutes Played, which puts him in the company of some of the elite players in the NHL. Strome has made continuous strides in his development since being drafted 5th Overall in 2011. He will likely start the season on the second line with Frans Nielsen and Anders Lee. With his continued development, its not far fetched to expect a big season from Ryan Strome.
Prediction: 28 Goals/38 Assists/66 Points
Andre Burakovsky/LW/Washington Capitals
Burakovsky scored 9 goals and had 13 assists, last season, for 22 points in 53 games. Burakovsky had a limited role, playing an average of only 12:55 a game. He scored 1.69 points per 60 minutes ice time minimum 600 minutes played, ahead of the likes of Sean Monahan, Phil Kessel, and teammate Marcus Johansson. This will now be his third season playing in North America and he should be more comfortable. He and Marcus Johansson will be battling for the second line left winger spot come October. Some may say that the recent additions of Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie will hurt Burakovsky but I believe this will help him. He will learn from two experienced guys and will feed off their offensive production.
Prediction: 21 Goals/28 Assists/49 Points
Chris Kreider/LW/NY Rangers
Kreider scored 21 goals and had 25 assists for 46 points last season in 80 games. His points per 60 minutes ice time was 2.01 minimum 1000 minutes played. He scored at around the same rate as Jordan Eberle and Marian Hossa. Kreider is a big and has speed to burn. He is projected to start the season on the second line with Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes. With Martin St. Louis retiring, someone has to take on a larger role. Kreider could become the player that replaces St. Louis’ production.
Prediction: 31 Goals/29 Assists/60 Points
Cam Talbot/G/Edmonton Oilers
Talbot played 36 games this past season putting up a .926 save percentage and a 2.21 goals against average. He helped keep the Rangers at the top of the league while Henrik Lundqvist missed part of the season with an injury. Talbot’s impressive play led to interest around the league. He eventually was traded to the Oilers, on the second day of drafting, for the 57th, 79th, and 184th Overall Picks. Talbot is getting his first chance as a full time starter at the age of 28 but don’t let that scare you away, Tim Thomas didn’t start until he was 32. The Oilers improved a lot this offseason and Talbot will be a big part of the Oilers turnaround.
Prediction: 35 Wins/20 Loses/8 OTL/2.25 GAA/.922 SV%
Rasmus Ristolainen/D/Buffalo Sabres
Ristolainen scored 8 goals and had 12 assists for 20 points last season. Ristolainen showed great improvement from his rookie year. His poise and skating ability were noticeably better this year. His 20 points don’t look great from an outsiders view but it was the team best for defenseman. It is impressive too because of how historically bad the Sabres offense was. The Sabres added Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly plus Evander Kane is available this season. Sam Reinhart will likely make the roster so the offense greatly improves. Ristolainen is probably the most offensive defenseman going into the season for the Sabres, although it is not the best part of his game. With an improved Power Play I think Ristolainen could double his points from this past season.
Prediction: 13 Goals/29 Assists/42 Points