As per usual in the playoffs we saw some amazing performances from players that haven't really had that breakout moment before. This year it was guys like Brandon Saad, Tyler Toffoli, Chris Kreider & Jake Muzzin that emerged in the playoffs (see this post) after just modest production during their NHL career to this point.
Good for them, I'm so happy for them, but I want to justify that watching all that playoff hockey is going to help me win my fantasy leagues next year so what we really want to know is... is a player who breaks out during the playoffs more apt to have a breakout the following season?
I took a look back at the last eight playoffs to find the players who hadn't previously had a breakout season (using our definition of a breakout: Forward > 50 pts & Dmen > 30 pts) but surprised with "breakouts" during the playoffs.
|James van Riemsdyk||2010-11||75||40||10||7||43||24|
So the sample size is admittedly small but, as you can see, the aggregate numbers are pretty favourable that we may have something here. Of the 28 data points, 15 of them went on to have a breakout season the following year and at least a few more probably would have if it wasn't for injuries. In addition, you just had to be patient and the likes of Lucic & JVR went on to have breakouts within a few seasons.
The takeaway here is that good times are likely ahead for Saad, Toffoli, Kreider and Muzzin but beware that this could be an illusion and one of them might be pulling a Pisani.