We're now past the half way mark in our Blogger's Breakout features. We've gotten some great tips on breakout players from our blogging friends over the last few weeks...and that pattern continues this week. For tons more on breakout players check back in August for the release of our Breakout Bible.
Also make sure you visit to the sites below...they are all FHS approved.
This week we'll be looking at the five teams in the Northwest...come back later this week for the Southeast....
Written by Five Hole Fanatics
Not many people are familiar with the former 7th rounder outside of Calgary. That may change this year now that Todd Bertuzzi is out of the picture.
Moss managed 20 goals and 39 points last year from the Flames 3rd line, despite averaging about 10 minutes a night at even-strength and less two minutes on the (2nd unit) power play. This season, Moss is poised to get a bump in both playing time and quality of line mates since Calgary has just three established top six forwards on their roster currently (Iginla, Jokinen and Langkow). He'll never be a superstar or anything, but given his previous results, one can imagine a 20+ goal, 50+ point campaign out of Moss if he sticks at the top of the rotation.
Interesting Fact: Moss debuted in the NHL by scoring a goalin each of his first 3 games.
Last Year: 81 games with 20+19=39
Fearless Forecast: 81 games with 24+28=52...an increase of 13 points
Dealt for Derek Morris at the deadline and then plucked off waivers by the Flames this off-season, Nigel Dawes seems more like a spare part than a fantasy option. However, scratch the surface and you'll find some compelling reasons why he could be considered a "dark horse" going into next year...
A former 50 goal scorer in the WHL, Dawes was coached by new Flames bench boss Brent Sutter during the 2004 World Junior Championships, where he led the team in scoring. As a 20 year old rookie in the AHL, Dawes scored 35 goals and was second on the Hartford Wolf Pack in scoring, despite being one of it's youngest players. Like Moss, Dawes will be competing for a spot in the Flames top six, where he'll likely get more ice with better players more often. At 24 years old and with 133 NHL games under his belt, Dawes is at the right stage in his development curve to "take the next step".
Interesting Fact: Dawes actually gathered more goals (159) than assists (113) during his 245 game junior career.
Last Year: 63 games with 10+11=21
Fearless Forecast: 82 games with 18+27=45...an increase of 24 points
Written by The Avslova Factor
At first glance, the projected lineup for the 2009-10 Colorado Avalanche doesn’t appear to be a fantasy player’s best friend. Outside of Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk, the roster is extremely slim when it comes to consistent production; however, with a more discerning eye, one may find that there are a couple diamonds in the rough.
The 23-year-old Wolski hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations in his first three full seasons in the league. Back in 2006-07, Wolski was projected to be the team’s top rookie, but was upstaged by the relatively unknown Paul Stastny. Wolski’s point total of 50 in his rookie year has actually proved to be his best, as his production has dropped each season since then.
Despite the disappointing numbers, several factors make Wolski a breakout candidate this season. Injuries to Stastny and Joe Sakic left the Avalanche with a huge void down the middle, Wolski was moved back to center, the position he played while with the Brampton Battalion in the OHL. In his first five games at the position, Wolski tallied 4 goals and 3 assists. The 2007-08 season also saw a rise in Wolski’s defensive play. Ranked second on the team in penalty killing time, former coach Tony Granato found that he could trust Wolski in the Avalanche end when the game mattered most.
With Colorado in full re-building mode, Wolski may once again find himself centering the second line. Set to be a restricted free agent at season’s end, Wolski has plenty of motive to make the upcoming season one to remember.
Interesting Fact: With a career record of 17 for 26 (65.4%) in shootouts, "The Baron" is the owner of the highest career shootout percentage in league history.
Last Year: 78 games with 14+28=42
Fearless Forecast: 77 games with 25+40=65…an increase of 23 points
Search "David Jones" on Google and the 24-year-old winger won't show up until the 3rd page. Jones, the fifth-to-last player chosen in the 2003 Entry Draft, is an Ivy League grad and a potential breakout candidate on the Colorado Avalance.
After recording 93 points in 53 games in the British Columbia Hockey League, Jones spent three years at Dartmouth University where he was named the Ivy League Player of the Year and was a Hobey Baker finalist in 2007. Upon joining the Avs, however, Jones has failed to find his scoring touch. Last season, he missed almost the entire second half after being sidelined with a shoulder injury. After undergoing successful surgery in the offseason, Jones should be healthy and ready to go in 2009. At 6’2", Jones brings the three S’s - size, speed, skill - and with the right center, (perhaps Wolski?) he has a chance to put the pieces together and become successful at the NHL level.
Interesting Fact: Helping to combat the stereotype of a "dumb jock," Jones was valedictorian of his high school class with a 4.0 GPA.
Last Season: 40 games with 8+5=13
Fearless Forecast: 70 games with 25+25=50…an increase of 37 points.
Written by Oilers Nation
The much-reviled Penner has so far failed to live up to expectations since being signed away from the Anaheim Ducks as a restricted free agent. Last year in particular he was made a scapegoat for many of the team’s problems, but something interesting happened over that time span. Penner was dropped from the first line and the first powerplay unit to start the season, and it took some time before he worked his way back up to those spots in place of a struggling Erik Cole. Despite that, Penner’s points per sixty minutes of ice-time actually went up at even-strength, and he’s now been effective on the powerplay for two years running.
It’s a smart bet that Pat Quinn will use him on the top line from the get-go, and his overall goal and point totals should spike.
Interesting Fact: After playing for his high-school team, Penner was cut three different times by his local junior club. He eventually signed on with unheralded Minot State University-Bottineau, and broke his femur during his rookie season. He was exceptional when he came back from injury and was offered a scholarship to the University of Maine.
Last Year: 78 games with 17+20=37
Fearless Forecast: 82 games with 30+27=57…an increase of 20 points
Despite a modest decrease in points last season, Gagner made big strides in improving his overall game. His plus/minus went from -21 to just -1 and the 19-year old turned it on toward the end of the season. He’s supremely talented and should start taking minutes away from Shawn Horcoff on the first powerplay unit this season.
Interesting Fact: Sam Gagner’s surprisingly literate for a young hockey player; his personal library includes books by Barack Obama, Salman Rushdie, and Naomi Klein.
Last Year: 76 games with 16+25=41
Fearless Forecast: 80 games with 20+40=60… an increase of 19 points
Written by Deuce By Definition
2008-09 was a lost season for the dynamic Burns after being named Top Defenseman at the 2008 World Championships; minor shoulder surgery before Training Camp slowed him down, then he was moved to wing to fill in for an injured Marian Gaborik (which was a real shocker), and then a concussion after the first of the New Year put the kaybash on his season...at least Doug Risebrough admitted that he probably screwed up Burns' development during the forward experiment. Having recovered from another shoulder surgery and the serious concussion, Burns is highly motivated for the new season after Team Canada Head Honcho Steve Yzerman said that Burns will get serious consideration for the 2010 Canadian Olympic Team.
Interesting Fact: Burns loves animals. His place outside of St. Paul is referred to as the "Burns Zoo."
Last Year: 59 Games with 8+19=27
Fearless Forecast: 82 games 18+37=55...an increase of 28 points.
Clutterbuck established himself as a cult hero in Minnesota, and a villain among the Don Cherry apostles. He led the league with a record 356 hits, demolishing the subjective record that Dustin Brown had with 311. On nearly every shift he can be counted on to slam someone into the boards, providing excitement (and entertainment when things go awry for Minnesota) but as the season went along he showed some scoring touch. Owning a heavy shot and a willingness to go into the high traffic areas, Clutterbuck does have a track record of offensive production; he had back-to-back 35 goal seasons playing alongside 2009 1st Overall Pick John Tavares for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.
Interesting Fact: October 15th was the day Clutterbuck was called up from Houston...the problem was that he was between apartments, so all of his stuff was in his car - which stayed at the Airport for 35 days until he received word he was staying with Minnesota. So Aeros teammate Barry Brust rfinally etrieved the car for the hefty tab of $565.
Last Year: 78 games with 11+7=18
Fearless Forecast: 82 games with 18+17=35...an increase of 17 points.
Written by Canucks Hockey Blog
When Mike Gillis first traded a couple of draft picks (a 3rd in 2009 & a 2nd in 2010) for Steve Bernier, many thought Bernier would be the perfect complement to the Sedin twins. Big guy, right-hand shot, good in the corners and in front of the net, and offensive potential unlike others that were given that role (see Klatt, Trent).
Canucks fans are still waiting for him to fulfill that potential.
There's good reason to think this could be the season he breaks out. Bernier finished the 2008-09 season with 15 goals and 17 assists. He had 137 shots, but that number doesn't include many more opportunities where he missed the net entirely. After the Canucks were eliminated, Gillis gave him an offseason fitness and training program geared to help him with his finish. If Bernier follows through with this program - and learns to cash in on his chances - he can easily hit 20+ goals.
Interesting Fact: In his first season with the Canucks, Bernier won the Fred J. Hume award as the team's unsung hero. Previous winners include other fan favorites such as Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, Martin Gelinas and Cliff Ronning.
Last Year: 81 games with 15+17=32
Fearless Forecast: 80 games with 21+25=46...an increase of 14 points.
Some may see the 2008-09 season as Edler's breakout season. His 37 points (10 goals and 27 assists) place him 35th among all NHL defensemen - not bad for someone playing in just his 2nd full NHL season. He then added eight more points (one goal and seven assists) in the playoffs; the only Canucks players who scored more in the postseason were Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
That said, more is expected from Edler next season. With Mattias Ohlund gone, Edler is being counted on to play bigger minutes and produce bigger numbers. He'll likely see an increase in his ice-time (he was only 4th among Canucks defensemen in ice-time in 2008-09) and will be given even opportunity to contribute even more offensively.
Interesting Fact: Edler came very close to becoming a Detroit Red Wing. As the story goes, the Red Wings were also very interested in using their 2004 3rd round draft pick to select him. The Canucks traded 3rd round picks with the Dallas Stars to move up the draft and select Edler before Detroit had the chance to do so.
Last Year: 80 games with 10+27=37
Fearless Forecast: 81 games with 14+31=45...an increase of 8 points