Third Time’s a Charm

Dobber Sports

2008-05-16

 

R.J. Umberger

 

 

I started this column by doing research on how players headed into free agency did. The thought being that with the added motivation, they would be primed to do as well as they possibly could in order to have the numbers to support a big contract. What I found were a bunch of players who broke out in their third year. It’s typically been a player’s fourth NHL season that we see them breakout offensively. Is this a new trend developing or just a blip on the screen?

The following are some examples of Eastern Conference pending free agents that had a breakout in their third NHL season:

 

Defenceward Mark Streit bettered his previous career high of 36 by 26 points, ending up with a lofty 62. Streit finished tied for third in defenseman scoring with another pending unrestricted free agent, Brian Campbell. Streit should say a silent thank you for his upcoming big pay day to being on one of the top ranked power plays and the departure of Sheldon Souray. The question is will Streit re-sign with Montreal? All his fantasy owners are crossing their fingers hoping he’ll stay, as he won’t find a better fantasy situation than the one he is currently in.

That Andrei Kostitsyn broke out in his third year shouldn’t really have come as a great surprise, last year’s 11 points in 22 games were an indication of his talent. This year he flashed beaucoup skills in recording 53 points in 78 games. More will be expected from him next year and he should deliver. It will be interesting to see if the brothers Kostitsyn can play on the same line next season.

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Mike Green scored only 12 points in 70 games last season. This season though, Green was a revelation. Don’t think that it’s only the coaching change, Green was lighting it up at training camp and had four points in five games to start the season. Coach Boudreau is definitely a big believer in Green and has given him major ice time which was a big confidence boost for the young defenseman. Green continued scoring into the post-season with