Do You Believe in Magic? (West)

Ryan Ma




A couple of weeks ago in my Projections column, I mentioned something which was commonly known as the “magical fourth year”. This week I plan on de-bunking or confirming the myth with stats to see if there really is such a thing as the “magical fourth year”.


Let’s take a look at the top 10 scorers from this past season and how they have fared in their first four years in the NHL.

Malkin    85    106    113    
Ovechkin    106    92    112    113
Crosby    102    120    72    102
Datsyuk    35    51    68    87
Parise    32    62    65    94
Kovalchuk    51    67    87    98
Getzlaf    39    58    82    91
Iginla    50    32    51    63
Savard    6    45    53    65
Backstrom    69    88        

Looking at the table, all eight of the eligible players had an increase from their third to their fourth year. Some had small increases like Ovechkin’s one point, while others had huge increases like Parise’s 29 points. So you would have to chalk one point up for supporting the myth side.

One thing that I notice is that the players with the biggest jumps seem to have one thing in common, which is their importance to their respective line ups. Datsyuk, Parise, Kovalchuk, and Getzlaf all pretty much secured top-line roster spots with their respective teams in their fourth years, which generally speaking increased their opportunity to integrate themselves into an important part of their team’s offense. Following a bit more research, I also found a similar trend with a few other players.

Carter    42    37    54    84
Cammalleri    8    15    55    80
M. Richards    34