Taking a look at players 30-plus who stand a good chance of hitting career highs in 2013-14
The column from last week (about players who are under 30 but have already peaked) got excellent feedback, so I figured why not also focus on the flip side – players who will be age 30 or older at the start of next season but still will be candidates to achieve a new career high in points in 2013-14.
I've broken down the list into three separate groups – (1) those who are most likely to achieve a career high next season, (2) those with a pretty good shot of getting there, and (3) those where it's not as likely but still quite possible.
Group 1 – Most likely to achieve a career high in points next season
Chris Kunitz (age 34; career high = 61 points in 2011-12)
Francois Beauchemin (age 33; career high = 36 points in 2005-06)
Kunitz and Beauchemin are pretty easy picks, since if you project their scoring pace this season to a full 82 games it would blow away their previous career highs (as of March 25, Kunitz is on pace for 102 points over a full season, Beauchemin for 48). Given that they will be 34 and 33 years old next season and have never scored at anything close to their current pace, you do have to allow for their scoring rates to come back to earth at least somewhat. But even if that happens, all it would take is just over 60% of Kunitz's scoring pace from this season and just over 75% of Beauchemin's for each to still establish a new full season career high in 2013-14, and that seems easily achievable.
Niklas Kronwall (age 32; career high = 51 points in 2008-09)
Kronwall has done exactly what his fantasy owners (and the Red Wings) had hoped, namely step in to become the #1 defenseman in Detroit and contribute to the team's offense from the blue line. Sure, his +/- has been shaky, but he looks like pretty much a lock to improve upon his career high in points next season based on what we've seen in this campaign.
PA Parenteau (age 30; career high = 67 points in 2011-12)
Many people (myself included) figured Parenteau's scoring pace would go down this season after being separated from the offensive dynamo that is John Tavares and finally having the security of "big contract" money safely in his pocket. But he's proven his doubters and detractors wrong big time, putting up point per game numbers this season with Colorado and giving every indication that he'll carry that same scoring pace into next season (and beyond).
Group 2 – Good shot at achieving a career high in points next season
Paul Martin (age 32; career high = 37 points in 2005-06)
Martin has responded from his poor first season in Pittsburgh with a great campaign; his scoring pace is way up and his veteran