Frozen Tool Forensics: Fourth-year breakouts

chriskane

2020-04-10

Anyone who has followed Dobber Hockey for any length of time likely know about the fourth-year breakout. The fourth year is a mythical time when a high proportion of NHL players seem to reach new scoring heights. This week we are going to take a look at some of 2019-20's third year players and try and highlight some pluses/minuses for their chances of further breakouts.

This week: 2020-21 Breakout Candidates Part One

As always Frozen Tools has a report that is incredibly helpful for our analysis. In fact, it has two. The first is titled 4th Year Breakout and that lets us take a look at every player currently in their fourth year. That report, once exported, looks something like this (there are a couple of additional columns, but I removed them for fit):

 

Name Pos Age Team Years Career GP GP G A PTS PPP TOI SOG
AUSTON MATTHEWS C 22 TOR 4 281 70 47 33 80 25 20:58 290
KYLE CONNOR L 23 WPG 4 249 71 38 35 73 17 21:05 239
MITCHELL MARNER C 22 TOR 4 299 59 16 51 67 24 21:33 154
SEBASTIAN AHO R 22 CAR 4 310 68 38 28 66 17 19:25 206
BRAYDEN POINT C 24 T.B 4 295 66 25 39 64 13 18:54 141
PATRIK LAINE R 21 WPG 4 305 68 28 35 63 16 19:25 226
MATTHEW TKACHUK L 22 CGY 4 293 69 23 38 61 19 18:18 188
TRAVIS KONECNY C 23 PHI 4 298 66 24 37 61 23 16:48 141
 MATHEW BARZAL C 22 NYI 4 233 68 19 41 60 12 20:03 171
TONY DEANGELO D 24 NYR 4 199 68 15 38 53 19 19:17 149
JAKUB VRANA L 24 WSH 4 245 69 25 27 52 12 14:53 187
TIMO MEIER R 23 S.J 4 263 70 22 27 49 9 17:17 199
TYLER BERTUZZI L 25 DET 4 199 71 21 27 48 14 19:19 129
PAVEL BUCHNEVICH L 24 NYR 4 246 68 16 30 46 9 16:56 148
 NICK SCHMALTZ C 24 ARI 4 248 70 11 34 45 13 15:32 95
BROCK BOESER R 23 VAN 4 197 57 16 29 45 14 18:34 169
CLAYTON KELLER C 21 ARI 4 237 70 17 27 44 15 16:18 184
JAKE GUENTZEL C 25 PIT 4 243 39 20 23 43 10 20:38 127
ZACH WERENSKI D 22 CBJ 4 300 63 20 21 41 13 23:59 187
ANTHONY BEAUVILLIER L 22 NYI 4 285 68 18 21 39 7 17:16 132

 

There are clearly some big names on this list, ones that have been big name stars for several years, but guys like Travis Konecny, Jakub Vrana, and Pavel Buchnevich are certainly new additions. Anyone who was able to grab them in the draft, or during free agency certainly reaped rewards during various portions of the season.

The above is sorted by total points, but if we make a quick addition and sort by points per game, the top 15 it looks like this:

 

Name Pos Age Team GP PTS PTS/G TOI %PP
AUSTON MATTHEWS C 22 TOR 70 80 1.14 20:58 70.9
MITCHELL MARNER C 22 TOR 59 67 1.14 21:33 68.2
JAKE GUENTZEL C 25 PIT 39 43 1.10 20:38 67.7
KYLE CONNOR L 23 WPG 71 73 1.03 21:05 70.7
SEBASTIAN AHO R 22 CAR 68 66 0.97 19:25 58.3
BRAYDEN POINT C 24 T.B 66 64 0.97 18:54 65.6
PATRIK LAINE R 21 WPG 68 63 0.93 19:25 68.6
TRAVIS KONECNY C 23 PHI 66 61 0.92 16:48 52.4
MATTHEW TKACHUK L 22 CGY 69 61 0.88 18:18 62.5
 MATHEW BARZAL C 22 NYI 68 60 0.88 20:03 63.1
BROCK BOESER R 23 VAN 57 45 0.79 18:34 70.4
TONY DEANGELO D 24 NYR 68 53 0.78 19:17 58.2
JAKUB VRANA L 24 WSH 69 52 0.75 14:53 36
TIMO MEIER R 23 S.J 70 49 0.70 17:17 47.3
PAVEL BUCHNEVICH L 24 NYR 68 46 0.68 16:56 42.8

 

One thing to point out here is time on ice. Only one player in the top ten is playing fewer than 17 minutes a night and five are above 20 minutes. Similarly, no one in the top ten is playing less than 50 percent of his team's power-play time. And most are playing more than 65 percent. One additional note here, all of the top 10 have a points-per 60 rate over 2.5.

So let's turn to the next report. This one is titled Next Year, and as the title suggests it pulls players who could be a fourth-year breakout next season. In reality it pulls third year players and we can do a little juggling to see what it tells us. Once we run the report (and export) here are the top 15 sorted by total points from 2019-20.

 

 

Name Pos Age Team Years Career GP GP G A PTS PPP TOI SOG
PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS L 21 CBJ 3 234 70 18 31 49 10 17:56 158
NEAL PIONK D 24 WPG 3 172 71 6 39 45 25 23:23 177
ALEX DEBRINCAT R 22 CHI 3 233 70 18 27 45 16 17:30 207
ANTHONY CIRELLI C 22 T.B 3 168 68 16 28 44 5 18:28 113
ALEX IAFALLO L 26 L.A 3 227 70 17 26 43 9 18:56 142
NICO HISCHIER C 21 N.J 3 209 58 14 22 36 10 18:04 123
MARTIN NECAS C 21 CAR 3 72 64 16 20 36 9 14:10 88
JAKE DEBRUSK L 23 BOS 3 203 65 19 16 35 10 16:03 161
SAMUEL GIRARD D 21 COL 3 225 70 4 30 34 13 21:19 96
ADAM GAUDETTE C 23 VAN 3 120 59 12 21 33 12 12:23 75
JESPER BRATT L 21 N.J 3 185 60 16 16 32 6 13:59 101
ANDREW MANGIAPANE L 24 CGY 3 122 68 17 15 32 1 13:42 109
CHARLIE MCAVOY D 22 BOS 3 184 67 5 27 32 2 23:10 101
LUKE KUNIN C 22 MIN 3 131 63 15 16 31 2 15:28 128
ZACH SANFORD L 25 STL 3 157 58 16 14 30 1 13:44 90

 

This year lacks some of the superstar names of the year ahead of it, but there is definitely some potential here. Guys like Pierre-Luc Dubouis and Alex DeBrincat are likely known in your league, but who could stand to gain the most next year? What our current fourth-year breakouts above tell us is that the guys who are going to break out in their fourth year are going to get solid deployment, but also are likely going to be showing some ability to produce in the time they currently have.

If we eliminate the defensemen and do a quick sort by time on ice, we see that no player is currently getting more than 18.5 minutes a night of ice time, and most are seeing less than 50% of their team's power-play time. That means that no player is currently getting the deployment we would expect of a breakout performer. That is good news as there are very few current breakouts on this list. It also means that there is a fair amount of improvement available for players to increase their deployment.

One key factor to consider is what are these players currently doing with the time they do have. We would like to see players who are already putting up reasonable point-per-60 metrics given their current deployment.

 

Name Pos Age Team GP PTS PPP TOI %PP PTS/60
KAILER YAMAMOTO R 21 EDM 27 26 2 17:23 22.3 3.3
ADAM GAUDETTE C 23 VAN 59 33 12 12:23 28.2 2.7
MARTIN NECAS C 21 CAR 64 36 9 14:10 36.5 2.4
PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS L 21 CBJ 70 49 10 17:56 57.4 2.3
JESPER BRATT L 21 N.J 60 32 6 13:59 35.1 2.3
ZACH SANFORD L 25 STL 58 30 1 13:44 14.7 2.3
ALEX DEBRINCAT R 22 CHI 70 45 16 17:30 66.9 2.2
TRAVIS BOYD C 26 WSH 24 10 1 11:45 16.9 2.1
ANTHONY CIRELLI C 22 T.B 68 44 5 18:28 19 2.1
DENIS GURIANOV R 22 DAL 64 29 12 12:59 41.9 2.1
RYAN DONATO C 23 MIN 62 23 2 10:38 13.7 2.1
NICO HISCHIER C 21 N.J 58 36 10 18:4 50.3 2.1
ANDREW MANGIAPANE L 24 CGY 68 32 1 13:42 11.4 2.1
OSKAR LINDBLOM L 23 PHI 30 18 4 17:37 39.8 2.0
JAKE DEBRUSK L 23 BOS 65 35 10 16:3 49.5 2.0

 

This above table shows point-per-60 numbers as well as time on ice and power-play percentages. Players who are putting up higher point-per 60 numbers, but still have room to grow in total time on ice, or power-play deployment are certainly intriguing. Most of the top five fit that category. All except Dubois are below either 17 minutes a night, or 50 percent of the power-play (or both). Unfortunately Dubois and Debrincat stand out on this list as players who are getting the best deployment (high time on ice and high power-play percentage), but don't have point-per 60 numbers over 2.5 (which all of the current fourth year breakout players have). Dubois' 59-point pace on the season is certainly a nice boost for him, particularly without Artemi Panarin on his wing, but so far he stands out as the biggest 'breakout' in his class.

The big question for these players, and particularly those at the top of this chart is, will they get the opportunity to shine for their respective clubs in 2020-21.That is the question we are going to tackle next week. We will take a look at some of the top players on our list and examine their spot in the depth chart to see what chance they have to take on a more significant role for their team.

That is all for this week. Thanks for reading.

Stay safe out there.

Want more tool talk? Check out these recent Frozen Tool Forensics posts:

 

Frozen Tools Forensics: Multi-Cat Defensemen Past and Present

Frozen Tools Forensics: Helping make fantasy decisions

Frozen Tools Forensics: Comparing deadline acquisitions

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency FLA Players
24.5% NOEL ACCIARI ALEKSANDER BARKOV JONATHAN HUBERDEAU
18.6% EVGENII DADONOV MIKE HOFFMAN LUCAS WALLMARK
9.8% BRIAN BOYLE DRYDEN HUNT

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