Frozen Tools Forensics: Breakout Threshold Check-In

Chris Kane


Today I want to return to an article I wrote back in August attempting to predict some players on the cusp of a breakout. We will be taking a look at some of the predictions made, and see how the recommended players are performing now.

The premise was based on an article posted in June that attempted to define a breakout threshold in the NHL. The brief summary is that there tends to be a game count by which players start to break out. In this case breakout is defined as a 25 percent year-over-year increase. What they found is that average size forwards need about 200 games, and D and exceptionally small, or larger forwards need about 400 games. 

We focused on one particular quote though that seemed very measurable.

"It’s always a great indicator if you see that a player finishes the previous season with 230 or 240 career games and he just enjoyed a very strong second half. When you see that, then feel confident in a potential breakout for the year ahead."

It turns out I was able to turn that statement into variables we could export from the Dobber reports and we ended up with this list of recommended players. Not only did we recommend players who had a strong potential for a breakout, but we projected a pace given the breakout threshold was defined as a 25-percent increase over the player's previous pace. The stats below are all as of August 2022 so don't take into account any games played this season.

NamePosTeamTotal GPPer Game PTS 1st HalfPer Game PTS 2nd HalfΔ in Splits21-22 Pt PaceProj 22-23 Pt Pace
ELIAS PETTERSSONCVAN2450.51.20.77087.5
NICK SUZUKICMTL2090.50.90.46176.25
TAGE THOMPSONCBUF2230.710.37188.75
MATHIEU JOSEPHROTT2320.30.60.33645
ROOPE HINTZCDAL2390.810.27492.5
TREVOR MOORERL.A2040.50.70.25062.5
ROBERT THOMASCSTL24111.10.187108.75