Let's go behind the numbers of three CHL breakout players.
There are very few things in life that are guaranteed. Death and taxes is the cliché in everyday life. In the world of fantasy hockey we have the breakouts. Often it’s the high-profile kids who you expect, but you also get some from less obvious corners. Either way, each season brings a few notable performances. here were three breakout campaigns that really stood out for their magnitude this past season. Two of the three I’m about to profile effectively doubled their previous career-best point totals, and the other made his mark as a rookie in spectacular fashion.
Reid Boucher- LW, New Jersey Devils
What’s the best way as a prospect to really grab people’s attention? Well if you’re Reid Boucher, you just go out and break Steven Stamkos’s record for goals in a season for the Sarnia Sting. In all fairness, 62 goals in 68 games will get you noticed no matter the record you broke. It certainly raises a few more eyebrows when you eclipse the mark set by a player of Stammer’s stature. In just his second full season in the OHL, Boucher notched 95 points during the regular season and a further five in four playoff contests. Scouts have long lauded Boucher for his shot, his vision and his performance backed that up and earned him a promotion to Albany. All eyes will be on Boucher to see just how his game will fare in the pros. Given the dearth of top forward prospects in the pipeline and the loss of Ilya Kovalchuk in New Jersey, if Boucher can bring a strong semblance of that scoring ability to the next level he’ll see time in Jersey sooner rather than later.
Adam Lowry- LW, Winnipeg Jets
At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry is hard to miss. Throw in 88 points in 72 games for the Swift Current Broncos and you have everyone’s undivided attention. His breakout this season really shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as he was well on his way in 2011-12 before a wrist injury derailed his season. If Lowry can add some muscle to his huge frame, he projects as top-six power forward at the next level assuming the offense continues to flow. Even without the offense, Lowry’s game should work well in multi-category leagues. Lowry features loads of grit, as he has put up a steady 80+ PIM each of the last three seasons. Even in his injury shortened ’11-12 campaign he had 90 PIM in a mere 36 games to go along with 37 points. On top of all that the 20-year-old possesses good leadership qualities, as evidenced by his teammates giving him one of the “A’s” in 2011-12 and the “C” in his final season in Swift Current. Lowry is still a year or two out, but now is the time to buy in.
Dmitrij Jaskin- RW, St. Louis Blues
Unlike Boucher and Lowry, the Blues Dmitrij Jaskin wasn’t so much a breakout as an introduction. The 2012-13 season marked Jaskin’s first outside of his native Czech Republic, and 99 points in 51 games makes for one eye-popping introduction. The 20-year-old also got a brief taste of the NHL spending two games in St. Louis with his future teammates and coaches. If not for the logjam at forward in St. Louis, Jaskin might well have a chance to stick with the Blues out of camp which sets him further apart from Boucher and Lowry.
Like Lowry, Jaskin plays a physical game, which will potentially open opportunities earlier in a bottom-six role while he grows as a pro towards a potential top-six power forward role. The mystery now is how he follows up on his first season in North America. He’s logged just the one season in the QMJHL(What a season!!), but didn’t really wow anyone in his time at the higher levels in the Czech Republic. He’s currently listed on the Blues roster on their website, but he could also start the season with the Chicago Wolves. If he does land in the AHL to start out, it may well work in his favor in the long-term, and he should still see some call-ups during the upcoming season.
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