Sophomores lack statistical progression
By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Edmonton Oilers winger Nail Yakupov's sensational finish -- six goals, including a hat trick, in his final three games -- helped him tie for the rookie lead in points with Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau, but it wasn't enough to put him on pace for 60 points.
Yakupov and Huberdeau both finished with 31 points in 48 games, a pace of 53 points per 82 games. Just one rookie -- Carolina's Jeff Skinner in 2010-11 -- has had a 60-point season over the last five campaigns.
There hasn't been much improvement in sophomore seasons during that span either.
Starting with the 2008-09 rookie class, only 15 players who ranked in the top 10 in points during their rookie year have produced a higher point-per-game average the following season.
The biggest gainer during that timeframe was Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, who ranked fifth among rookies with 46 points in 79 games in 2008-09. Stamkos jumped to 95 points in 82 games in his second season, an increase of 0.58 ppg.
The other 14 players had an average increase of 0.17 ppg in their second season. That equates to about 14 points per 82 games.
The only second-year player who ranked in the top 10 in rookie scoring last season and experienced an increase in ppg this season was Buffalo's Cody Hodgson. Hodgson had 41 points in 83 games last season and turned in 34 points in 48 games during this shortened season, an increase of 0.22 ppg.
The other nine players declined in ppg average, and some did so dramatically.
Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Oilers tied for the rookie scoring lead with 52 points apiece in 2011-12, but Landeskog finished with a pace of 39 points per 82 games and RNH played at a pace of 49 points per 82 games in 2012-13.
New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique, who ranked third with 51 points in 74 games as a rookie, dropped to 16 points in 42 games this season, a decline of 0.31 ppg.
Along with Yakupov and Huberdeau, Montreal C Alex Galchenyuk (12 points in April; 27 points in 48 games on the season), Edmonton D Justin Schultz (27 points in 48 games) and St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko (19 points in 38 games) likely will be the most coveted second-year players in 2013-14 fantasy drafts.
However, given how unsteady the majority of NHL sophomores have been recently, fantasy owners might be better off leaving that potential on the board in favor of something more stable.
04/29 20:37:01 ET