"Fourth year breakout" is a term being used more often by hockey fans and fantasy hockey players. The fourth year is commonly the year that offensive players (forwards) enjoy the biggest increase in their offensive production. Here's a look at some NHL players entering their fourth year with the possibility of 2012-13 being their "fourth year breakout".
JOHN TAVARES- C- NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Cracked Top 10 in NHL scoring with 81 points in 82 games in 2011-12. A better supporting cast would help this superstar in the making.
LOGAN COUTURE- C- SAN JOSE
It will be hard for Couture to improve on his 65 point season of 2011-12. He has scored 32 and 31 goals the last two seasons.
JAMIE BENN- C- DALLAS
The fifth round draft pick in 2007 has put up seasons of 41, 56 and 63 points. As in the case of Couture, it is hard to expect more.
MATT DUCHENE- C- COLORADO
After scoring 67 points as a sophomore in 2010-11, Duchene was injured and had a forgetable 28 points in 58 games last season. Just 21, his production should increase this season.
EVANDER KANE- LW- WINNIPEG
With NHL seasons of 26, 43 and 57 points, the power forward is poised for breakout as a top line Jet.
BRAYDEN SCHENN- LW/C- PHILADELPHIA
Missed 20 games with injuries in 2011-12. Scored 18 points in 54 regular season games but shone in the playoffs with 9 points in 11 games. Steadily improving. Look for his breakout on a strong Flyers squad.
BRAD MARCHAND- LW- BOSTON
Pesky Bruin scored 28 goals and 55 points in 2011-12. Probable second liner. Recently signed four-year contract extension.
DAVID DESHARNAIS- C- MONTREAL
Diminutive center (5-7,177 lbs.) scored an impressive 60 points (16 goals,44 assists), largely as a set-up man for Habs leading snipers Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole. It will be hard for Desharnais to put up the same numbers, even if he plays with the same pair again.
TYLER ENNIS, C/LW- BUFFALO
Had a slow start but finished 2011-12 with 27 points in 26 games. Missed 34 games with an ankle injury. Best year was 2010-11 when he scored 49 points in 82 games.
JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK- LW- TORONTO
After a 35 point rookie campaign in 2009-10 and 40 points in his sophomore year, JVR dipped to 24 points in 43 games in 2011-12. Missed 39 games due to injury. May be converted to center by the Leafs.
MICHAEL GRABNER- LW- NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Dipped to 32 points after scoring 52 points in 2010-11. Speedy sniper but not much of a set-up guy.
RYAN O'RIELLY- C- COLORADO
Had a 55-point season last year after two consecutive 26 point years. His production could go down with Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny likely claiming the center spots on Avs' to lines along with power play time.
TYLER BOZAK- C- TORONTO
Had his best season (18g,29a) for 47 points in 2011-12. Akthough he's been the number one center in Toronto, that could change this season, resulting in a points drop and no fourth year breakout for Bozak.
NAZEM KADRI- W/C- TORONTO
Leafs' first round pick (7th overall) in 2009 has played only 51 games and scored 19 points over three seasons. Has yet to secure a full-time roster spot. Should easily improve on his best season (12 points in 2010-11) but don't count on a massive breakout unless he becomes a regular top-6 forward.
COLIN WILSON- LW- NASHVILLE
Had 35 points in 68 games in 2011-12. Was scratched in 8 games. Preds hope to get more scoring from the big winger.
MATHIEU PERREAULT- C- WASHINGTON
Scored 30 points in 64 games in 2011-12. Was a scratch 14 times. Look for similar production.
VIKTOR STALBERG- RW- CHICAGO
Scored 43 points in 79 games in 2011-12. Look for more of the same- or better- only if he's able to stay on one of Chicago's top two lines.