Ask any team in the NHL that's won the Stanley Cup, and they'll tell you it can't be done without quality role players. More often than not, their emergence in the playoffs is the difference between advancing and going home. So what role players are primed to break out this season?
It would be remiss of me not to mention that the lockout might prevent any of this. It's hard to look into the future with as much uncertainty as there is surrounding the league right now.
So taking the optimistic view that we, at worst, see a shortened season, the opportunity for some lesser-known players to step their game up to the next level awaits.
You need look no further than the captain of the defending Stanley Cup champions. Los Angeles Kings RW Dustin Brown had a Mark Messier-like performance in the postseason and cemented himself as one of the best two-way players in the game.
Ahead, we're going to examine four role players set to make the upcoming season their best one yet.