There are many defenseman who I expect to break out next season, but these select few I expect to make the biggest jump from this season.
Erik Karlsson - Karlsson had a terrible start to the season for the Ottawa Senators and found himself in the minors because of it. However, when he was down there he immensely improved his game on both sides of the ice but his offense is what stands out the most. He ended up the season with 26 points in 60 games but he scored most of his points near the end of the season. In the final 10 games of the season Karlsson went on an offensive rampage tallying 12 points (4G, 8A). Expect Karlsson to be in the 45-50 point range next season.
Carl Gunnarsson - Gunnarsson started the season with the Toronto Marlies but with all the injuries to the Maple Leafs blue line he found himself playing with the big club. He struggled offensively at the start of the season but as the season went on Gunnarsson started to settle in and start putting up points. When the Leafs traded for Dion Phaneuf I figured that would be the end of his stint with the Maple Leafs but surprisingly in the last 20 games of the regular season Gunnarsson played more then every defenseman aside from Phaneuf.....yea that's right he played more then Kaberle. Gunnarsson ended the season with 4 points in his final 7 games and has showed a lot of improvement in his offensive game. Expect Gunnarson to be around the 35-40 point mark next year.
PK Subban - PK started and really finished his season with the Hamilton Bulldogs. PK had 53 points in 77 games with the Bulldogs and turned into the offensive machine that he can be. PK only played 2 games with the Montreal Canadiens during the regular season and had a point in each of his games. In the playoffs PK is averaging over 20 minutes a night and has 4 points in 9 games which is pretty impresive for a 20 year old rookie playing in his 1st playoffs. It is already set in stone that PK will be the Canadiens next season as he is not only a fan favourite but a lethal offensive weapon from the point. Expect PK to be around the 40-45 point range next season.
I would love to hear your thoughts so feel free to comment.
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