Every year, one player breaks out from the crowd and shocks the world. In baseball, with Jose Bautista hitting 54 home runs in 2010 after hitting 13 in 2009. Breakout players are some of America's favorite things in sports, behind goalie fights (Rick DiPietro, how's that face holding up?) and walk off home runs, unless it's your pitcher throwing the meatball.
The NHL has seen its breakout players this year, here are the top five.
Okay...okay, I know Daniel Sedin has shown that he is a good player in the NHL, but if he keeps his stats like this over his career, he will turn into a great player. Sedin has 28 goals so far this year.
Last year, he had 29.
That just goes to show how much he's improved. He's projected to get 83 points this year, but he's missed some games this year due to injury.
Patrick Sharp takes a backseat to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews when it comes to popularity on the Chicago hockey scene, but he's making quite a name for himself. He's scored 47 points this year and is projected to get 74, which would be his career-high.
Plus, he won the NHL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, and it was his first All-Star game! If Sharp keeps this up, he won't have to pay for any of his meals when he's in Chicago.
When people think of the Ducks, Corey Perry probably isn't the first thing that comes to their mind (the first thing that comes to my mind is those hideous eggplant jerseys they used to wear). Unlike those homely jerseys, Corey Perry's year has been beautiful.
He's netted 56 points and is projected to get 85 points this year. If Perry has more seasons like this, maybe he'll relieve my mind when I think of the Ducks.
Letang. It's sounds like a French person saying "The Tang". Although Tang is quite refreshing, Letang is more refreshing to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Letang has a solid 41 points this year, beating his career high, and Letang has done this in 56 games! The projections show he will get 60 points, which would annihilate his career high of 33. I bet he doubles this totals, and I think he's going to get hot towards the end of season.
The Penguins will want their Letang hot, but I prefer my Tang cold.
Teemu Selänne entered the league back in 1992 and scored 132 points in his rookie season. Although Selänne is 18-years-older, that doesn't mean he can put up the points. He's scored 46 points this year, and is projected to get 83 points, which would be his highest point total since the 2006-2007 season when the Ducks took home the Stanley Cup.
Maybe Selänne is like fine wine, better with age.
Stamkos almost takes the cake in this category and he blew the doors open this year. Stamkos has a league-leading 40 goals along with 33 assists, giving him 73 points and a projected point total of 108 points.
Stamkos could be the next big face of the NHL and could lead his Tampa Bay Lightning, currently sitting at third place in the Eastern Conference, to it's second Stanley Cup in 10 years. Speaking of cake, Stamkos turned 21 on Super Bowl Sunday.
If Stamkos keeps putting up these points, he'll celebrate many birthdays as an NHL superstar.
While the Class of 2010 was having graduation parties and picking colleges, Jeff Skinner was making a name for himself in the Ontario Hockey League, which led to the Carolina Hurricanes picking him 7th in the NHL 2010 Entry Draft.
Skinner is the youngest player in the NHL, but he's playing like a veteran. The numbers speak for themselves. He's put up 43 points so far this year, and is projected to put up 65 points which would be a solid rookie season. Before the season, people were saying how good Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are and how they'll blow the league up. They've done well so far this year, meeting their expectations.
Skinner has exceeded his expectations, and will likely be hoisting the Calder Memorial Trophy at the end of the year.
Byfuglien is a huge guy, and it looks like he should be playing basketball with his size. But, he's got so many goals this year people are starting to think he's a motivational speaker. Byfuglien scored 34 points last year in 82 games. He has 42 points in 56 games this year, including a league leading 17 for defenseman. Remember, he was a wing last year. He's projected to get 61 points this year, which would almost double his point total last year.
Maybe Byfuglien could become a motivational speaker after he plays. "Be like me. Get a lot of goals, and the rest will come easy." Or something like that.