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NHL Fantasy: Breakout Candidates
Scott Cullen
9/24/2006 2:12:22 PM

While the early round picks are the glamourous names, often the difference-makers in your draft will come from the players that have breakout seasons. Not only that, but being ahead of the curve on these players makes it all the more rewarding when they turn into major components of your team.

There are three separate categories we'll cover as we look for candidates to break on through to the other side.

The first will be players that have had some NHL success in limited play. The question then becomes whether or not they can continue to produce over a full season.

The leader in this group is Colby Armstrong. A first-round pick out of the Western Hockey League, Armstrong spent more than three seasons in the AHL, leading to speculation that he might be a flop. However, the agitator earned a promotion last year, landed on Sidney Crosby's wing and produced 40 points in 47 games. Add in a plus-15 rating and 58 penalty minutes and Armstrong would project to being a fantasy stud this year as long as he stays close to Sid the Kid.

A first-round pick of the Sharks in 2003, Steve Bernier made an impact with the Sharks when he got called up midway through the 2005-2006 season. Installed on a line with Patrick Marleau and Milan Michalek, Bernier notched 14 goals and 27 points in 39 games. A power forward with great hands in tight, he could be a 30-goal scorer in his second pro season.
TSN - Breakout Candidates . . .
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