Most likely to Succeed is our newest series which points out one player from every team and explains why that player is poised to increase their point totals. While some teams may have more than one player likely to breakout and some none, we will focus on the ones who actually should improve with a full healthy season. File this article under a sleeper-type but sleepers would not be called that if people saw them coming.
Today, we take a look at the physical specimen that is Zdeno Chara Milan Lucic. Standing at 6’4″ Lucic has be considered one of the more feared power forwards in the game despite his age.
If this kid could stay healthy he would surely instill way more confidence from his owners. Two seasons ago the young Lucic registered 17 goals, 42 points, a healthy +17 and an even better 136 PIMs playing with mostly Marc Savard and Phil Kessel. Injuries and a fourth line demotion led to this 22-year-old only putting up nine goals and 20 points this past season. His PIMs even regressed from those 136 to a paltry 44 in 50 games.
There were a few things to consider when looking at these stats.
- He spent two separate stints on injured reserve. After he broke his hand during a fight and missed 14 games, he injury his ankle for another couple of weeks. You simply cannot fault a player for breaking his hand during a fight; it stinks but you really needed those five that week.
- Lucic is a playoff MONSTER. Nine points in ten games two years ago, another nine in 13 this past season. Bigger games elevate his level of play– if he can harness this potential he will be a likely 50 point player.
- He was more physical come playoff time. With his size and build, Lucic was made for the playoffs and showed less of his careful play during their run. His 19 PIMs in 13 games pretty much sync up with his expectations
- Wildcard but Savard may be full healthy and back to form. The two showed excellent chemistry and could once again with a new acquisition like Tyler Seguin or Nathan Horton.
In summary, the point of these articles would be to point out the surefire players who will increase their points totals. His ability to contribute while racking up penalty minutes make him a very appealing pick and very likely to succeed.