Nina G: Breakout: John Tavares. Most Disappointing: Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bob H: Breakout King: Zach Parise, F, New Jersey or James Neal, F, Pittsburgh
Fizzle: Martin Brodeur, G, New Jersey or Ryan Callahan, F, New York
Kim Q: I think James Neal could have a career year and on the other end of the spectrum, I think Brad Richards will disappoint and will not do quite as well as he should.
Nick D: The player who will have the biggest breakout season for their respective teams will be either be John Tavares of the New York Islanders or James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers. They both are primed to take their games to the next level and will have to in order for their teams to be successful, but also to justify the big contracts both of these young players just signed which has them committed to the teams that drafted them for the next six years. The player in the Atlantic Division who will have the most disappointing season has to be James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not that the Penguins gave up all that much for Neal in Alex Goligoski (especially since they also got Matt Niskanen in that deal as well), but if anyone really believes that Neal is going to be what John Leclair was to Eric Lindros for Sidney Crosby, they ought to consider sitting in a dark room for the next nine months just like Sid did. Frankly the guy is good, but without another talented and speedy winger, like Mikael Renberg, Crosby will still hold on to the puck and try to make the pretty pass instead of throwing it at the net and being unpredictable like Lindros was and part of the reason the Legion of Doom worked so well together.
Eden N: Would love to see John Tavares break out. I can hope that JVR makes good on that contract, but I’m still not blown away by him. I more expect to be disappointed by him.
Marcello D: I expect a lot out of James Neal this season but I think John Tavares will run the table. Maybe I’m being unrealistic but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him put up 85+ points.
I have an unpopular answer for the most disappointing player. I think it will be Danny Briere. The loss of Leino, the added pressure, and Hartnell’s questionable status could spell trouble for him. I also have this bad feeling that he’ll suffer some nagging injury that will hamper his output this upcoming season.