Wed Jul 14 07:23pm EDT
Quick quiz: In 1999-2000, which player scored 35 goals, led his team in scoring and finished 14th in the NHL in points with 75?
That would be Valeri Bure, who outscored Jarome Iginla(notes) that season with the Calgary Flames. And he never achieved anything close to those numbers again; earning journeyman status before leaving the NHL at 29 after 13 games with the Dallas Stars in 2004.
He was a one-hit wonder; there on the leaderboard one year, gone the next. We see them now and again: The sad ballad of Jonathan Cheechoo(notes), former 56-goal scorer. St. Louis Blues' Brad Boyes(notes), who has gone from 43 to 33 to 14 goals in the last three seasons. For the sake of those long-suffering Columbus Blue Jackets fans, let's hope last season's regression was a sophomore slump versus the old one-and-done for Steve Mason(notes).
John Kreiser of NHL.com presented his list of seven players "out to prove they're more than one-time stars" Thursday, and there are a couple of reaches (Ian White(notes), for example). But he keys on three players whose performances last season made a promise that their teams are desperately hoping they fulfill in 2010-11: Matt Moulson(notes) of the New York Islanders, Jimmy Howard(notes) of the Detroit Red Wings and Patric Hornqvist(notes) of the Nashville Predators.
Tavares proved to be an excellent talent scout. Not only did Moulson make the team, he led the Isles with 30 goals, including 5 game-winners. Moulson started the season on a line with Tavares, but as the season went on, he showed he could be effective playing without him. Moulson should be entering his prime (he turns 27 in November), and the Islanders need him to at least come close to matching last season's numbers if they hope to push for a playoff berth.
As you can see from Dobber, Moulson played the majority of his time with Tavares but also saw some action with Frans Nielsen(notes) and Trent Hunter(notes), as well as with Kyle Okposo(notes) and Josh Bailey(notes). Obviously, scoring depth is a huge concern for the Islanders next season, so Moulson's ability to excel away from Tavares could be key.
His potential, based on one breakout year, is one of the reasons his contract talks and potential arbitration with the Islanders are so intriguing.
Moulson is a prime candidate for one-hit wonder status. The pressure of a new contract. Teams getting more familiar with his game. Heck, he's already gotten the "Tavares is to Moulson as Mario was to Rob Brown" rap; it would fit the comparison for him to regress and then fade into the background.
Not that we'd ever wish ill on someone with that hair, mind you.
As for Hornqvist, Kreiser writes:
Hornqvist never had scored more than 23 goals at any level during his career and had just 2 goals in 28 games as an NHL rookie in 2008-09. But he became an offensive force last season, leading the Preds in goals and helping Nashville return to the playoffs.
Hornqvist is a restricted free agent, meaning he's all but assured of returning to Nashville. Unlike Moulson and [Jussi] Jokinen, he's just 23 and still a few years away from hitting his peak. The Predators are hoping Hornqvist's breakout season was just a building block for better things to come, rather than the most he's capable of.
It's reasonable to expect a step back statistically here. The 10 power-play goals put him in Jarome Iginla/Thomas Vanek(notes) territory; can he repeat that feat? The other concern is that he proved to be a streaky scorer: two goals for the month of November and a 10-game goal drought in the second-half of the season, for example.
Not a danger for one-hit wonder status, but he could fall back down to earth.
Finally, on Jimmy Howard, Kreiser writes:
Howard, who had been 1-5-0 in nine career NHL appearances before 2009-10, won 37 games last season, with a 2.26 GAA and .924 save percentage, and he was a Calder Trophy finalist.
Howard figures to start 2010-11 as the Wings' No. 1 goaltender, but with Osgood still around and 2008 first-rounder Thomas McCollum(notes) maturing in the AHL, Howard has to prove he's not just a late bloomer who got hot at the right time.
As George Malik pointed out, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was even concerned about a sophomore slump for Howard and how it would undermine Detroit.
Goalies are always a concern for the one-hit-wonder status. Mike Smith's(notes) best numbers came as a rookie. Ditto Carey Price(notes). But Howard's experience should allow him to avoid the second-year dip and the one-and-done pitfall. His numbers might dip — hard to maintain a .924 save percentage — but not to the point where Chris Osgood(notes) is back at the helm at Christmas time.
And especially in what might be a contract year for Howard.
Take a gander at the NHL.com piece; any breakout star from 2009-10 you think stumbles and falls in 2010-11?