Jessica from Bingo Bango hosts today’s roundtable question, about breakout expectations.
Again, Rob had the honors:
The Villain. Ville Leino. It has to be him. There are only a handful of guys on this team who I would consider breakout candidates. Most of our Wings…at this point in their careers…are either known commodities (Norris, Hank, Drapes) or they already “broke out” in recent years (Helm, Flipper). Of the new acquisitions, I think Eaves has a chance to go Charlie Buckets on us…to translate early career hopes into mid-career production…but you have to wonder how much run he’ll get in Detroit thanks to the latter pickups, Bertuzzi and J-Williams. I would also argue that Cleary has yet to peak. I think he has more than he’s shown consistently and part of me thinks this is the year that shines through. I continue to think that he plays to the level of the line he’s on…he’s a grinder on the 3’s and a scoring threat on the 2’s.
But back to Leino, I think he’s at the right intersection of UNKNOWN COMMODITY and BEEN IN THE FAMILY LONG ENOUGH. He’s not some pup who just came across the pond, doesn’t know the North American game and dismisses backchecking. He’s got the table stakes…the basic tools…to be a system guy…and I think he has a lot higher ceiling than we’ve seen so far. Anyone reading about hockey this far ahead of the season knows his history in Finland. Kid was a monster over there and one of the things we’ll be tracking at TPL all year is how he stacks up against that year’s other big import, Fabian Brunnstrom. I expect big things. I liked what little I saw in the playoffs and I loved how opportunistic he was in the regular season. My gut says he eclipses Scuttles numbers from last year. That, to me, would qualify as a “breakout.”
Tomorrow is Snipe Snipe Dangle Dangle time.