Commentary

Slump? More like 'sophomore surge'

Players usually excel in second season, but Jackets' Mason may still need to worry

Originally Published: October 5, 2009
By Tom Awad | Puck Prospectus

At my office fantasy draft, the name of Tampa Bay Lightning F Steven Stamkos came up. "Don't take him!" someone yelled. "It's his second year. He's going to stink!" Someone then cited Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price as ironclad evidence that players dip in their second year. Except, of course, that this "fact" of sports lore is completely false; there is no such thing as a sophomore slump.

This is not to say, of course, that some players do not drop off in their second year, but there is no widespread tendency to do so. The sophomore slump is a result of selection bias: The most-talked-about rookies tend to be the most successful ones, and the most successful rookies are the ones with the biggest potential for a drop-off in their second season. Steve Mason, for example, is likely to exhibit a "sophomore slump", since there is almost nowhere for him to go but down after a spectacular rookie season.

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