Does the sophomore slump exist?

Breaking down performance trends for former Calder finalists

Updated: October 16, 2013, 12:52 PM ET
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider

Jonas BrodinJohn Russell/NHLI/Getty ImagesNo. 4 in Calder Trophy voting for 2013, Jonas Brodin has started his sophomore campaign well.

Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers was the league's top rookie last season, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy with 14 goals and 17 assists while playing all 48 games. So far this season, he is only off slightly from that pace (four points in seven games). Fellow finalists Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens and Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks also have not missed a beat. Saad has five points in six games for the defending champions, while Gallagher is just shy of a point-per-game pace despite logging just 14:24 per night.

Other notable rookies from last season, such as Minnesota Wild blueliner Jonas Brodin, have also seen a spike in production. The 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft has two goals and three assists in seven games, and is skating 25:16 per night in all situations (2:24 on the power play and 2:20 shorthanded), second on the Wild behind franchise defenseman Ryan Suter (28:54).

Conventional wisdom suggests big rookie campaigns are often met with disappointment the following season, during the "sophomore slump." But is that actually true? As it turns out, a particular position is more affected by a second-season downturn than others.


To read Neil Greenberg's full story on whether the sophomore slump is real or not in the NHL, sign up for Insider today.

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.