How to identify breakout candidates for the 2015-16 NHL season

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Every season there are a handful of players that break out to new scoring and performance highs, much like St. Louis' Vladimir Tarasenko, Columbus' Nick Foligno, Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov, Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek, Calgary's Jiri Hudler and Minnesota's Devan Dubnyk. Is there a reliable way to predict who might explode out of the gate next season?

To help answer that question using hockey analytics, I went all the way back to the 2005 lockout, and identified those players whose scoring and/or GVT exceeded their previously established career levels to the greatest extent. Studying those individuals closely, several patterns began to emerge, and their sudden success could all be explained by various combinations of the following conditions: