How often does a player go from being maligned on a daily basis and stripped of his captaincy to scoring five of his team's seven goals against the eventual Stanley Cup winner before signing a four-year, nearly $28M contract? Just about never?
Well, that's Patrick Marleau's story. He's always been the same guy - he just hit the biggest streak of bad luck we've seen from just about anyone and now has four good seasons since the lockout. But expectations are also higher for him - are they reasonable?
It's pretty unlikely that Marleau crosses the 80-point barrier again next year for just the third time in his career, and 66 points will seem like a huge drop-off from what he's done recently. But, again, a guy crossing over 30 is not one we look to for a breakout season. It's a testament to his abilities that he projects for 30+ goals no matter how we look at him.