First things first: do not call me a Crosby-hater. That's the last thing in the world that I am. Here's my post-Olympic reaction, and here's where I advocated for him as Rookie of the Year.
Now, apparently there are some Pittsburgh fans out there who think Crosby is going to score 50 goals again this season. Despite being a gifted playmaker, he has no track record of scoring like that. Let's look as his three-year weighted projection:
Now it's entirely possible that he stepped up his game and improved his scoring touch last season - he did take a lot more shots than in the past. I found the 29 most-comparable seasons to Crosby's 2009-10 over the last 40 years. Here's how those players did the next season, per 82 games:
|29 Comps Yr+1||82||42||57||99||274||24|
|Per 77 GP||77||39||54||93||257||23.4|
There were a lot more pure goalscorers in this group than playmakers, so both their goals and assists dropped in the year following their big year. They also played, on average, four fewer games in that next season (hence Crosby's projection per 77 games - if he plays that much, I doubt he'll have as few as 54 assists.) What's clear is that regardless of which projection method we follow, we expect Crosby to score around 40 goals next season. Remember - when a player has a big season, particularly one that's out of line with what he's done before, it's because everything broke right for him. In his next season, we shouldn't expect everything to go his way, and so he's unlikely to put up the same big numbers.
Of course, what we've got here is a mean projection. 20% of Crosby's comparables scored 50+ goals the following season, while half scored less than 40, which should give you an idea of the range of possible outcomes. Sidney Crosby is an amazing player, but you shouldn't put your money on him repeating his 50 goal season.