Key 1: Avoid the “sophomore slump”
It’s kind of a cliche, but no one wants to see Kubalik struggle to score. Chicago is really gambling on their chances for 2020-2021, and they’ll need Kubalik to produce again. In his case, he might be able to avoid this entirely because this last season wasn’t his first as a pro.
Just before his first outing in the NHL, Kubalik was playing in Switzerland. Kubalik has already spent time playing professionally and may be able to avoid having to overcome the so-called “sophomore slump”.
What might be a little worrying is that Kubalik had a career year in 2019-2020. He’s never scored 30 goals before, although he put up more points with Ambri-Piotta last year than he did with Chicago, so who knows? If he can manage to keep up the pace of his point production, then Chicago will have a great offensive threat for two more seasons, and at an affordable price.
It’s probably not realistic to think that Kubalik can maintain the scoring pace he kept up last year, but if he’s good for 40-50 points, then Chicago should be happy with his offensive contributions.
He’ll need to rely on his pro experience to guide him through his second year in the NHL, but there’s no reason to believe he’ll be negatively impacted. At 25-years-old, he’s got a fair amount of experience under his belt and should be capable of moving past any jitters a younger player might have.