Well last year he showed some offensive skills when was in an offensive mindset, but between being the go to defensive center, not having good consistent linemates, and having to cover for small defenders that would jump up into play, he was very cautious and so didn't transition from defense to offense and didn't get nearly as many offensive zone starts.
This year he's been with Lando since training camp, has had McClement to take on many of the shutdown responsibilities, and has ahd a more responsible defense behind him. That combined with his continuing development lead to the breakout he's had this season.
Hasn't been nearly as good the last 3-4 games. Atleast we're still winning.
Which I think is in part because he's re-adjusting to the increased PK time since the McGinn trade and with us finally putting together a competent second line his line being less great looks even more dramatic because there actually is another line that's playing great.