Projection: 65 points in 75 games
There's little doubt that JD won't make an impact on the Bolts this season. After the departure of Martin St. Louis, as well as the lack of left wing depth, it is likely Drouin puts up big numbers in a top 6 role. Given a chance to play alongside Stamkos for an extended period of time it's possible Drouin is a ppg player in his rookie campaign.
2. John Gibson - Anaheim
Projection: .920 SV% 2.20 GAA
After a strong showing through his first 3 NHL games, the expectations for the young net minder have gone through the roof. Going into the season with two rather unproven goaltenders, the Ducks need Gibson to steal the show. Though the crease isn't necessarily his, he will have the chance to prove that he is the clear cut number 1.
3. Evgeny Kuznetsov - Washington
Projection: 60 points in 72 games
Everyone knows Evgeny is a skilled player, but no one is too sure of what he'll bring to the NHL. There's a need for a second line center, and most Caps fans are banking on Kuznetsov as the solution. Look for him to struggle early in a defence first system, however if he finds his scoring touch and chemistry with his wingers, the struggle will be short lived.
4. Sam Reinhart - Buffalo
Projection: 45 points in 82 games
Though Sam is an offensive machine, his offensive numbers will be limited in Buffalo. Don't get me wrong, a 45 point rookie campaign is quite good, but he could do better playing on a stronger team. Sam is an all scenario type player who might be at risk of playing sheltered minutes due to Buffalo's history with rookies. However, if the Sabres FA signings pay off and they are an improved team, Reinhart could be a 60 point guy.
5. Jake Allen - St. Louis
Projection: .915 SV% 2.20 GAA
The second goalie to keep an eye on this season, Allen could be a difference maker for the Blues. There's less question marks around the number 1 goalie in that Brian Elliot is going to get the chance to run with the job. Allen is going to have to earn everything he gets, but when he's given the chance watch for him to run with it.
6. Aaron Ekblad - Florida
Projection: 20 points in 75 games
The first overall pick will have a good chance to take over the #1 RD spot in Florida this season. With only Gudbranson and Petrovic on that right side, Ekblad has the ability to show his strong two way play and earn a spot alongside Brian Campbell. Though it's unlikely that a rookie defenceman would play more than 20 minutes a night, the Panthers don't have many better options
7. Leon Draisaitl - Edmonton
Projection: 40 points in 80 games
Much like Ekblad in Florida, the Oilers might be in a similar position with Draisaitl and the #2 center spot. With Arcobello, Gordon, and Lander the only other options, Draisaitl is likely to crack the lineup this year. There's a good amount of scoring wingers in Oil Country so Leon's skill set should compliment the team nicely. He could range anywhere from 30-60 points.
8. Teuvo Teravainen - Chicago
Projection: 35 points in 50 games (NHL), 60 points in 60 games (AHL)
The skilled Fin should be able to make the jump to the NHL, there's just not real spot for him. The top 6 is already composed, and Teuvo would have to beat out Richards to crack the top 6. He could crack the 3rd line, however his development would db best served in the AHL with limited NHL time. That being said, I would not be surprised if he has a strong camp, cracks the squad, and makes me look like a fool.
9. Griffin Reinhart - New York
Projection: 10 points in 50 games
After an outstanding junior career, Reinhart's jump to the NHL will likely be a lengthy process. He plays a strong two way game, however he is stronger defensively. His problem won't be playing in the NHL, it will be finding his role on the Isles blue line. If he does find a niche, he could be a serviceable 15-20 year NHL defenceman.
10. Filip Forsberg - Nashville
Projection: 40 points in 70 games
There's a sense of cautious optimism around the Preds, and Forsberg is a big reason for that. With the lack of scoring forwards in the lineup, Preds fans are itching for a true 1st line scorer, something Forsberg hopes to become. With the back end solidified, the Preds need guys like Forsberg, Jarnkrok, and Neal to carry the load offensively.
- Max Domi
- Calle Jarnkrok
- Johnny Gaudreau
- Curtis Lazar
- Kevin Hayes
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