Last season in the NHL we saw players like Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Mike Green, Patrick Kane, Niklas Backstrom and others emerge as part of the next wave of NHL stars by having great seasons and showing great future potential. Now It’s time to take a look at 10 players for this coming season who could be on the verge of having big breakout years all while really starting to turn heads and emerge with that next wave of great talent.
(D) Brent Burns – Minnesota Wild
Career Stats: GP 267, Goals 27, Assists 63, Points 90, +/- +11
Career Potential – Top pairing defenseman, power play specialist
Burns is a great skater who is mostly offensive minded. He had a semi breakout year last season, but look for him to really start racking up the points on a yearly basis, even though he plays on a defensive minded team.
(C) Sam Gagner – Edmonton Oilers
Career Stats: GP 79, Goals 13, Assists 36, Points 49, +/- -21
Career Potential – 1st line playmaking center
Gagner is still very young and just coming off his solid rookie campaign last season. Gagner is already considered to be a major part of Edmonton’s success this year, (and forward) if they have any in which most are predicting they will . Gagner has a bag of tricks, and he is extremely unpredictable.
(LW) Andrei Kostitsyn – Montreal Canadiens
Career Stats: GP 112, Goals 29, Assists 38, Points 67, +/- +19
Career Potential – 1st line goal scoring winger
Kostitsyn possesses a goal scorers touch and he is a great skater. sky is the limit for a kid with so much potential on a team who knows nothing but offense.
(D) Braydon Coburn – Philadelphia Flyers
Career Stats: GP 136, Goals 12, Assists 36, Points 48, +/- +14
Career Potential – Franchise defenseman
Coburn can shut you down with his awareness and size, and he is a great puck moving d-man. Every franchise yearns for a d-man molded to be like Braydon Coburn.
(D) Ryan Suter – Nashville Predators
Career Stats: GP 229, Goals 16, Assists 55, Points 71, +/- +20
Career Potential – #1 defenseman, power play quarterback
Suter is another guy who can pretty much do it all, and he will only get better. He will soon be looked at as Nashville’s franchise defenseman if not already.
(C) Mikko Koivu – Minnesota Wild
Career Stats: GP 203, Goals 37, Assists 80, Points 117, +/- +13
Career Potential – 1st line/2nd line two way centerman
I said last year Koivu was gonna breakout. Because of his injury filled season, he could not fulfill that, but he was on pace for a 60 point season. A somewhat late bloomer, but if he can stay healthy, expect near a ppg.
(C) Patrick O’Sullivan – Los Angeles Kings
Career Stats: GP 126, Goals 27, Assists 45, Points 72, +/- -14
Career Potential – 1st line/2nd line center
I may be calling a year too early on this one, but I truly feel O’Sullivan is ready for that next big step, especially because I payed attention to how well he played in the latter half of last season (he was on my fantasy team).
(C) Peter Mueller – Phoenix Coyotes
Career Stats: GP 81, Goals 22, Assists 32, Points 54, +/- -13
Career Potential – 1st line goal scoring centerman
I would have never guessed I’d be saying Peter Mueller to be emerging as a star so early. Peter was so dominant, though in his rookie year and he will only be playing with better players this season.
(RW) Corey Perry – Anaheim Ducks
Career Stats: GP 208, Goals 59, Assists 64, Points 123, +/- +25
Career Potential – 1st line power forward
Corey is your prototypical NHL power forward. He’s a big boy, He can score from anywhere and he will get dirty. He just needs to stay healthy compared to last season where he was on a 40+ goal pace.
(G) Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
Career Stats: GP 41, Wins 24, Sv% .920, GAA 2.56, SO 3
Career Potential – Hall of fame goalie
Price is coming of an amazing regular season, but sub par playoff outing in which he will only get better through experience. Playing on one of the best teams this season, baring any injuries Price should emerge as one of the top 5 goalies in the game.
Close Calls: Steven Stamkos, Phil Kessel, Drew Stafford, Jeff Carter, Stephen Weiss and others.