You guys know the drill by now. I provide some players, you provide your predictions for their goals, and assists, assuming they don't get traded and play all 82 games. Today, we'll be turning our attention to some of the brightest young stars in hockey, and forecast them through what should be periods of high growth.
As a fan, especially as a fan of a rebuilding team, there's very little more exciting than when a young player on your favourite team takes the step. It's something we all hope Morgan Rielly does this year, and that Mitch Marner and William Nylander do in the future.
But obviously, predicting when it happens (if it happens at all) isn't always easy. Sometimes, players shine out of nowhere, and sometimes they bust out of nowhere. Which is what makes prognosticating this sort of player so fun, and so rewarding. So without further ado, lets introduce the next batch of players for you to evaluate.
Connor McDavid - C - Edmonton Oilers
I doubt anyone here needs much of an introduction to Connor McDavid. The leagues most recent #1 overall pick comes into the league with a pedigree and resume unmatched by anyone since Sidney Crosby.
He'll be expected to carry the load in Edmonton, even early on - especially if Jordan Eberle misses significant time. With the stable of top-end forward talent Edmonton is stacking up, you have to imagine that they'll put up goals on sheer star power. But then again, we've been saying that for a while, haven't we.
Jack Eichel - C - Buffalo Sabres
Like he has in so many recent endeavours, Jack Eichel slots in right behind McDavid. That being said, there's a non-negligible chance that Eichel turns out to be just as good as the Canadian, and perhaps better. Like Edmonton, Buffalo has some seriously good players in their top 6, but there's questions surrounding them. A team as bad as Buffalo was last year doesn't turn it around completely in one off-season, even one as prolific as the one they just had. But they'll be competitive, and Eichel will be given a chance to shine with good linemates and PP time.
Aleksander Barkov - C - Florida Panthers
Aleksander Barkov is my favourite young player in the league. Tucked away in Florida, he's never really gotten his due as one of the leagues brightest stars, but in my opinion, that's exactly what he is. He put together a season in his age 19 year where he was scoring at a second line rate and was a positive possession player on a pretty decent team. The kid is an absolute stud, and he's only going to get better on a young Florida team that has some excellent top-end talent, mixed with some golden oldies in Brian Campbell and Jaromir Jagr.
Bo Horvat - C - Vancouver Canucks
Considered by some to be a reach when Vancouver picked him at #10 overall in 2013, Bo Horvat was under a lot of pressure. Not only was he a high draft pick for a team that historically sucks at drafting, but he bears the burden of being the only asset the Canucks received for trading one of the best goaltenders in the game (Cory Schneider).
For the time being, he seems to have quieted the critics, with a rookie season that displayed more offensive upside than most expected. But it remains to be seen whether that season displayed his true talent, or was a puck-luck fuelled run at the best possible time.
Matt Dumba - D - Minnesota Wild
As one of the many excellent defensemen taken early in the 2012 NHL Draft, Matt Dumba has somewhat flown under the radar when people discuss the best young defensemen in the game. Nonetheless, he had a very solid season for a very solid team in Minnesota, who will be needing him to take a leap forward if they're going to break through the West.
As always, leave your predictions in the comments, as well as the form linked below.