GDHQNHL15_f-Hidden Gems 5

Colorado Avalanche Gameday HQ

NEW YORK RANGERS CHRIS KREIDER, Left Wing Kreider wasn’t such a secret superstar as he broke out during the Rangers’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals. 2013-14 was a breakout season for Kreider as he scored 37 points and established himself as a big, physical presence good at taking the puck away from opponents. OTTAWA SENATORS MIKA ZIBANEJAD, Center Zibanejad got a bad rap last year as a player who underachieved, but his level of performance was better than he got credit for. He was a good puck possession player with goal scoring abilities and should continue to improve at the young age of 21. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS MICHAEL RAFFL, Left Wing Raffl didn’t even make the opening day roster on the Flyers last year, but he was very good when he got a chance to play. Raffl isn’t a prolific scorer but plays a very physical style and is good at clearing the way for teammates to attack the net. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS Chris Kunitz, Left Wing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin get most of the headlines in Pittsburgh, and rightfully so. However, Kunitz had a career year on the Penguins last year, scoring 68 points and playing well on both ends of the ice. SAN JOSE SHARKS MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC, Defensemen Vlasic is one of the better defensive defensemen in the league. He is consistently able to shut down star forwards and anchors the San Jose penalty kill. Vlasic doesn’t receive much attention but he is quietly one of the most valuable players on the Sharks. ST. LOUIS BLUES VLADIMIR TARASENKO, Right Wing Tarasenko stepped up in a big way in his second season, scoring 21 goals and 22 assists while leading the Blues in relative Corsi, an indicator that Tarasenko was excellent in puck possession as well. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING NIKITA KUCHEROV, Right Wing Kucherov played in just 52 games last season as a 20-year-old, but was very effective as he scored 18 points, earned a +3 rating, and was one of the team’s best at winning possession of the puck. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS JAKE GARDINER, Defensemen Gardiner is a young defenseman who has shown a lot of promise on offense, scoring 31 points last year and becoming a serious power play threat. Gardiner is also great at puck possession, a skill sorely needed on a struggling Maple Leafs team. VANCOUVER CANUCKS DAN HAMHUIS, Defensemen On a team full of players who underachieved last year, Hamhuis was a constant source of reliability. Hamhuis is an excellent defender who regularly competes against the opponent’s top line and on the penalty kill as well. WASHINGTON CAPITALS DMITRY ORLOV, Defensemen Orlov isn’t much of a scorer. He only had 3 goals and 8 assists in 54 games played last year. What he provides for the Capitals is a defenseman who is solid on the penalty kill and excellent in puck possession. Orlov is a good complement in a pairing with scoring defenseman Mike Green. WINNIPEG JETS MICHAEL FROLIK, Right Wing Frolik is never his team’s leading scorer, but brought a championship pedigree with him when he arrived in Winnipeg from Chicago. Frolik is solid at just about everything—scoring, puck possession, special teams, and he almost never has penalties called against him. DAN HAMHUIS


Colorado Avalanche Gameday HQ
To see the actual publication please follow the link above