NHL Handicapping Tips - New Rookies to Watch in 2014-2015
NHL Handicapping requires that you be aware of the new players entering the league. This year is no exception, so I have created this article to help my fellow NHL Handicappers.
Every year, the NHL rewards the best rookie in the league with the Calder Trophy – A prized award suggestive of future success. An early career gift from the all-powerful hockey gods.
The young man who wins award will join an elite club featuring some of the greatest to every play the game, including: Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Mario Lemieux and Martin Brodeur.
So who will win the Calder Trophy this year?—Probably someone from this list…
15. Sam Bennett – C – Calgary Flames
a. Smooth stick -work and a high-octane shot made Bennett the fourth-overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. It’s something of a miracle the forward was still on the board when Calgary’s number was called – The NHL’s Draft Bureau ranked him as the top North American prospect, ahead of first-overall pick Aaron Ekblad. So this year be sure to keep an eye on these teams and their new young talent. This time of year is absolutely fundamental to your overall season success in NHL Handicapping. Get your early season NHL predictions right and you will be off to the races.
14. Kevin Hayes – RW – New York Rangers
a. During his first three years at Boston College, Kevin Hayes pretty much dinked around on the ice. It wasn’t until his senior season when he realized he was actually pretty good at hockey, netting 28 goals and earning 39 assists in just 39 games. The Rangers are hoping some of that college magic carries over into his first NHL season.
13. Anthony Mantha – RW — Detroit Red Wings
a. Tony Mantha has two distinct skills that make him a likely addition to the Red Wings’ roster: goal scoring and more goal scoring. During his last two seasons in Juniors he slapped in 107 goals in just 124 games. Sounds like an NHL-ready talent to me.
12. William Nylander – C —Toronto Maple Leafs
a. He may look like he’s about 12 – he’s 18 in case you were wondering – but Nylander has the natural skill-set one would expect in a first-round pick. Oh yeah, he has NHL pedigree too – his father is former-player Michael Nylander.
11. Anders Lee – C – New York Islanders
a. Lee spent time bouncing around last season between the AHL and the NHL, but didn’t spend enough time at the pro-level to chew up his rookie status. Heading into 2014-15, it looks like he could center either the second or third line for the Islanders, assuming he performs in the preseason.
10. Filip Forsberg – C – Nashville Predators
a. Before you ask, no, this young Swede is not related to former NHL-great Peter Forsberg. But he is a former first round pick from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. If Filip can tap into the power of the Forsberg legacy, he should do just fine in the pros.
9. Michael Hutchinson – G – Winnipeg Jets
a. Winnipeg is bad…Really bad. Sorry, Winnipeg. Taking that into account, coach Paul Maurice will likely be forced to make frequent roster and lineup changes which means Hutchinson, for better or for worse, could see a lot of ice time.
8. Antti Raanta – G – Chicago Blackhawks
a. Given the uncertainty of Hawks goalkeeper Corey Crawford, Raanta has a chance to take over the starting role for the Blackhawks, particularly if Crawford gets injured…which he will.
7. Mirco Mueller – D – San Jose Sharks
a. The 19 year-old Swiss blueliner is flying very much under the radar but has a real chance to make San Jose’s roster this season given their defensive unit is sorely in need of some younger legs. He plays an intelligent brand of hockey that could help him become a breakout player.
6. Evgeny Kuznetsov – C – Washington Capitals
a. One of the most exciting prospects of the 2014-15 season, fans are swooning over the potential of the 22 year-old Russian center. If he makes the Capitals roster, there’s a strong possibility he could end up a line with fellow countryman and future NHL Hall of Famer, Alexander Ovechkin.
5. Teuvo Teravainen – C – Chicago Blackhawks
a. The flighty Fin is one of the fastest skaters on the Blackhawks but he may not make the opening night roster due to the Hawks off-season acquisition of Brad Richards. Still, Teravainen’s offensive upside should make him a must-add come the midseason.
4. John Gibson – G – Anaheim Ducks
a. Gibson will likely start the season as a backup to Ducks goalies Frederik Andersen, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be the starter come the new year. With all-star net-minder Johnathan Quick between the pipes across town, Anaheim is anxious to turn the reigns over to their goalie of the future.
3. Aaron Ekblad – D – Florida Panthers
a. The first overall selection in the 2014 NHL entry draft, Aaron Ekbald is, quite simply, a freak of nature. Born in 1996—wow, that makes me feel old—the Panther rookie is just 18 years of age but absolutely poised to play with the big boys this season given his 6’3” 215 pound frame.
2. Johnny Gaudreau – LW – Calgary Flames
a. Though slight in stature – he’s only 5’7” – Johnny Gaudreau plays with elite skill and a ton of heart not unlike former Calgary Flames great, Theo Fleury. “Johnny Hockey”, as he’s commonly referred to, only played in one game in 2013-14 but that will increase significantly this season.
1. Jonathan Drouin – LW – Tampa Bay Lightning
a. The 19 year-old winger for the Tampa Bay Lightning spent all of last season crushing it in the CHL – He was named MVP of the league after carrying his team, the Halifax Mooseheads, to the Memorial Cup. Drouin will likely miss the start of the regular season with a fractured thumb, but should make an impact for the Lightning once he returns.
Pacific Division NHL Predictions
Author: Rob Holiday
My background is in business, consulting, finance and entrepreneurship