One of the most fun things during the course of a regular season is watching players who break out of nowhere and seeing how far they can go production-wise. Here’s my predictions for who those players could be this season.
I already had Alexis Lafreniere’s breakout season documented on my bold predictions article the other day, but I can’t not include him in this one.
Lafreniere has been given his short end of the stick since joining the NHL, mainly due to the fact that he emerged into a playoff-caliber team immediately and not a rebuilder where he’d have more opportunities.
However, after the way he played in the postseason, I’m ready to say Lafreniere will get consistent top-six and power play time and be a key factor in the New York Rangers’ offensive plans.
As I said in the other article, I’m going with 65+ points this season for Laf.
Byfield was the second overall pick in 2020… behind Alexis Lafreniere.
I feel like he has also been given an unfair chance thus far in Los Angeles under head coach Todd McLellan, who has stuck him in the bottom-six and surrounded him with depth players on his wings rather than giving him some good NHL talent to work with. He also hasn’t gotten opportunities on the power play, which makes no sense considering how bad the Kings’ power play was this year.
However, I’m predicting Byfield to get more opportunities right out of the gate this season, whether that means switching him to the wing to move him into the top-six or just giving him consistent power play time, whatever. He will get an opportunity to shine under the bright lights in California this year.
I’d say a 45-50 point season is achievable for Byfield this year.
Alex Newhook is ready to have a massive, massive season with the Avalanche.
The Avalanche have lost Nazem Kadri, and Newhook is right there ready to slot into the top-six of the defending Stanley Cup champions, he is being set up to have a 55+ point season easily.
We’ve all watched Newhook, it’s hard not to notice his talent when he’s on the ice as he is such a skilled player, and he’s only 21-years old, which means he’s going to continue to get better.
In the end, it hurt to lose Kadri, but it was the right decision to let him walk as you have a much cheaper option in Newhook, who I can promise you will have an amazing year in Denver.
People who followed the 2019 draft closely will remember that Peyton Krebs was set to be a top-10, maybe top-5 pick in his class prior to his injury that had him miss months of action, so he ended up falling to 17th overall to Las Vegas.
Well now he’s in Buffalo in the middle of a massive culture shift for the franchise, and if he gets his fair looks like he should, he is going to go off for 50+ points in my opinion.
Krebs went over point-per-game in the AHL last season, indicating that he is too good to be playing in the minors. With Buffalo, he had 22 in 48 at just 21 years old, and that was as he was trying to learn a new system in the middle of the season.
Trust me, things are changing in Buffalo for the better, and Krebs is going to be a massive part of that. He was a very underrated piece to that Jack Eichel trade.
Get ready for Oliver Wahlstrom to shatter his career highs this season.
He seemed like he could never really get along with former Islanders coach Barry Trotz, as he was never given the opportunity to flourish in that system despite the fact that he oozes offensive skill. Now, under new coaching, he’ll hopefully get an opportunity to shine on Long Island.
Wahlstrom possesses a great shot, one of the better on the Islanders, so I’d expect him to get consistent top-six minutes along with a prominent role on the power play.
I’m going with 25+ goals, 50+ points for Wahlstrom this year.