5 players I'm excited to see in the 2021-22 season
One of my favourite exercises this time of year is trying to get a head start on figuring out which young players are primed to take a leap in performance in the coming season. Whether it's organically due to their own development, or thanks to a change in circumstances that clears the path for them to play in a more appetizing role, there are different ways of getting there.
What we're ideally looking for is a well-timed overlap of the two, with talent and opportunity intersecting with one another. That's when you get the best results and the most satisfying breakout campaigns. While it's hardly an exact science, there are benchmarks that most players share as they go supernova.
We're looking for players that a) have performed well on a per-minute basis thus far whenever they've been given ice-time, and b) possess some kind of transferable skills that they'll be able to use effectively moving forward. There needs to be some kind of underlying performance indicators there to suggest that the ability is present and that they're just waiting for the right role to come along to fully unleash it.
There's a bunch of names that match that criteria right now, and some of them are the obvious trendy ones you've already got on your radar. Everyone reading this knows all about Jack Hughes, Trevor Zegras, Cole Caufield, and what they're capable of with the puck. Even someone like Jared McCann has become universally appreciated as a player to keep an eye on this season, as the top centre on the league's newest team.
Instead of regurgitating those same names again, I wanted to highlight some other players that I'm excited about going into this season. I'll be watching them closely starting next week, not only because they're talented, but because they look like good bets to keep improving their production if used correctly.
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