What player is due for a breakout season in the East?
By: The NHL Nosebleed Team
Peter Bolt - Nolan Patrick (Philadelphia Flyers)
Nolan Patrick really started to put his game together during the second half of last season. Patrick recorded 30 points last season, 19 of which came from February 2nd on. I think the addition of James van Riemsdyk (assuming they are going to play on the same line) will benefit Patrick greatly. Don’t be shocked if Patrick gets 55-65 points this season.
Chris Yackel- Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
The former 2nd overall pick in the 2015 draft has had a great career thus far based on individual play. In 209 games Eichel has amassed 177 points. Not bad at all. Eichel however has missed time the past two seasons and has yet to completely break out and lead the Sabres. This is the year I think Eichel truly cements himself amongst the NHL’s elite. With the addition of Jeff Skinner, I think the Sabres can improve immensely. I think Skinner would be a great fit on Eichel’s line as both players will benefit greatly from each other.
Colin Noonan - Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia Flyers)
If I asked who was involved in the 3-way tie for leading goal scorers, a lot of folks would have gotten ⅓ of it in Victor Hedman. I’m sure western Canada would be able to answer the second ⅓ and tell us Dougie Hamilton. But I don’t think a defenseman has been as quietly lethal in the offensive end as Ivan Provorov was last year. After last year’s showing he’s certain to get more minutes, especially on the power play, and when that happens the points will really pile up. Don’t be shocked if this year is Provorov’s elite, front-end D coming out party.
Jack Fenty- Brady Skjei (New York Rangers)
Entering his third year as a New York Ranger, Brady Skjei steps into a huge role and responsibility. With the departure of previous captain Ryan McDonagh being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Skjei now presumably steps into the number one defenseman spot on the Rangers. Skjei had an amazing rookie season with 5 goals and 34 assists, the more impressive statistic was his +/-, totaling a +11. On the other hand, his second season was not what Ranger fans wanted to see, Skjei’s statistics had regressed. In 82 games he had 4 goals, 21 assists, and a +/- of -27. Now, not all the blame can be placed on Skjei’s play, the Rangers had one of their worst seasons in recent memory and that definitely contributed to his poor +/-. With Skjei now being 24 years old and being on the top pair on D and on the power play, I expect a huge season for him. I will go as far to say he will be regarded as one of the most talented defensemen in the league at the end of this season.
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