All Rink Zone Point Projections are for the 2014-2015 NHL season
1. Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning, 19
RZ Point Projection: 24 G/35A/59 P
Drouin may or may not crack the lineup next year for the Lightning but our expectations are that he will be given a chance and a pretty good one. If he doesn’t make the team then you can expect him to rack up points in the AHL like he did for the Mooseheads. After watching his old teammate’s success this past season, Nathan MacKinnon on the Avs, we think this Quebec kid will not be bad himself.
2. Ryan Strome, New York Islanders, 21
RZ Point Projection: 20 G/35 A/55 P
He was the top scorer on the Tigers’ AHL Lineup despite only playing 37 games. Ryan is an excellent playmaker and has exceptional Hockey IQ. If it wasn’t for him playing 37 games for the Islanders last year, we would have projected him as the top Calder candidate with Jonathan Drouin.
3. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers, 18
RZ Point Projection: 15 G/30A/45 P
He was one of the bright spots in a not so bright year for the Panthers. He averaged nearly half a point a game last year in the NHL, and he should be able to increase that total especially with the new help coming from the back end, Aaron Ekblad.
4. Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks, 20
RZ Point Projection: 30 G/35 A/65 P
Hertl started off on a terrific pace at the beginning of the year, there were some flashes of Ovechkin in him after scoring 4 goals in his third NHL game, however he ran into some injury trouble and slowed down during the rest of the year. Withholding any injuries, he should be able to put up 30 goals next years. No pressure.
5. Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets, 20
RZ Point Projection: 10 G/28 A/38 P
There is uncertainty in the Blue Jackets GM office about whether Ryan Johansen will be back and that could play a huge role in Murray’s point production. He plays a defensively sound game but can bring that extra offensive punch that the Jackets badly need.
6. Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs, 20
RZ Point Projection: 8 G/32/40 P
Rielly is a swift skater and will have a bigger role this year, especially with the uncertainty of Franson being part of the team. The Leafs have high hopes for this kid and he should be able to get a boost in his point production with a team that has Kessel, JVR and Kadri.
7. Chris Kreider, New York Rangers, 23
RZ Point Projection: 23 G/26 A/49 P
Kreider was one of Rangers main offensive threats in this years playoff, amassing 13 points in 15 games. He had a decent rookie season with 37 points in 66 games. Him, Stepan and McDonagh, three American born players, are the new faces of the franchise for years to come and all three of them should have a big year in this upcoming season.
If you think there is a player we missed to look out for, put it in the comments below, we know there are at least a few gems in the NHL!