WHO IS THIS YEAR’S
POST-HYPE BREAKOUT Johansen, the fourth-overall pick in 2010, scored 14 goals in his first 107 games. In 2013-14, he exploded for 33 goals. A young gun set to go o this season is Alex Galchenyuk. He hasn’t been bad, tallying 58 points over his first two seasons, but he’s just scratching the surface of his ability, and he missed 17 games in 2013-14. He’s a future star, and a leap into the 60-point stratosphere is within reach.
OUT-OF-NOWHERE GOALIE SENSATION Varlamov wasn’t a nobody entering 2013-14, but he was struggling. Then Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy arrived to coach Colorado. ‘Varly’ was a changed man and a profitable late-round grab in pools. This year, Jake Allen will pay o similarly. He’s guaranteed a job and will post outstanding numbers with the stellar Blues defense in front of him.
RETURN TO GRACE Boston was silly to give up on Tyler Seguin. He was too talented to stay down after a poor year, and he was just 21. Dallas jumped at the chance to get him, and he finished fourth in league scoring. Watch for a bounce-back from Eric Staal. A 61-point campaign after eight straight seasons at a pace of 70 or more? Toss it out. He’s still just 29.
FROM STAR TO SUPERSTAR Subban’s Norris Trophy in 2012-13 was no fluke. He was a dominant force in 2013-14 and will be among the league’s top D-men for years to come. In just his second season, watch for Nathan MacKinnon to make a leap into the elite. Hyperbole? Not if you watched him in the 2014 playo s. He gains steam with the puck like a young Pavel Bure. In addition, MacKinnon has a great supporting cast in Colorado and could be a top-10 scorer as soon as this year.
FREE AGENT BOOM It’s a night-and-day change for Christian Ehrho going from Bu alo to Pittsburgh. He’ll inherit the departed Matt Niskanen’s minutes and should post his best numbers in years on a potent o ensive club.
FREE AGENT BUST The Panthers will pay Dave Bolland like a star at $5.5 million per, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s a viable fantasy commodity. He’s injury-prone and a better player in real life than in fantasy pools.
MAJOR GOALIE REGRESSION Anderson’s regression was primarily because of health, and Ben
Scrivens is a red flag because the Oilers are terrible defensively. He dazzled after they acquired him from the Kings, but his save percentage fell each month after his arrival: .940, .918, .904, .903.
CAGEY VET WHO FINALLY SHOWS HIS AGE There was nowhere for Whitney to go but down after he stayed around a point per game entering 2013-14, and his production was cut almost in half. Jaromir Jagr won’t regress that much, but a 67-point season was absurd at 42. Pay for that production and you’ll get burned.