Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL Preview: Five Players Poised to Have a Breakout Season in 2017-18

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NHL Preview: Five Players Poised to Have a Breakout Season in 2017-18

Article excerpt

Five players poised to breakout in 2017-18

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TORONTO - Every year a few NHL players enter training camp with high expectations for a breakthrough season. Here are five players who could step up their game in 2017-18:

1. Sven Andrighetto, Colorado. 2016-17 stats: 46 games, seven goals, 17 assists, 24 points

Andrighetto bounced between Montreal and the minors over the past three seasons, unable to stick with the big club before finally being dealt to Colorado at last year's trade deadline. The 24-year-old Swiss forward has a chance for more ice time and an increased role on the rebuilding Avalanche, and could be a major contributor to the team offensively. In 83 games with the Canadiens, Andrighetto produced just 11 goals and 33 points, but scored five goals and 16 points in just 19 games with the Avs after the trade. He also contributed 18 goals and 45 points in his final 44 games with AHL St. John's.

2. Jonathan Drouin, Montreal. 2016-17 stats: 73 games, 21 goals, 32 assists, 53 points

After requesting a trade out of Tampa Bay two years ago, Drouin finally got his wish this off-season when Montreal acquired him. Naturally a winger, the 22-year-old has been given a chance to crack Montreal's lineup as top-line centre, a position general manager Marc Bergevin has been attempting to fill for years. The Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., native spent the summer working out with Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty, who may end up being his left-winger and favourite target to set up on the power play. Drouin elevated his game last season, and still has room to grow.

3. Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh. 2016-17 stats: 40 games, 16 goals, 17 assists, 33 points

Guentzel was called up from the AHL last season in the middle of the year when injuries struck Pittsburgh and played well enough not to be sent back down, eventually becoming the leading post-season scorer with 13 goals en route to a Stanley Cup for the Penguins. …

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