Potential Stars in the

The rule changes to the NHL will largely benefit some of the faster, more agile players.

by Bardia Sinaee

Update on HTR Season Preview: We’re behind schedule, though not much to worry about as I am positive it will be released in time.

I know many of you sent applications, and the number was overwhelming. So, after selecting some writers there are still a number of positions left and I am willing to re-take applications.

Team positions available: New Jersey, Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, Buffalo, Carolina, Washington, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Anaheim. Any questions PM me, thank you, Micki Peroni.Many new rules will change the face of the game and will surely make speed a much more important attribute. No red line, the goalies can’t play the puck behind the net so the fastest player on the ice will get it, and coaches will want that fast player. I have compiled a list of potential stars and superstars that may flourish with the new rules. Here is the rating system:

1 – May flourish (40-50%) if everything goes right, this player needs a lot of hard to work and a long way to go so it’s risky.

2 – Will probably become a star player (60%), will still have to work for it so there is still a chance of being an NHL bust.

3 – Consistency is the only thing needed to be a star (70%), extra work not needed – just stay on track – unless something goes wrong, he will be a star.

4 – Everything is in place for stardom (85%), tons of potential and plenty of talent. Just need to stay away from serious injuries and he’ll be a star.

5 – This kid has so much potential they already got someone protecting him, (95%), the only thing stopping this kid from superstardom is the possibility of a string of serious injuries (see: Lindros)

A – 25-30 goals per season (usually) – 20-25 pts for D – Comparison: Mariusz Czercawski

B – 30-35 goals per season (usually) – 30-35 pts for D – Comparison: Alexei Kovalev

C – 35-45 goals per season (usually) – 35-35 pts for D – Comparison: Milan Hejduk

D – 45-55 goals per season (usually) – 45-55 pts for D – Comparison: Steve Yzerman (in early ’90s) or Niklas Lidstrom for D

E – Scores around or over 60 goals most seasons. – 60+ pts for D – Comparison: Mario Lemieux (mid ’80s to mid ’90s)

Players with * have yet to play play an NHL game. List is in no particular order: (Best possible is 5E – worst is 1A)

TB – Nikita Alexeev – 2B – Blazing speed and decent size; just needs to get back on track and get good minutes.

TB – Ruslan Fedotenko – 3A – Already scoring above average, all he needs is to grow consistently the way he has been doing.

LA – Alexander Frolov – 4C – Proved he can score like a top 6 player last season, he’s young and fast and has all the tools.

WAS – *Alexander Ovechkin – 5D – Has the speed, size and talent, and the new NHL gives him yet another edge.

WAS – *Alexander Semin – 4D – “Such good hands it’s scary” along with speed/agility, overshadowed by Ovechkin (both LW).

BUF – Maxim Afinogenov – 3B – Already a proven scorer, needs better linemates and consistency and that’s it.

TOR – Karel Pilar – 1B – A replica of Tom Poti, he has the size and speed to score 35+ points, but he needs the minutes.

NY – Jamie Lundmark – 2A – Will never reach initial expectations, but he has the skills to be a top 6 guy.

NY – Ville Neiminen – 1A – Has great talent and endurance, just needs consistency, new NHL should benefit him.

CLB – Rostislav Klesla – 4D – Both offensive and defensive, fast, big, if he gets to play alongside Foote, expect a lot.

CLB – Nikolai Zherdev – 4C – Very fast and talented European, playing with Nash and eventually Brule will make this kid a star.

DET – Niklas Kronwall – 4D – Like a young fast Lidstrom, scores a lot, but he barely weighs 180, weight aside, he’s a likely star.

NAS – Adam Hall – 1A – Has the speed/talent to be a top 6 guy, but he needs to be more consistent with his play.

NAS – Marek Zidlicky – 4D – A D-man who already passed the 50 pt mark, is quick and will score even more with the new rules.

UFA – Vladimir Orszagh – 2A – Small and fast, high scoring but he needs good minutes to pass 50 pts, lot of potential.

COL – *Wojtek Wolski – 4C – Talented fast European, the faster NHL could make him Colorado’s next Hejduk.

EDM – Ales Hemsky – 3C – More of a passer, but still very fast and talented, on the right track, just needs to work hard.

VAN – Ryan Kesler – 4C – A lot like Bertuzzi, power forwards this young are a rarity, probable top line power forward like Todd.

VAN – Daniel/Henrik Sedin – 4B – These guys had great seasons but are aging, now is their time for stardom, very talented.

CHI – Tuomo Ruutu – 4D – Often overlooked, very fast/talented in every area, could be huge with Bell and Arnason.

PHX – Ladislav Ngy – 3B – Already had a breakout season, but the new NHL can increase this speedster’s potential even more.

SJ – Nils Ekman – 3A – A proven scorer, new rules will help him, just needs to be consistent after a great season in ’04.

SJ – Alexander Korolyuk – 3C – Talent was shown last season, new rules would’ve helped him, but he signed to play in Europe.

SJ – Jonathan Cheechoo – 4D – A speedy, natural scorer, this kid can only improve, expect a ton of scoring from him.

NJ – *Zach Parise – 4C – Another flash of brilliance by the Devils’ drafting, Zach will largely benefit from the new rules.

There’s my list, please keep in mind that there are outer obstacles that may affect these players’ careers:

examples: Afinogenov could’ve already been a star, but was pushed back by Miro Satan who played the same position

Alexander Semin has all the tools to be a first line star, but Ovechkin playing LW will overshadow Semin and almost definitely prevent him from being a first liner (in Washington at least).

Karel Pilar can developed into a top 4 offensive d-man, but the Leafs management’s constant acquisitions prevent Pilar from getting the minutes he needs.

As always, I’m open to all suggestions, comments, and additions, email me at: bardia.sinaee@gmail.com