Say what you’ll for his underlying numbers and a few terrible taking pictures luck, however statistically talking, William Nylander’s 2018-19 marketing campaign was forgettable. Certain, he was a half-point per sport participant, however contemporary off of a prolonged contract deadlock with the Toronto Maple Leafs that wasn’t rectified till the 59th minute of the eleventh hour, Nylander’s seven objectives and 27 factors merely weren’t as much as the requirements his six-year, $45-million pact had set.
And that’s what makes the 2019-20 marketing campaign such an essential one for Nylander. With a full coaching camp and a complete pre-season below his belt, the expectations had been excessive for Nylander and the strain has been on since Toronto’s most up-to-date first-round exit for the versatile 23-year-old winger to hit the bottom operating this season. Alas, hit the bottom operating he has. Although it’s been simply 4 video games, and although the season remains to be awfully younger, Nylander has already registered almost one-third of final season’s objective complete – he’s scored in back-to-back video games to provide him two tallies on the season – and his 4 factors have given him a pleasant head begin on replicating the form of manufacturing that the Maple Leafs devoted have come to anticipate.
In fact, Nylander has to show himself in additional than the opening week. He must proceed to shoulder a big load all through the season. And it’s one thing he appears to be like ready to do. Skating alongside Auston Matthews and Andreas Johnsson within the early going, Nylander has appeared fast, he’s appeared deadly and he’s appeared extra assured than he did within the late levels of final season.
What would the best season seem like for Nylander? Properly, it might most likely begin with one other 20-goal marketing campaign, which might be the third such season of his profession. Ideally, too, Nylander would handle to exceed his earlier career-best level complete. The 2-time 61-point participant has all of the instruments to make that potential, notably with a full season spent alongside Matthews, who remains to be scratching the floor of his ceiling. If he accomplishes one or each, Nylander will do his half to silence his critics and show, possibly as soon as and for all, that he’s as integral to the core as Matthews and Mitch Marner. That might go a great distance in quashing the commerce rumors that continued all through the latter months of final season and all through the summer season.
Nylander isn’t the one participant getting into this season with loads to show, nonetheless. Listed below are 4 others who’re dealing with appreciable strain this season:
Patrik Laine, Winnipeg JetsThe contract says all of it. After a drawn out negotiation, Laine and the Jets landed on a two-year, $13.5-million deal that has “show-me” written throughout it.
Although it’s virtually inarguable that his sport took strides final season, notably with out the puck, the largest factor for Laine, 21, at this level is proving that he can convey the form of game-in, game-out consistency that separates the true superstars from the big-time level producers. That’s precisely what he was missing final season, too. Sure, in what was thought-about a down 12 months, Laine nonetheless mustered 30 objectives and 50 factors, however, as has been echoed repeatedly, 18 of these objectives got here within the span of 1 month. There have been lengthy stretches the place Laine was held off the scoresheet and rendered ineffective by the opposition. And therein lies the problem.
If a motivated Laine can flip in one other 40-goal marketing campaign or crack the 50-goal plateau, which some have projected him to do since his sophomore season, he’ll be proper again on observe in Winnipeg.
Carter Hart, Philadelphia FlyersIt may not be truthful to Hart, who is barely nonetheless getting his ft moist within the NHL and has all of 32 profession big-league video games below his belt, however he’s been anointed the long run within the Flyers’ crease and a few are of the thoughts that the 21-year-old will put an finish to the goaltending carousel that has plagued Philadelphia for a few years. That’s plenty of strain to placed on a sophomore netminder, notably when he wasn’t speculated to be a full-timer within the NHL final season and didn’t turn into one till the second half of the marketing campaign.
The excellent news for Hart is that he’s insulated by what must be a reasonably sturdy protection corps and is enjoying below a training employees that’s primed to drive Philadelphia ahead. He additionally has the advantage of having a number of wonderful two-way forwards, together with Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux, in entrance of him for lengthy stretches throughout every outing. Sadly, that doesn’t assure success, and in a notoriously powerful market, Hart goes to wish to piece collectively a high quality marketing campaign to remain out of the highlight for all of the mistaken causes.
James Neal, Edmonton OilersMoney equals expectation, and Neal didn’t stay as much as his contract within the first season of a five-year, $28.75-million pact with the Flames. The outcome? He was shipped down the highway for Milan Lucic, who’s dealing with related strain to carry out with Calgary this season. However why Neal, 32, makes this lower right here and Lucic doesn’t is that the previous is predicted to make an affect offensively and switch in a efficiency extra akin to the 20-goal, 45-point participant he was upon his arrival in Alberta. The latter goes to be a bottom-six, crash-and-bang sort for the Flames. Large distinction.
Neal ought to profit from the chance to play alongside Connor McDavid, who may most likely flip your run-of-the-mill beer leaguer right into a 15-point participant within the NHL, and already the pairing has paid dividends on the facility play. In two video games, Neal has two objectives with the person benefit and McDavid registered assists on each. In a top-six that’s skinny on the wings – and we’re speaking skinny skinny – Neal could be an essential contributor. And if not, he’s a brand new albatross with which the Oilers should deal.
Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida PanthersThere are solely two goaltenders within the NHL with eight-figure cap hits. One is Carey Worth, who has been the spine of the Montreal Canadiens virtually from the second he stepped foot within the blue paint at Bell Centre. The opposite is Bobrovsky, 31, the Panthers’ big-ticket free-agent acquisition who has been tasked with bringing regular netminding to Florida in an effort to propel the Cats into perennial playoff competition.
The issue for Bobrovsky early is that he’s going to wish to regulate to new teammates and a brand new teaching employees early within the marketing campaign, and his early outcomes, granted towards a prolific Tampa Bay Lightning offense, have left one thing to be desired as he has allowed seven objectives on 64 pictures, good for an .891 save share via two video games. However regardless of ups and downs, Bobrovsky has been a Vezina Trophy contender in every of the previous three seasons, has two top-goaltender victories on his resume and led the league final season with 9 shutouts all of the whereas dealing with almost 30 pictures per hour of motion.
The Vezina-contending Bobrovsky is undoubtedly the goaltender the Panthers need to see on a close to nightly foundation this season, too, and his seven-year, $70-million pact implies that failure isn’t actually an possibility.
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Tags: winnipeg jets, lists, florida panthers, toronto maple leafs, philadelphia flyers, edmonton oilersConnect: In regards to the AuthorJared ClintonJared Clinton is a author and net editor with The Hockey Information. He is been with the crew since 2014. He was born, raised and resides in Winnipeg, the place he could be discovered lacking the online on outside rinks throughout city.