Pick one rookie and one returning player. Feel free to explain why, add point total predictions, etc.
I'm most excited to see Spezza. Once again, this year left us hoping that for once, he might be able to put together a complete season in 2011-2012. If he picks up where he left off, the league is in for a big surprise. Meet Jason Spezza 2.0.
As far as rookies go, I'd have to go with Bob Butler. He put up a very good point pace this season and was learning all the while. He's a streaky goal scorer, but when he's hot, the puck just seems to do his bidding. He'll have to play like a top-six forward next year if he wants to stick with the big club.
Honourable mentions to Da Costa and Erik Karlsson.
It'll be nice to see what Anderson can do. Hopefully he provides stability for the young guys.
Butler to me is the real deal. This kid is a natural goal scorer and he gels amazingly with Spezza.
UFA-Spezza-Butler would rip shart I think. He needs to get stronger but I'd much rather a player need to get stronger than say smarter
Definitely looking forward to seeing Rundblad and Cowen. Also looking forward to seeing Spezza next season as I think he ended this one on a high note. If he can stay healthy, then I think he'll have his best season yet. (As far as having more responsibility and not relying on allstar wingers.)
Returning player - Spezza, I want to see if he can produce at the same high end level over a 82 game regular season. Heres hoping he stays healthy and rips up the league. It will also be interesting to see if Alfies back how Spezza will continue to be a leader on and off the ice.
Rookie - Butler, he seems to have a nack for the net and is always in the right position. When he was called up for 9 games the first time he seem to have the jitters and not bury his chances. After his second call up he had chemistry with Spezza and ended the year with 10 goals, I want to see him over an 82 game season. And for people calling his a streaky scorer, name me on player that isn't an elite superstar that isn't a streaky scorer. Heck even with the year Stamkos had you can call him "streaky". Bobby will ajust and find consistency because hes a natural scorer, I wouldnt worry too much.
Other - Im excited for whoever is taking over the coaching position. We all want an experienced bench boss who can connect with the players and that'll be one position ill be the most excited to see how it turns out.
Cowen and... Strome I guess? Rundblad Spezza and Regin are guys I'll be looking at closely, just because they can all have huge seasons. Karlsson obviously will be exciting to see again but I'm pretty confident in saying he'll get 45-55 points. Also, the Gonch. I wanna see how sick he can be with a coach who knows how to use him. I still think Gonchar can be easily our best DMan next year
while i choose karlsson cause i have a man crush and id like to see him push for 50 or 60 points, i was conflicted between choosing him and rundblad. but i have a feeling rundblad will have a stint in bingo to get use to the NA game.
while, one thing i found interesting and we should keep our eye out for is nick foligno. after having a torrid preseason, he didnt bring it over into the regular season. then while at the philly-ottawa game on the 5th, they had an interview with foligno where he said he turned down a chance to play for the states in the world championships because he felt that it was his duty to go and train so he can get better for the sens. to turn down your country in order to train for your team shows a lot about his commitment to this team and i truly believe he will surprise many next season.