Another wave of aspiring goal-scoring wingers is hitting the National Hockey League. Some come from the ranks of major junior hockey and others developed their skills in Europe or at U.S. colleges.
Some have put up numbers in the American Hockey League and some have enjoyed a good taste of NHL action.
Here are some young men to keep an eye on this season:
Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning: Imagine what this natural scorer could accomplish by earning some shifts with superstar Steven Stamkos and winger Martin St. Louis this season. Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, scored 105 points in 49 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. Lightning management believes he can play in the league as an 18-year-old.
Sven Baertschi, Calgary Flames: A hip flexor injury helped slow his charge to the NHL last season, when he scored 26 points in 32 games for the AHL Abbotsford Heat and 10 points in 20 games for the Flames. A late seven-game points streak for Calgary reminded fans that he has the skills to be an impact scorer. The Swiss-born Baertschi, 20, scored 179 points in 113 regular seasons during his last two seasons for Portland in the Western Hockey League.
Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets: The addition of scoring wingers Marian Gaborik and Nathan Horton should help him bust out on one of the top two lines. In his first 62 NHL games he produced 16 goals and 16 assists for a team with limited firepower. Atkinson, 25, scored 61 goals in 81 games during his last two seasons at Boston College. In two AHL seasons he has scored 82 points in 84 games.
Beau Bennett, Pittsburgh Penguins: With veterans Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Tyler Kennedy gone from last year’s team, he could step into a scoring line role. He scored 14 points with a plus-7 rating in 26 games last season. Bennett, 21, was the 20th overall pick in the 2010 draft. During his call-up he averaged 1:39 per game on the power play, earning more time than, say, Pascal Dupuis (who averaged 0:48).
Alex Chiasson, Dallas Stars: He scored 35 points in 57 AHL games last season, then burst onto the NHL scene by scoring six times in his first seven games. He hit it off with Ray Whitney and Jamie Benn immediately. The Stars will feature a new offensive mix this season under new coach Lindy Ruff, but Chiasson, 22, looks like a great fit for one of the top two lines.
Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings: Twice he reached the 50-goal plateau in the Ontario Hockey League. He was the AHL Rookie of the Year with 48 points in 55 games for Manchester. He added a bit of supplemental scoring (five points in 10 regular season games, six points in 12 playoff games) to LA’s postseason drive last season. Now he will compete for work in the Kings’ offensive Top 6.
Charlie Coyle, Minnesota Wild: He scored 14 goals in 47 games for Houston of the AHL, then moved up to the NHL and opportunity to play right wing with center Mikko Koivu and left wing Zach Parise. He scored eight goals and earned six assists in his first 37 NHL games. Coyle, 21, can use his size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) to work the walls as a winger or muscle up on opposing centers.
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators: Last season he broke out for 15 goals and 18 assists in 38 games for Leksands IF in the Swedish Elite League. That is notable production in that circuit, especially for an 18-year-old. But can he make the quick adjustment to North American Hockey? Forsberg got a taste last spring when he played five games for the Predators, earning one assist while suffering a minus-5 rating.
Chris Kreider, New York Rangers: By scoring seven points in 18 playoff games two years ago, he raised expectations for this rookie NHL season. But after scoring just 23 points in 48 games for the AHL’s Connecticut Whale, he scored just three points in 23 Rangers games. Kreider, 22, is still trying to translate his collegiate scoring skills (23 goals in 44 games at Boston College two years ago) to the pro game.
Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings: He shuttled between Grand Rapids of the AHL and Motown the last two seasons, scoring 13 points in his first 40 regular season NHL games. He produced two goals and three assists and a plus-3 rating in 14 playoff games. Earlier he adapted to the North American game while scoring 37 goals in 75 games during his last two seasons at the University of Maine. Last season he scored 58 points in 56 AHL games.
Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals: The big kid came hard last season, scoring 58 points in 48 games for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL before playing three playoff games for Hershey of the AHL and then the Capitals. Wilson, 19, will either earn a third-line role for the Capitals and head back for more work on his offensive game.
Matt Frattin, Kings: He was the key return piece in the trade that sent goaltender Jonathan Bernier to Toronto. He scored seven goals in 25 games for the Maple Leafs last season -- and 14 goals in 23 games for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. He also scored 36 goals in 44 games during his final season at the University of North Dakota. He looks to be a classic supplemental scorer.
Emerson Etem, Anaheim Ducks: He scored 61 goals in his final season at Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League, so he can finish. He scored 13 goals in 45 games for Norfolk of the AHL last season, then produced 10 points in 38 games as a supporting cast player in the NHL. Etem, 21, will have to battle Jakob Silfverberg for time on one of the scoring lines.
- Alex Chiasson
- Anaheim Ducks
- Beau Bennett
- Calgary Flames
- Cam Atkinson
- Charlie Coyle
- Chris Kreider
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Dallas Stars
- Detroit Red Wings
- Emerson Etem
- Filip Forsberg
- Gustav Nyquist
- Jonathan Drouin
- Los Angeles Kings
- Matt Frattin
- Minnesota Wild
- Nashville Predators
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Sven Baertschi
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Tyler Toffoli