A former second overall pick behind Sidney Crosby in the 2005 NHL draft Bobby Ryan is full of potential. The 23-year old right winger plays the style of a natural power forward taking full advantage of his 6’2’’ 205 pound frame.
Ryan has scored over 30 goals in each of the past two seasons and played on the USA Olympic team this past season. There are rumors that Ryan is unhappy in Anaheim but look for him and the Ducks to eventually agree on a five-year deal around the $5 million a year range.
The former Sudbury Wolves product was selected by the Rangers 12th overall in the 2005 draft and is coming off his best year in the NHL. The 23-year old Staal played in all 82 games last season for the Rangers scoring eight goals and adding 19 assists for 27 points.
Staal is a big 6’4’’ 209 pound defenseman that can shutdown the oppositions top players every night. Rangers GM Glen Sather has already stated he will match any offer sheet on Staal so it looks as though he will stay a Ranger.
After trading Jaroslav Halak, it’s clear that Carey Price is the goalie of the future in Montreal. At 23 Price has accomplished many things including; winning CHL goalie of the year, a World Junior Gold Medal, a Calder Cup, and has played on an All-Star team as well as being All-Rookie first team in his first season in the league after being drafted fifth overall in 2005.
In his career Price has gone 60-48-18 with a 2.73 GAA which isn’t stellar but is solid. Price and the Habs are currently in a snag in discussions over both money and the terms. It is unclear if Price wants a one or two year deal or a long term five-year contract since there have been conflicting reports on the matter.
Also the Canadiens have little cap space so they are trying to sign Price for something around $2.5-2.75 million per season.
Originally drafted by the Flyers 29th overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft Downie was much talked about for his “Dirty” style of play which he seems to be holding in check now.
Downie was traded by the Flyers to Tampa Bay in the 08-09 season where he has seemed to have found a home. Downie enjoyed by far his best season last year scoring 22 goals and adding 24 assists for 46 points while playing on a line with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.
Downie appears to be able to keep his aggression in check and play with an edge that makes him very hard to play against. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has said he wants to sign Downie as soon as possible.
A steal at 230th overall in the 2005 entry draft Patric Hornqvist had a big year last season and is looking for a raise. Hornqvist scored 30 goals last season and had 51 points as well as being a +18. Hornqvist was also a member of the Swedish Olympic team.
The 23-year old will likely sign for similar money to that of Matt Moulson and Mason Raymond (about $2.5 million per season).
Neal was picked in the second round of the 2005 draft, 33rd overall. The 22-year old left winger was brought up in many trade rumors with the Maple Leafs Thomas Kaberle, although nothing materialized. Neal increased all his stats from the 08-09 season to the 09-10 season going from 24 goals, 13 assists and 37 points, to 27 goals, 18 assists and 55 points, as well as going from a -11 to a -five and playing in one more game (78 vs. 77). Look for Neal to also sign for around $2.5 million per season.
A former London Knights standout the 20-year old Gagner has put up three consecutive years of 40 plus points and is extremely gifted with the puck. Selected sixth overall in the 2007 entry draft Gagner’s 131 career points are second only to his formers London Knights teammate Patrick Kane for players from the 07' draft.
Gagner has had 41 points in his last two years in the NHL but last year he did so in eight fewer games. At 20 Gagner fits right in with the youth movement going on in Edmonton right now so he should defiantly be signed soon.
Bergfors, a Swedish international was traded to Atlanta as a part of the Ilya Kovalchuk trade in February of last season. Bergfors was drafted by the Devils with the 23rd pick in the 2005 NHL draft.
Bergfors scored 21 goals and had 44 points last season in 81 games between New Jersey and Atlanta. Bergfors has a ton of potential so expect the Thrashers to get him signed though it will likely be a cheaper contract.
Colorado acquired Mueller from Phoenix at the trade deadline last season and he instantly made an impact. After tallying only 17 points in 54 games in Phoenix he put up 20 points in 15 games for the Avalanche.
Mueller was originally picked by Phoenix eighth overall in the 2006 entry draft, and now may finally be living up to the potential Phoenix saw in him after an impressive junior career for Everett of the WHL.
Bryan Little and Chris Stewart
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