10 Unknown NHL Snipers You Will Be Talking About in 5 Years
Offensive depth is one of the most important parts of each NHL team, which is why 10 of the last 12 No. 1 overall draft picks have been forwards with impressive goal-scoring skills.
Forwards who have amazing shooting accuracy and playmaking skills that can really bolster a power play are huge assets to all NHL teams.
Let's look at 10 young snipers who you probably don't know much about right now, but in five years you will certainly know their names.
Andrei Loktionov, Los Angeles Kings
Along with Tyler Toffoli, Andrei Loktionov is one of the Los Angeles Kings' best offensive prospects who will help the team score goals more consistently going forward.
The Kings were 29th in goals scored per game during their Stanley Cup-winning season from a year ago, so bringing in players with elite shooting skills like Loktionov as soon as they are ready would be a smart idea.
Loktionov, 22, scored eight goals last season, five with the Manchester Monarchs and three with the Kings.
Anton Rodin, Vancouver Canucks
Anton Rodin will be a quality goal scorer at the NHL level because of the quick release on his wrist shot and good hands.
He scored 10 goals and added 17 assists in 62 games last season for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. It was his first season playing in North America.
When the Vancouver Canucks start to bring more young offensive players to the NHL when their offensive depth decreases, expect Rodin to be one player who gets an opportunity to prove himself.
Cody Eakin, Dallas Stars
Cody Eakin will likely get his chance to shine with the Dallas Stars next year or the season after. He was a key part of the trade that sent Mike Ribeiro from Dallas to the Washington Capitals earlier this summer.
Eakin, 21, is a goal-scoring center with good speed who can also set up scoring chances for his teammates.
He scored 13 goals in 43 games for the Hershey Bears of the AHL last season, while also scoring four goals in 30 games with the Capitals.
Expect Eakin to play a key role in the Stars' future.
Kyle Palmieri, Anaheim Ducks
Kyle Palmieri will get his chance to impress at the NHL level in the near future with the Anaheim Ducks.
He scored four goals in 18 games for the Ducks last season, one year after scoring 29 goals in 62 games for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.
Palmieri's effective wrist shot and impressive speed will help him have a strong NHL career.
Taylor Beck, Nashville Predators
Taylor Beck is one of the few top-tier forward prospects in the Nashville Predators organization, and he will certainly get a chance to be on the team full time next season.
He scored 16 goals in 74 games for the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL last year.
The Predators have never had a superstar goal scorer in their brief history as an NHL franchise, but Beck has the potential to be an elite sniper in the next five years.
Gustav Nyquist, Detroit Red Wings
Hockey fans in Detroit certainly know who Gustav Nyquist is, and in just a few years, fans everywhere will understand how talented the Swedish center is.
After a stellar career at the University of Maine, where he was one of the finest goal scorers in Hockey East, Nyquist was able to get some needed NHL experience last year when he appeared in 18 games and scored one goal with six assists.
Nyquist has the potential to be a first-line star for the Red Wings, and he is certainly a player to keep an eye on during the next five years.
Louis LeBlanc, Montreal Canadiens
Louis LeBlanc did well in his NHL debut last season, scoring five goals and adding five assists in 40 games for the Montreal Canadiens. He also scored 11 goals in 31 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL.
Leblanc is a talented offensive player with a nice shot and impressive hockey intelligence. Expect him to a play an important role in the team’s offense in the next five seasons.
Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators could add another young goal scorer to their NHL roster next season if they believe elite prospect Mark Stone is ready for the next level.
Stone has dominated the WHL for the Brandon Wheat Kings for the past two seasons. He scored 37 goals in 71 games during the 2010-11 season, then improved to 41 goals last season in just 66 games. He also had 82 assists for a total of 123 points last year.
Stone's elite sniping skills will be a huge addition to the Senators' lineup going forward. He also saw action in one playoff game last year against the New York Rangers in the first round.
Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings
In just a few years, the Los Angeles Kings offense will be very scary and quite difficult to stop.
One of their most impressive goal-scoring talents is young forward Tyler Toffoli, who has been spectacular in the OHL for the Ottawa 67's over the last four years.
Toffoli has 146 goals over the last three seasons for the 67's, including two consecutive seasons of 50-plus goals. He is an unbelievable talent.
Joel Armia, Buffalo Sabres
Joel Armia has the potential to be a franchise-caliber forward for the Buffalo Sabres. Armia has impressive skating skills and a very good wrist shot.
His offensive talent is incredible, and he's one of the reasons why Sabres fans should feel excited about the team's future.