Each NHL Team's Potential Superstar of the Future
These players have the skill and potential to do great things, and some of these players are closer than others. Here is one player from each NHL organization who has the potential to be a superstar.
Anaheim Ducks: Jakob Silfverberg
Jakob Silfverberg was acquired in a trade that sent Bobby Ryan to the Ottawa Senators, and he has the potential to be a superstar. Silfverberg is a speedy scorer with great vision and instincts, and he impressed during his first partial NHL season.
In 48 games, Silfverberg had 19 points—a respectable number for a rookie. He looked more comfortable as the season went on. He even tallied four points during the playoffs.
He plays an impressive two-way game, and he could be a great complement for Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf for the next few years.
Boston Bruins: Dougie Hamilton
Dougie Hamilton had a solid inaugural season as an NHL defenseman. He showed that he has superstar potential. Hamilton's size is very attractive, and he is a smooth skater who moves the puck well.
Hamilton currently has the opportunity to learn from Zdeno Chara, and, in a few years, he could be one of the NHL's top defenders.
Buffalo Sabres: Joel Armia
Joel Armia is a 6'3", 187-pound winger with tremendous upside for the Buffalo Sabres. Armia is a hound on the puck, and he uses his size well to move up and down the ice. He has an amazing release and is probably the team's best offensive prospect since Thomas Vanek.
Armia has spent a few years overseas in Finland and should be ready to be an impact player with the Sabres very soon.
Calgary Flames: Sven Baertschi
Sven Baertschi is the future of the Calgary Flames, and if he lives up to his potential, the future should be very bright for the franchise. Baertschi is an amazing skater who is creative with the puck. During the 2012-13 season, Baertschi had 10 points in 20 games with the Flames.
In 2013-14, Baertschi will get a chance to play in a full 82-game season, and it could be a breakout year for the young playmaker.
Carolina Hurricanes: Elias Lindholm
The Carolina Hurricanes used their lottery pick at this year's draft on pivot Elias Lindholm. Lindholm is 5’11” and 183 pounds, and he is known for his on-ice vision, skating and playmaking abilities.
The local media has already compared Lindholm to Peter Forsberg, and that could be a foreshadowing of things to come.
With the Hurricanes, Lindholm will have the chance to compete for a roster spot this season and don't be surprised if this top prospect sets the world on fire in 2013-14.
Chicago Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen
It still is bafflingly that Teuvo Teravainen was selected 18th overall at the 2012 draft, because a player of his caliber shouldn't have lasted that long. He increased his offensive production by 13 points this season with Jokerit, and he continued to illustrate his future potential.
Teravainen is a great skater who can both shoot and distribute the puck with precision and skill. His skill set makes him a perfect fit for the Chicago Blackhawks. It will be very exciting when he makes his NHL debut.
Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon was the No. 1 selection at the 2013 draft, and he is a future superstar in the making. He is an elite skater, passer and playmaker. He just oozes creativity. He made magic during several seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads. It will be interesting to see what he can do at the NHL level.
A majority of his game is mental, which should allow him to make an easy transition to the NHL level. MacKinnon is a very smart player who could be instrumental in the rebirth of the Avalanche.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Murray
Ryan Murray missed the 2012-13 season with an injury, and he will likely be back with a vengeance in 2013-14. Murray plays for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. He is a two-way blueliner with great instincts.
He is the crown jewel of the many defenders the Columbus Blue Jackets have stockpiled over the past few years, and he has the potential to be a perennial Norris Trophy contender.
Dallas Stars: Brett Ritchie
Brett Ritchie is one of the Dallas Stars' top prospects. His size and skill could help him become an impact player at the NHL level. The Stars' 6'4", 215-pound winger had 76 points with the Niagara IceDogs and four points in five games with the Texas Stars.
Ritchie's size is a big part of his game. He uses his frame well when protecting the puck. He could be a solid goal-scoring winger with the Stars, who could eventually be playing with a playmaker like Tyler Seguin.
Detroit Red Wings: Tomas Jurco
Tomas Jurco has skills that are possessed by only a few hockey players, and for that reason, he will be an NHL star one day. If you do a quick YouTube search on Jurco, you will quickly see how talented and creative he is with the puck.
He also has decent size at 6'2" and 187 pounds, and his skating is already at an NHL level. Once he makes his NHL debut, he will be able to use his complete offensive arsenal to his advantage, which will help the Detroit Red Wings succeed.
Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov
It is fair to say that Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall have shown what they can do, so Nail Yakupov would be the best candidate for potential future NHL star. Yakupov is one of the best offensive youngsters in the NHL today, and he showed that during his rookie season.
Yakupov tallied 31 points in 48 games and was a key contributor for the Edmonton Oilers. His vision, shot and skating skills are at an elite level. He has already shown that he has what it takes to be a solid offensive player.
Florida Panthers: Nick Bjugstad
Jonathan Huberdeau's breakout rookie season proved that he clearly has the tools to be successful, and the 2013-14 season should do the same for Nick Bjugstad. Bjugstad is 6'6", weighs 215 pounds and he uses all of his size to his advantage.
He is a fluid skater, even though he is rather tall, with a booming shot. He was a key contributor on the power play during his time with the Minnesota Gophers, and he should have similar opportunities with the Florida Panthers.
Los Angeles Kings: Tyler Toffoli
Tyler Toffoli emerged in a big way for the Los Angeles Kings during the 2012-13 playoffs. When Mike Richards went down with an injury, Darryl Sutter put Toffoli in the lineup. From there, Toffoli continued to be a factor for the Kings.
The 6'1", 200-pound winger had six points in 12 games, and he showed that he could come through in the clutch. Toffoli was AHL Rookie of the Year in 2012-13, and the 2013-14 season could be a breakout year for him.
Minnesota Wild: Mikael Granlund
Mikael Granlund had a rough year with the Minnesota Wild, but he still has the skills needed to be a top NHL player. Granlund is a great skater with superb hands, and he is a solid passer. With the Houston Aeros, Granlund had 28 points in 29 games. Maybe all it took was some adjusting to North American ice.
Granlund had spent all of his life up until this year playing on a larger ice surface, so the adjustment may have been weird at first. Overall, Granlund has a ton of potential. He should be an NHL superstar by the time his career is over.
Montreal Canadiens: Brendan Gallagher
Both Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk have amazing skills, but Gallagher could end up being the better overall player of the two. Gallagher had a solid rookie season. He was an asset to the team on both sides of the puck.
In 2012-13, Gallagher had 28 points, and he was a plus-10 for the Canadiens.
At the NHL level, superstars generally are solid all-around players. Therefore, Gallagher's complete package of skills could potentially make him a superstar one day.
Nashville Predators: Seth Jones
The Nashville Predators got the steal of the 2013 draft when they selected Seth Jones fourth overall. Jones has size, skill, speed and a ton of tools that led to him being the top ranked prospect by NHL Central Scouting.
Jones was the best blueliner eligible for the draft, and he will form a formidable duo alongside Shea Weber for the next decade. It will be interesting to see how Jones plays in 2013-14, and, odds are, he will look to prove why he should have been selected No. 1 overall.
New Jersey Devils: Reid Boucher
Reid Boucher is one of the New Jersey Devils' top prospects with the most potential upside. He is coming off an explosive season with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. He should start the season with the New Jersey Devils' farm club in Albany, N.Y.
Boucher's OHL season saw him score 62 goals and record 95 points in 68 games. His lightning shot is what makes him interesting, and, at the very least, he should become a great goal scorer.
New York Islanders: Ryan Strome
The New York Islanders have a number of players and prospects who could become superstars, but Ryan Strome has the highest ceiling of all of them.
Strome was an amazing OHL player, and he has already begun the transition to professional hockey. He has played at the AHL level and could become a part of the Islanders' main roster this fall.
Strome is a great skater, passer and playmaker with the potential to become an all-time great Islander.
New York Rangers: Ryan McDonagh
The New York Rangers locked up blueliner Ryan McDonagh with a six-year deal earlier this summer, and it was a great deal for both side. The 24-year-old defender is already one of the Blueshirts' best players, and he has the potential to be an All-Star blueliner.
McDonagh is one of the NHL's top shutdown defenders, and he has a career points-per-game average of 0.36, which is solid when you consider he doesn't play on the power play.
Brian Leetch has also compared him to Scott Niedermayer, and it would be great if he could actualize that potential with the Rangers.
Ottawa Senators: Mika Zibanejad
Jakob Silfverberg was dealt in the Bobby Ryan trade, but top prospect Mika Zibanejad is still a member of the Ottawa Senators. Zibanejad is a playmaking pivot who had 20 points in 42 games this year. It was a solid start to the beginning of his career.
As Zibanejad's career continues, he will develop, and he has the potential to be an all-around asset for the Senators.
Philadelphia Flyers: Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier had a sophomore slump with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012-13, but he still is a solid player. Couturier is a 6'3", 197-pound playmaker who is a solid two-way player.
For a young player, Couturier is a very good defensive player, and he has already shown that he can be an offensive contributor. In due time, Couturier will hit his stride, making him a potential superstar for the Flyers.
Phoenix Coyotes: Max Domi
The Phoenix Coyotes' top draft selection from 2013 has a great chance to become an NHL superstar if he actualizes his talent. Max Domi knows what it takes to be a pro, and he had a very good OHL career.
Domi was one of the top playmakers eligible for the 2013 draft, and he is also a very smart hockey player. He knows where and when to put the puck. He could be a solid superstar center for the Coyotes.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Beau Bennett
Beau Bennett is a 6'1", 207-pound winger with a lot of potential on his side. Bennett had a decent NCAA career, and he has done well during his limited time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bennett is a solid-skating winger who possesses a solid NHL shot.
Bennett will have the potential to play in the Pens' top six and could flourish into an elite winger alongside Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
San Jose Sharks: Tomas Hertl
Tomas Hertl was the San Jose Sharks' top draft choice from the 2012 draft, and he could be in the NHL sooner rather than later. He has been playing overseas in the Czech professional league and has already illustrated that he is a skilled two-way puck handler.
In 43 games with HC Slavia Praha during the 2012-13 season, Hertl had 30 points
Hertl may spend another year overseas, but once he makes his NHL debut, he will be a great fit for a Sharks' roster that is infusing skill and youth.
St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko
The St. Louis Blues have something special in Vladimir Tarasenko. He has decent size, he is a strong skater and he displayed his offensive potential in 2012-13. An injury derailed his season, but expect Tarasenko to bounce back in a big way.
He was a clear favorite for rookie of the year before his injury, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him lead the Blues in scoring next season.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin
Martin St. Louis can't play forever, and Jonathan Drouin projects to be a great fit to replace him. Drouin is an elusive skater, he has great vision and an amazing shot. Steven Stamkos is one of the NHL's current superstars, and with Drouin, he could become even better.
Drouin is known for his goal scoring, but he is an underrated passer who can mesh well with Stamkos' playing style.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Morgan Rielly
Morgan Rielly appears to be the complete package, and a bounce-back 2012-13 season was very encouraging. Rielly overcame a major injury that cost him time during the 2011-12 season and had his best offensive season to date.
If he hits his potential, he could become one of the best blueliners ever to dress for the Toronto Maple Leafs. With time to still grow, Rielly should be a true force for the Maple Leafs.
Vancouver Canucks: Bo Horvat
Bo Horvat was the Vancouver Canucks' top draft choice in 2013, and he projects to be a solid second-line center. However, his skill set is top-notch. If he could add some size, he could become a top-line center.
In 2012-13, Horvat had 61 points in the regular season, and he had 23 playoff points with the London Knights. Horvat is a solid passer, a good scorer and a skilled skater. He was one of the Knights' top players in 2012-13. He has a bright future ahead of him.
Washington Capitals: Evgeny Kuznetsov
Evgeny Kuznetsov has yet to play a game for the Washington Capitals, but he has been one of the KHL's most dominant players. To date, Kuznetsov has 125 points in 179 KHL games.
Kuznetsov has size, speed and amazing strength that should enable him to be a player in the mould of Evgeni Malkin.
He is a very motivated player, and he will be a true force once he joins the Capitals. He would be a great pivot for Alex Ovechkin. It will be scary when the two finally team up.
Winnipeg Jets: Mark Scheifele
Mark Scheifele played for the Barrie Colts last season, and he may finally get a chance to start his NHL career in 2013. Scheifele had a dominant year with the Colts, reminding detractors why he was a top pick back in 2011.
In 22 fewer games, Scheifele surpassed his career high in points and ended the year with 79 points in 44 games.
Scheifele is a skilled playmaker and skater, and he has the highest ceiling of all the prospects currently in the Winnipeg Jets' system.