Ah Creepin' on the Come-Up: Five NHL Players You Better Get to Know

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst IAugust 29, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 07:  Andrew Ebbett #48 of the Anaheim Ducks skates up ice with the puck in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings at Honda Center on May 7, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  The Red Wings won 6-3.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Every now and then, in the middle of $7 million-dollar players demanding trades, there is a feel good story in the NHL.

There are players who have battled their way into the league against the odds. They were undrafted, told they were too small or too old, or whatever the case may be.

Here are five names you will want to keep on your radar next season. They are five guys that are going have breakout years that will make you jump off the couch and spill your beers.

5. Andrew Ebbett (Anaheim Ducks)

Undrafted out of the University of Michigan, the 5'9",172-pound Ebbett plays a lot bigger than he looks.

He has a pure natural vision that helped him rack up 24 assists in just 48 games last season for the Ducks, all while playing limited minutes.

If Anaheim gives the 26-year-old Ebbett a chance at more quality minutes, look for him to improve on the eight goals and 32 points he put up last season.

4. Adam Pardy (Calgary Flames)

A late-round pick by the Flames in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the 6'4", 211-pound Pardy just kept getting better as the season went on, becoming one of Calgary's top four defensemen.

Don't be surprised to see the 25-year-old Pardy paired with Regehr or Bouwmeester on one of the top two units this season, as he has all the makings of a quality NHL defensemen.

3. Mike Santorelli (Nashville Predators)

Drafted 178th overall by the Preds in 2004, the 23-year-old Santorelli will definetly get a longer look at making Nashville this season.

He has produced everywhere he has landed, and it won't be any different once he sticks in the NHL.

Santorelli has all the makings of a legitimate point-producing center. He has great vision, and he can also snipe as well. He racked up 30 goals in 41 games at Northern Michigan and 27 goals and 70 points in 70 games with the Milwaukee Admirals.

This kid has as good of a chance at being a quality player in the NHL as Lady Gaga does at coming out with a new dance hit--it's only a matter of time, people.

2. Michal Repik (Florida Panthers)

There hasn't been much to cheer about in Florida over the past few years, but the swift skating soft hands of Michal Repik will give the fans just that this upcoming season.

With two goals in five apperaences last season for the Panthers, and with Richard Zednik not coming back into the fold, Repik is poised to get a shot on one of the top two lines.

With two other swift Czech youngsters in Michael Frolik and Rotislav Olesz, we just might see Repik on a wing making up the best Czech line since Jagr, Lang, and Straka.

1. Leafs Tyler Bozak (Toronto Maple Leafs)

When the Toronto Maple Leafs signed the free agent Bozak to a incentive-based contract that mirrors that of a top-five pick, they were solidifying what was already known to hockey fans of the University of Denver.

Bozak is a tenacious forward with all the makings of a solid NHL-er, which is why many teams were recruiting his services.

With a Leafs team that isn't deep up front, Bozak should be able to get some quality minutes that will enable him to succeed.


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