Jack Hughes after a phenomenal 99-point season and showing his draft skeptic doubters wrong. Not only did he prove skeptics wrong in the regular season, he scored six goals and 11 points in 12 playoff games. Hughes was a near .92 points per game in the playoffs, showing that he can adapt to all levels of hockey. He should be considered a candidate for the Hart Trophy every year.
The Swiss center played well above expectations with 80 points and a Selke Trophy nomination. HIschier scored 31 goals, 10 more than his previous career high. His strong play along the neutral zone and along the walls has been key in keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Like Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier is a phenomenal passer who leads his wingers and attackers to cash in on scoring chances. Hischier plays a Pavel Datsyuk style of hockey, stripping the puck and generating an offensive breakout that will be vital going forward.
Former Mississauga Steelheads forward Michael McLeod is a physical forechecking center. He hits opponents a lot as well as suppresses opponents’ shots on net. He is one of the best faceoff winners in the NHL for a good reason. He clocked in at 60.6% this past season. McLeod had 26 points and 22 assists in 80 games. He has improved his offensive point production by 6 points and could improve by another 6 points going forward. It’s not much, but it’s something. He did much better in the playoffs, with six points in 12 games.
The young man from Newfoundland has proven why it was crucial for GM Tom Fitzgerald not to use Dawson Mercer in any trade deals. He has shown a very quick release and could be a good star in New Jersey. His two-way play and his silky stickhandling between stripping the puck, passing, and shooting is why he will be the Devils’ version of Patrice Bergeron as he ages and makes a lot of noise in the playoffs in The Garden State of Hockey.