A while back I erroneously thought that Kasperi Kapanen would have a break out season. Maybe I was caught up in his playoff performance or maybe I felt the Leafs would be much more of a juggernaut than they have been. Either way, his 10 goals in 22 games is impressive except that's all been in the AHL. Nico Hischier has been everything I hoped he could have been and maybe a bit more but that's not a surprise. Jesper Bratt has been an excellent surprise and I can't wait for Series 2 to drop so I can chase him there. Brock Boeser has had an excellent season but much like Keller this too was expected but you could argue he certainly has exceeded expectations.
Two guys that definitely might not have garnered much Calder consideration before the season have had great first halves and they are Danton Heinen and Kyle Connor. This past weekend I returned my recycling and got a whopping $9.75 for my troubles and was able to cash in at the LCS and land these two babies with those funds!
16-17 Upper Deck Danton Heinen Young Gun
16-17 Upper Deck Kyle Connor Young Gun
Time will tell if these players are true stars or just Ken Hodge Jr. flashes in the pan. Given the fact that Connor was a first round pick I could see him being a long term star who is a consistent contributor on the power play and second line for the Jets which only makes them that much more lethal with Laine, Scheifele, Little, Wheeler and others in the line up already. Heinen also has a great deal of potential and perhaps he will offer a yang to Marchand's ying for the next number of seasons and when you mix in Patrice and Pasta the Bruins will climb back to the top where they once occupied. Either way, it seems there has been a massive influx of young talent over the past three seasons and I can't remember a time in the last 20 years where hockey was this exciting to watch!