Friday, January 12, 2018

A Pair of Rookie Surprises

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
 Let's start with Danton. Danton was one of those junior players who didn't play at the highest level and was a star for his team. Then went off to College in the States to hone his game and payed his dues with a season in the AHL. Now at the age of 22 he's matured and fine tuned his game to have NHL success. After 36 games he has 10 goals and 30 points. That's pretty impressive for a player picked in the 4th round in the 2014 draft. Both him and Arvidsson were picked in the same round that year. If he is able to keep this pace going he will finish with 22 goals and 65 points in 78 games which would certainly please any Bruins fan I am sure.

16-17 Upper Deck Kyle Connor Young Gun
Kyle arrived at the NHL via the USHL and one year of College. Much like Heinen his is an older rookie but not Makarov old (21 years to be exact) just more experienced than your average rookie. Kyle did have the benefit of a pretty long stint last year which saw him play 20 games and put up 2 goals and 5 points in that time. This season has been a success thus far with him putting up 15 goals and 28 points in 38 games. This would have him on pace to net 30 as a rookie which much like Heinen I believe exceed the expectations of many given the depth the Jets already have at the forward position.

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!

6 comments:

  1. Recycling money well spent. I just hope you didn't spend the entire $9.75 on those two though :x

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    1. Hahaha, I actually did and with no regrets. Right now the cheapest I can get the pair off COMC is close to 20 cdn without shipping. :)

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  2. The first time I ever heard of Kyle Connor was when I pulled his autograph out of last year's Fleer Showcase. I've been following the Jets a little more closely this year and I sort of feel like I got in on the ground floor there.

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    1. Big time!! I love it when a card you hit slowly grows and becomes a fun piece in the collection. You are an Old School Connor fan!

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  3. Hey Dave,

    Testing this out.. but looks like it works! Thank you!

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