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Candidates For A Breakout Season In The Eastern Conference

from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,

...here’s a look at some players on Eastern Conference teams primed to have breakout seasons.

Stephen Weiss, Detroit Red Wings

The former fourth-overall pick in the 2001 NHL Draft had some solid seasons with the Florida Panthers and has been consistent throughout his career. But now, with the chance to play alongside the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen, his game should go to another level.

Weiss won’t be expected to bear the load like he was in the Sunshine State, and that will play to his advantage. He’s very skilled down the middle, and the thought of him playing in between Franzen and Alfie should have Wings fans salivating.

The Panthers squads Weiss played on weren’t playoff-calibre teams – apart from in 2011-12 – but Detroit is a perennial contender. It will be exciting to see if Weiss can flourish on a mature team with a coach like Mike Babcock.

Jake Gardiner, Toronto Maple Leafs

If the Jake Gardiner that took control whenever he was on the ice during the Leafs’ playoff series with the Boston Bruins shows up this regular season, the 23-year-old will be regarded as one of the best defencemen in the NHL by the end of the year....

read on

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Da lil Guy's avatar

I actually think Mika Zibanejad is probably the Senators player most likely to have a breakout season.

J.G. Pageau (honourable mentions) is a good young talent, but Zibanejad is probably still ahead of him. If Pageau is the third line centre in Ottawa his scoring may be tempered by a more defensive role, and it may mean Zibanejad has a try at second line wing with Turris and MacArthur (even though the team has, so far, been adamant that they’d like Zibanejad to remain a centre).

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 09/18/13 at 01:33 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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