Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/18/13 at 01:13 PM ET
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....
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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.
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