5 players to watch during the 2020-21 NHL season
We pick out five of the most exciting players to keep an eye on during the 2020-21 NHL season.
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Nathan MacKinnon | C | Colorado Avalanche
MacKinnon is widely seen as a leading MVP contender this season, and is part of a Colorado team that begins 2020-21 as favourites for the Stanley Cup.
The center is one of the NHL’s elite forwards, twice finishing in the top five for points within the last three seasons.
MacKinnon is not just a scorer, though – his speed, skill and physicality combine to make him one of the most exciting players in hockey right now.
He proved last year that he could carry the Avalanche on his own, but will need his line mates to stay fit as Colorado hunt a third Stanley Cup.
Alexis Lafreniere | LW | New York Rangers
Very few players in recent memory have entered the NHL with as much hype as Lafreniere, the first pick in the 2020 Entry Draft.
The wing heads to the NHL following three seasons in the CHL in which he amassed 297 points in just 173 games.
More recently, though, Lafreniere was named MVP of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championships, where Canada finished second.
His puck handling, quick shot, accurate passing and sound decision-making will inevitably catch the eye this season.
Connor McDavid | C | Edmonton Oilers
You can’t compile a list of players to watch in the NHL without including the best player in the world.
After winning the Art Ross Trophy in both 2017 and 2018, McDavid has been eclipsed by other players in the scoring department for the last two seasons.
Don’t let that fool you, though. McDavid is the most dominant forward in the NHL – he averages 1.34 points per game since entering the league, more than any other player.
It is not just the volume of points he racks up, however, with McDavid regularly pulling off moves and scoring goals that defy belief.
Elias Pettersson | C | Vancouver Canucks
Pettersson built on his Rookie of the Year showing in 2018-19 with another great season last time around, finishing with 66 points from 68 games.
The young Swede has some way to go to reach the offensive output of the very top players in the league, but his contributions at the defensive end more than make up for that.
Increased numbers on offense will come in time, but for now it is exciting enough just watching Pettersson on the puck.
He is a sublime skater with silky handling, and 2020-21 is likely to see him make significant strides in his development.
David Pastrnak | RW | Boston Bruins
Pastrnak will miss the start of the season after undergoing surgery on his hip and shoulder in the offseason, but make sure you’re watching when he returns to the ice.
The Czech forward is quite simply a goal machine, with his finishing ability among the best in the NHL right now.
Pastrnak shared the Rocket Richard Trophy with Alex Ovechkin last season after netting 48 in 70 games, while he also led the NHL with 4.3 points per game.
As part of one of the best offensive lines in the game, Pastrnak should have no trouble picking up where he left off last year.
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