Here’s every NHL team’s player to watch break out this year

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10: Nolan Patrick
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10: Nolan Patrick /
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Florida Panthers: Henrik Borgstrom

The thing with the Panthers is that they need a third-line center. Last season, behind the responsive Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trochek, they afforded themselves well (96 points, fourth in the Atlantic, missing a wild-card berth by a mere one point) with a patchwork solution at the No. 3 spot that included Jared McCann and veteran captain Derek McKenzie, neither of whom frightened opposing goalies with their totals (McCann: 9 goals, McKenzie: 3 goals).

So, yeah, providing much-needed scoring depth up the middle is what it’s going to be all about this season for the Cats’ breakout players.

Enter either Denis Malgin or Henrik Borgstrom, both 21. Malgin got a look in 51 games last season, responding with 11 goals and 11 assists, certainly not too shabby, but the Panthers need more. That’s why the breakout season is going to come instead from Borgstrom, simply because he’s got the edge in size (6-foot-3, 185 pounds vs. Malgin’s 5-foot-9, 177 pounds) and draft pedigree (Borgstrom was a first-rounder in 2016, Malgin a fourth-rounder in 2015).

Malgin might get the nod in the early going because he’s a righty among a forward contingent with an abundance of lefties, but big Borgstrom to will ultimately get the call for the duration.