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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Vegas Golden Knights: Alex Tuch

I’d really like to say defenseman Shea Theodore here, but contract uncertainty and the fact that he sort of already broke out during the Golden Knights’ startling run to the Stanley Cup finals gives me pause.

Instead, let’s nominate Alex Tuch, the speedy winger who is in good position to break through even further this season. The 22-year-old has a number of factors working to his advantage: the departure of similarly skilled (but much smaller) winger David Perron means he’s going to be moved up to the second line; that second line, heading into camp, looks to also include newbies Tomas Tatar (obtained from the Red Wings in February) and Paul Stastny (signed as a free agent away from the Winnipeg Jets), two very skilled players who promise to generate a lot of scoring chances; he scored 6 goals and added 4 assists in 20 playoff games, almost exactly the same points pace that he maintained during the season (15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points in 78 games), meaning he’s consistent, even when the stakes are at their highest; and his style matches well with that overall of the Golden Knights, meaning he could see time on the top line, should injuries require shuffling.