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Ducks’ Mason McTavish leads our list of NHL breakout stars

The dawn of a new NHL season is filled with plenty of hope and possibility. With the puck soon to drop on the 2023-24 campaign, let’s look at 10 players poised for a breakout.

One caveat: there are no rookies on this list, which means no Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Matthew Knies or Luke Hughes.

Mason McTavish, Anaheim Ducks
A 17-goal, 43-point season for the cellar-dwelling Ducks in 2022-23 was a solid start to the career for the third overall pick of the 2021 NHL Draft. Whether he’s on the first line with Trevor Zegras or the second line with Adam Henrique, the 20-year-old McTavish also should receive more power-play time, and a bump to 70 points is not out of the question.

Barrett Hayton, Arizona Coyotes
After recording 10 goals and 24 points in 2021-22, the fifth overall pick in 2018 notched 19 goals and 43 points last season. Hayton, 23, is now more physically mature to handle the job of being a first- or second-line center and play a power game. The Coyotes are improving, and he’ll be a big part while chasing a 60-to-70-point season.

Seth Jarvis, Carolina Hurricanes
The 13th overall draft pick in 2020, Jarvis has posted season point totals of 40 and 39 to begin his NHL career. He’s poised to skate in a top-six role and likely alongside Sebastian Aho on a very good Hurricanes club. As a rookie, he scored 17 goals with a 15.5 percent shooting efficiency. Last season, it was 14 goals at 7.5 percent. The 21-year-old may not duplicate his rookie rate, but somewhere in between will make a difference.

Lukas Reichel, Chicago Blackhawks
Most of the attention in Chicago will center on Bedard, and Reichel likely will be happily go about his business under the radar on the second line and most likely the second power play. Drafted 17th in 2020, Reichel netted 15 points in 23 NHL games last season. A 50-point season would be an achievement for the 21-year-old.

Thomas Harley, Dallas Stars
After playing 34 games in 2021-22, Harley spent the majority of last season in the minors with the instructions to improve his defense. The 2019 first-round defenseman is expected to be with Dallas this season and push for a bigger role to eventually show his offensive skills.

Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers
Having reached the 40-point plateau in consecutive seasons, Bouchard has started to reach the potential expected when he was selected with the 10th overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft. However, the defenseman took flight in the second half of last season, totaling 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 12 playoff games. Bouchard quarterbacks an Oilers power play that features captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Don’t be floored if he bumps to the 65-point territory.

Quinton Byfield, Los Angeles Kings
The start to his career has been in fits and starts, but the hulking second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft took a step forward last season with 22 points — and earned another four in a half-dozen playoff games. Being slated to play on a line with captain Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe is a huge opportunity.

Cody Glass, Nashville Predators
The first-ever draft pick of the Vegas Golden Knights (sixth overall in 2017), Glass slowly has developed his game. With new opportunity for the rebuilding Predators, Glass is due to be the team’s second-line center and a member of the first power play. He could push to the 55-to-60-point level.

Alexis Lafreniere, New York Rangers
Expectations of a first overall pick are to be an immediate difference maker. Lafreniere posted point totals of 21, 31 and 39 in his first three seasons since being selected first in 2020. New coach Peter Laviolette wants Lafreniere to be in the top six and in more special teams situations. A 25-goal season is attainable.

Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers
Even under notoriously demanding coach John Tortorella, York averaged 19 minutes, 39 seconds of ice time in 54 games last season. Tortorella does not just hand out playing time to young defensemen, but the 14th overall pick in 2019 showed that he is poised to be on the top pairing and top power-play unit.

–Field Level Media

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